Food service employees of American autonomous driving technology company Waymo are forming a union. It is the latest stimulus by support workers to manage work at Silicon Valley’s distinguished companies.
Workers want to unionize due to the high cost of living in the Bay Area, where Alphabet’s offices are located. They said their $24-per-hour pay isn’t sufficient to live adequately in the city, where rents cost a bomb, and their health plan is prohibitively pricey.
The workers also ask for better treatment and benefits as they don’t enjoy the same perks as full-time Alphabet employees.
Fernanda Martir, 28, a single mother who works in the kitchen and as a barista at the company, said, “We want a voice at the table to have a part in saying how things should work. We want better treatment and benefits.”
Martir presently lives in a mobile home with her mother and her son. She toils to cover her family’s expenses: car and phone payments, her son’s daycare, and rent.
Similar to Google’s other food service workers, the workers are employed by Sodexo – a publicly traded multinational based in France. Organizers say most union cards are signed by the roughly two dozen-person bargaining unit.
“Sodexo respects the rights of our employees to unionize or not to unionize, proven by the hundreds of [Collective bargaining agreements] we have in good standing with unions across the country. We are confident this one will also reach an amicable agreement for workers, the union, and our client very soon,” the company said in a statement.
Organizers for the unionization efforts at Waymo told NBC News that they’ve already gathered signatures from most workers. Sodexo also mentioned that it “respects the rights of [its] employees to unionize or not to unionize” but didn’t state whether it will willingly recognize the union. If it does, the workers will have to file for an NLRB election to be able to join the other Alphabet cafeteria workers.