The bus drivers who drive Facebook employees to work every day are trying to form a union.
The drivers work for Loop Transportation, which contracts with Facebook to operate the buses that pick up Facebook employees all over the San Francisco Bay Area, take them to the Facebook campus in Menlo Park, about 30 miles south of San Francisco, and drive them home at night.
“While (Facebook) employees earn extraordinary wages and are able to live and enjoy life in some of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the Bay Area, these drivers can’t afford to support a family, send their children to school, or least of all, afford the dream of buying a house anywhere near where they work,” writes Rome Aloise, secretary treasurer of Teamsters Local 853, which is helping the drivers organize, in a letter addressed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
In his letter to Zuckerberg, Aloise writes that a majority of the Loop drivers have reached out to the Teamsters in hopes of joining the union and gaining a collective voice, so that their employer will listen to and negotiate a solution to their grievances.
But Loop has refused to recognize the workers’ union.
Facebook bus drivers make between $18 and $20 an hour, but live in an area with one of the highest cost of living in the United States.
One of these drivers is Jimmy Maerina, who without counting overtime, makes about $35,000 a year.
Maerina is married with two children. To cover his family’s health care needs, he pays a premium of $1,100 a month for company sponsored health insurance.
“We need a union here at Loop,” said Maerina. “It’s the only way Loop will listen to us and take steps to address our concerns.”
Pay and high health care premiums aren’t the only concern of the Facebook drivers.
They work split shifts that force them to spend much of their day hanging around the Loop bus barn without getting paid.
Cliff Doi reports to work at 6:40 A.M. He works 4 1/2 hours in the morning navigating the crowded streets and freeways of the Bay Area to get Facebook employees to their jobs.
After he finishes the first part of his shift, he waits at the Loop bus barn for the second half to begin.
There’s no place for him to rest comfortably, so sometimes he grabs a nab in his car.
Six hours after the first part of his shift ends, Doi climbs back into his bus, drives to the Facebook campus, and picks up his passengers for their return trip home.
By the end of his work day, Doi has been on the job for 15 hours but only gets paid for about 9 hours.
Doi returns home about 9:30 P.M. and has just enough time to get ready for bed. He sets his alarm for 4:30, so that he can get to his job on time.
In Aloise’s letter to Zuckerberg, Aloise asks the Facebook CEO to urge Loop to recognize the union.
“I am asking that you immediately encourage Loop Transportation to recognize the union of the employees’ choice,” writes Aloise. “We are offering to present indisputable evidence that these employees wish to be represented by Teamsters Local 853 and would like to bargain a fair contract that allows these drivers to earn a livable wage and support their families in dignity.”
As of this writing, Zuckerberg has not responded.