For immediate release
August 7, 2017
Cafeteria workers unionize at Facebook in Seattle
Victory announced amidst historic increases in area cost of living
SEATTLE — Last week, nearly 60 cafeteria workers who work for Flagship Facility Services won union representation at Facebook’s Seattle campus. The workers will be members of UNITE HERE Local 8. This announcement comes just weeks after over 500 workers at the company’s Menlo Park campus also unionized.
“This is a great victory not just for me and my coworkers at Flagship, but for my family and for all service workers in Seattle’s tech industry,” said Mari Duncan, a line cook for Flagship in the Facebook Seattle cafeteria. “I’ve worked in food service for 18 years and I finally feel like I can have a real future for me and my son. We all deserve stability and respect for the work we do— that’s why we’re unionizing.”
While much of the national conversation about tech’s impact on local communities has focused on Silicon Valley, the tech boom has also made its mark on Seattle. Major companies like Facebook, Amazon, eBay and Google have expanded their operations in the area in the past few years.
Meanwhile, the cost of housing in and around Seattle is increasing at an unprecedented rate. In 2016, Seattle home prices hit a record high. By unionizing, Flagship workers hope to continue their invaluable service to the tech industry while also protecting themselves, their families and their communities.
“Over the past several years, the Tech Industry has grown exponentially in the City of Seattle. While there are benefits to this economic boom, working people have also seen the cost of living increase. By organizing, tech cafeteria workers are doing their part to ensure that they don’t get priced out of their own neighborhoods,” said Erik Van Rossum, President of UNITE HERE Local 8. “By organizing a union, cafeteria workers at Facebook’s office here in Seattle are taking a first step towards ensuring that Seattle’s growth doesn’t come at the expense of working people.”
UNITE HERE Local 8 represents approximately 5,000 workers in the Oregon and Washington State hospitality industries, including in hotels, universities, and airports. Through organizing, UNITE HERE members aim to transform thousands of traditionally low-wage jobs into family-sustaining middle class jobs.