Silicon Valley Community Groups Call on Google to Take a Leading Role in the Fight against Income Inequality
SEIU-USWW and Community Groups Plan Protest at Google Shareholders Meeting June 6
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., June 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Community groups and elected officials in Silicon Valley urged Google to take a leading role in the fight against income inequality in an open letter to Google released today.
Dozens of activists will protest outside a June 6 shareholders meeting to call on Google to join the fight against income inequality by using responsible contractors that provide their employees with enough hours to make a living and respect workers’ rights, including the right to form a union.
The full text of the letter is below:
We urge you to take a leading role in fighting income inequality in the Santa Clara Valley–known worldwide as Silicon Valley, with its reputation for innovation, opportunity and enormous affluence.
Despite Silicon Valley’s reputation, life in our region is increasingly hard. Consider:
- Food stamp participation in Silicon Valley has just hit a 10-year high.
- Homelessness in Silicon Valley has risen 20 percent in two years.
- The average income for Latinos–25 percent of Silicon Valley’s population–has dropped to $19,000 a year, a 14 percent decline over the past five years.
- The median income for African Americans in Silicon Valley fell 18 percent from 2009 to 2011.
The problem is not unemployment. Silicon Valley added more than 42,000 jobs in 2012. But many people who are working for a living are not making a living.
This is especially true of Silicon Valley’s security officers. The median hourly wage for a security officer in Silicon Valley is $14.89 per hour, with many being paid just $9-$12 per hour. If full-time work is available, the mean annual wage comes to $32,850–just one-third of the $95,000 per year estimated to be necessary for a Silicon Valley family of four to cover basic needs such as food, rent, child care and transportation.
This is why more than 3,000 Silicon Valley security officers are coming together to form a union. Officers hope to win good jobs that will allow them to sustain their families. The creation of thousands of good jobs in our region will have a healthy, far-reaching effect on our regional economy–especially in our most disadvantaged communities.
Security officers need the support of Silicon Valley’s leading employers. But Google’s security contractor, Security Industry Specialists (SIS), is interfering with its officers’ freedom to form a union. SIS has posted anti-union content on its company website and has gone so far as to break the law by infiltrating worker meetings–a charge which the federal government investigated–and substantiated.
Such management practices at SIS run counter to our community’s values–and Google’s, if your slogan “Don’t Be Evil” is any evidence. Therefore, we urge you to find a more responsible security contractor, a company whose workers can have full-time hours, decent benefits and the fundamental freedom to form a union–without management interference.
Replacing SIS will be an important first step to fighting poverty, homelessness and hunger in one of the world’s wealthiest regions. We hope you take that first step and join us in our efforts to bring broad prosperity to Silicon Valley.