Workers, Activists Meet With U.S. Labor Secretary Over ‘Gig’ Jobs That Offer No Benefits

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — There is a new push to make sure that the thousands of people in the Bay Area working jobs that provide full-time work but no full-time benefits are not having their rights violated, which is why workers and activists met Tuesday with the US Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.

The fleets of buses hired by numerous Silicon Valley tech companies to get their workers to and from the job are 30-ton reminders for workers that it pays to organize.

Facebook had hired a third-party contractor to provide bus drivers who were making minimum wage and working split shifts. That didn’t seem right when tech companies paid an average of $125,000 a year to their employees.

“When we have put shuttle bus drivers and security workers in the news, because they are living in their cars and they can’t make it, we’ve seen the industry respond,” Derecka Mehrens of the activist group Silicon Valley Rising said.

Some companies have decided on their own to pay a livable wage.

Activists here want more companies to be like that and want the Secretary of Labor to put some muscle on Valley firms.

“Business leaders need to step up. Because the race to the bottom is a very dangerous race,” Mehrens said.

Perez will be meeting Wednesday with CEOs of Silicon Valley firms who may or may not want to pay higher wages, but also don’t want the bad press Facebook received over its drivers.

“He has the moral authority and the expertise. And we are super hopeful that he will take the stories he hears from our workers to the industry.”

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