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Workers Want Pay While Coming to, Leaving Work

October 12, 2014
Plain English Version

facebook busEmployees driving buses at big hi-tech firms are waiting long hours between shifts. They are not paid for the waiting time. Employees at other companies are waiting in lines to go through security screening. They also do not get paid for the screening time.

Facebook bus drivers shuttle highly paid workers to the company. One driver complained that the wages were not the big problem. His schedule is the problem. He starts work at 6:10 am. He drives Facebook employees to the company in Menlo Park, CA. He finishes the shift at 11:10 a.m. He starts work again at 5:15 p.m. and finishes the day at 9:45 pm.

This means he has a six-hour “split” between his two shifts. It is a burden to have to drive to work, drive back home, and then back to work again during this short period of time.

The driver says, “I would like to have a union come in to see if they can do something about the six-hour split.”

A Facebook bus company president said the wages were good. The workers also get health and dental insurance and other benefits such as vacations and sick leave. He does not think a union will help the workers. Nobody, he says, knows how to solve the problem of split shifts.

Unions say wages are a problem. Companies try to outbid one another for jobs by lowering the pay of workers. The Teamsters Union Local 853 is will seek an election. The Union believes Facebook drivers want union representation.

Facebook said it is up to the bus companies to solve the problem.

There is a different problem at Amazon. Workers must go through aAmazon warehouse - Milton Keynes security screening when they leave work. The reason is to make sure they have not stolen anything. The screening may take up to 25 minutes. The hourly workers want to be paid for the screening time.

A class-action suit has been filed. The legal issues are very technical. Companies say activities that happen before or after actual work do not have to be compensated.

Plaintiffs say that since the company orders them to go through the screens, workers should be paid for their time.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the Amazon case this week.

Sources: The New York Times October 5, 2014, The New York Times  October 3, 2014

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