The Real Face of Silicon Valley

 

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The Reverend Jesse Jackson returned to Silicon Valley yesterday to support security officers who are taking the next step in the fight for economic inclusion. Google and Apple made headlines recently by cutting ties with an irresponsible security contractor, in order to provide good jobs for the security officers at their campuses.

Michael Johnson has played a huge role in putting Silicon Valley’s economic imbalance on the national map. But his employer, Universal Protection Service (UPS), has taken a stand that holds us all back from achieving a stronger, more balanced tech economy.

After Michael helped deliver a petition demanding better working conditions, UPS removed him from his position and offered him another one at 32% less per hour.

“Now I’m on call—and they haven’t been calling,” said Michael. “I’m filing a charge with the National Labor Relations Board for what I believe to be a violation of our freedom to organize at UPS.”

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Michael and his fellow security officers are still committed to moving Silicon Valley forward. Two days after UPS removed him from his worksite, he and his co-workers delivered the signature of 75 percent of their co-workers, demanding UPS recognize their union. And 300 people, including Reverend Jackson himself, have sent letters of support to UPS management.

Creating good jobs for workers of color in the tech industry also means turning service jobs into good jobs. A recent report calculates that if people of color in Silicon Valley were paid as much as white residents, the region would see a 34% boost in GDP. That’s $58.4 billion more per year. Since 65 percent of Silicon Valley residents are people of color, and there are four service jobs created for every new tech job, service workers are the real face of Silicon Valley.

Read more from the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Update: See even more from In These Times.

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