Silicon Valley workers are gearing up for a demonstration against what participants call the discriminatory policymaking of US President Donald Trump and his administration. Organisers said Tuesday's protest in Palo Alto was part of a small but growing bid against a White House that is targeting some of the US tech industry's less-seen employees: many of the people of colour and immigrants who either drive innovation or do the blue-collar jobs that keep Silicon Valley business running. "A lot of people came to Silicon Valley because they were sold on that belief that we're doing amazing things," said Brad Taylor, a Silicon Valley software engineer who founded Tech Stands Up, the nonprofit leading the charge for the US tech hub's social justice activism in the time of Trump. "Trump is enacting policies that are hurting our families and our workers. We are the tech industry, we can stand up for the values we say we believe in," he told Al Jazeera.
For nearly 20 years Alfredo Molena made a middle-class living repairing bank ATMs in Los Angeles, despite being a high school dropout and immigrant from El Salvador. By 2000 he was earning about 45,000 a year, enough to support his wife and two children in a spacious apartment and take periodic vacations to El Salvador and Hawaii. He had health insurance, a matching 401(k) plan, and a company-supplied cellphone and vehicle. But it all unraveled in 2005 after his employer, Bank of America, subcontracted the work to Diebold Inc., a firm specializing in servicing ATMs. Today Molena drives a truck long-haul for about 30,000 a year, putting him in the bottom third of household incomes.
File photo taken in 2011 shows Intel sign outside the computer chipmaker giant's California headquarters. The cafeteria staff do not work for Intel but for Eurest, a 1.4 billion Charlotte, North Carolina-based dining services company that runs employee dining centers nationwide. Eurest's parent company is The Compass Group (CPG.L), a multinational contract food service and property management company based in England. The workers filed a formal complaint with California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health last week, stating that the restroom policy is illegal under California law. State regulations require that toilet facilities be accessible to employees "at all times."
GEOJE, SOUTH KOREA – Park Chol-hee was working a holiday shift at Samsung Heavy Industries' Geoje shipyard on Labor Day in 2017 when a giant crane collided with another and crashed to ground, killing six people, including Park's younger brother. "It was as if a bomb was dropped," Park said. "Bodies were too damaged to describe." Park and his brother, Sung-woo, were among nearly 1,500 subcontracted employees -- 90 percent of the shipyard workforce that day -- building an oil and gas platform for the French energy giant Total. All six killed and 25 workers who were injured were subcontractors, who receive lower pay, fewer employment protections and less training than full-time employees.
As one of the most desirable employers in Silicon Valley, Facebook has built a small town square for staff at its headquarters in Menlo Park. After leaving the car with a valet attendant, employees can work out at the gym, take their bikes for a tune-up, drop off their dry cleaning, pop by the company dentist or doctor's office, play video games in the arcade, or even sit down for a trim at the barber's shop. But keeping all of those amenities running requires an army of subcontracted contingent workers, including bicycle mechanics, security guards and janitors. Maria Gonzalez, a janitor at Facebook, is part of that battalion. She said she liked working at Facebook and didn't resent the engineers and product managers she cleans up after.