For immediate release
January 28, 2016
In the Face of Increasing Inequality and Staggering Housing Costs, Cafeteria Workers at Intel Headquarters Organize for Jobs that can Sustain their Families
Each day in Silicon Valley, thousands of food service workers prepare breakfast and lunch for tech workers. They also play an important role in the culture of the Valley, providing a rich spread of gourmet food and snacks—one of the perks of being a tech professional. But these same workers are excluded from the prosperity sweeping the valley. Intel’s cafeteria workers, who work for contractor Guckenheimer Services, are calling on Intel to be a leader in building an economy that works for everyone, including subcontracted cafeteria workers and their families, by allowing workers to organize a union in an environment free from intimidation. Just this week, UNITE HERE filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board against Guckenheimer alleging the company violated federal labor law.
Monica Moreno, a cashier, says, “I’d like all workers on the Intel campus to be treated fairly, including us, the cafeteria workers. Even though we are contracted workers, I serve the Intel community and Intel benefits from my work. All workers at tech companies deserve to be treated with respect. For me, respect means having enough income to pay for bills, for rent, to have a secure job.”
Intel cafeteria workers want a solution to Silicon Valley’s housing and inequality crisis. Income inequality is higher and growing faster in Silicon Valley than in California and in the United States. Silicon Valley tech workers, who are majority white, made an average income of $264,000 as of June 2015. On the other hand, Intel cafeteria workers – like most service contract workers in the Valley – are majority people of color (77% Latino) and majority women. The average take home pay of a Guckenheimer worker at Intel is just $2001 per month, only 58% of the median rent in San Jose.
Lezly Paez, a pantry worker at Intel says, “My husband, myself and three kids are forced to live in a one bedroom in order to afford to pay the bills. More than anything, I want a better living situation for my family.”
Until November 2014, Intel cafeteria workers enjoyed all the protections and benefits that come along with a union contract. But in November 2014, Intel Corporation—which paid out $1.1 billion in stock options to its employees in 2014—decided to switch foodservice providers. Incoming contractor Guckenheimer did not hire the existing unionized workers and 78 people – many of them long term employees – lost their jobs right before Thanksgiving. Intel plans on changing food contractors again at the end of February.