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Silicon Valley Bus Drivers Woes: Apple is amenable to offer better working conditions

August 6
7:25 AM 2015

Apple is working out with multiple bus contractors to offer drivers better working conditions- primarily a pay hike of 25%  for bus drivers, premium pay for coach and shuttle drivers who work split shifts, and improvement in driver's lounging facilities.

The plan applies to tech drivers who transport employees around the Apple campus under independent contractors such as the Royal Coach Tours and Compass Transportation. 

The proposed plan was triggered when Facebook split shift bus drivers started protesting over not getting paid for their downtime, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. The expanded benefit was approved by Facebook later on.

Soon, Silicon Valley tech bus drivers from Apple, Amtrak, Zynga, eBay, Yahoo, Evernote and Genentech formed a union represented by Teamsters Local 853 demanding a higher pay and benefits.

"It's a continuation of what's happened with the Facebook drivers, which enables many of them to make changes in their life such as being able to move closer and afford a number of things they couldn't before," Rome Aloise, the principal officer of the union told the Mercury News.

For the moment, Compass Transportation followed bus drivers who signed up to the union and now are waiting for the approval of wage increase.

The drivers of Compass Transportation are paid $17-$21 per hour. The proposed contract will raise the wage for up to $25 to $27.15. Along with that, drivers must get 11 holidays with pay and 72 hours sick leave, retirement and health assistance.

"We have advised our vendor, Compass Transportation, that we support the implementation of the wage increases it has already offered its employee union, effective immediately. We encourage both parties to continue negotiating in good faith the remaining terms of the agreement, but do not believe these continued negotiations should delay implementation of the drivers' pay raises," a representative from Genentech said.

The gap between the remuneration of contract workers and tech employees is a huge issue in Silicon Valley. Skilled jobs range for about $119,000 annually compared to non-skilled jobs which were only rated $27,000.

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