A group of over 100 protestors, accompanied by Reverend Jesse Jackson, gathered at Apple’s Cupertino, CA campus to protest the treatment of Silicon Valley contract labor and to deliver a petition calling on Apple to lead the trend for reform.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, Jackson accompanied a demonstration led by regional union United Service Workers West — a division of the national Service Employees International Union — which in November pushed Apple to stand up for rights of contract workers like security guards.
The groups concerns include the reportedly low pay contract workers receive when compared to those holding skill positions at tech firms in the Bay Area. Apple contracts their security guard positions out to contractor Security Industry Specialists, which pays employees $19.77 per hour, not including benefits. The SEIU-USWW claims the amount is not enough to offset the area’s high cost of living.
Jackson asked the crowd to repeat with him, “We marvel at the growth of high tech and biotech, but we are the foundation. We fight today in the rain for job security and justice.” The protest was held in the midst of a rain storm that hit San Francisco and surrounding areas.
Jackson, who sat down a few days ago with Apple CEO Tim Cook to discuss corporate diversity, was in town to attend a workplace diversity conference held by his Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
Following Jackson’s departure, the crowd moved into an Apple office building to deliver a petition reportedly signed by 20,000 people that called for the company to push for better service worker rights.
While inside the building’s lobby, protestors chanted, “Sí se puede” (“Yes, we can”) while carrying a sign reading, “Apple dodges taxes, we pay the price.”