Tech’s Invisible Workforce: A Report

In the last two-and-a-half decades, the number of Silicon Valley “second-class” jobs in potential contract industries has grown three times faster than overall Silicon Valley employment. — Important Study Looks At Silicon Valley’s “Invisible” Low Wage Workers

Working Partnerships USA through the Silicon Valley Rising campaign (in which TWC participates) has released a report describing the state of tech’s invisible workforce — the service workers who keep the tech industry moving but receive insufficient pay, negligible benefits, and endure poor working conditions. These workers clean our offices, cook and serve us food, provide security, drive our buses, and maintain our hotels and conference centers. They work alongside us but live in a world substantially different from those of us who are hired directly as tech employees.

For instance, the average earnings for Silicon Valley workers who are employed directly in tech is $113,000, while for blue collar contract industry workers in the Valley the average is $19,000. The report brings to light the racial segregation in our industry: black and Latino workers are under-represented among direct employees in tech, but are vastly over-represented in the blue collar contract workforce.

Read the report and coverage of the report from the Washington Post.

The vast inequality perpetuated within our industry is unjust and destabilizing to our communities. We need to hold our employers accountable.

Raise Awareness

Let’s start by raising awareness of the gross disparity and segregation within our industry. Share the stories coming out through our Twitter feed as well as those from Working Partnerships USA and Silicon Valley Rising. We’ll be using the hashtag #TechCanDoBetter.

Join in Actions

While we must raise awareness, the most powerful thing you can do right now as a tech worker is to stand with your fellow workers in their struggle.

Today, March 31, 12pm, Oakland. On Cesar Chavez Day thousands of immigrant women janitors (including janitors working at big tech campuses) are rallying across California to say ¡Ya Basta! and put a stop to the rampant exploitation and sexual assault of immigrant women workers. Join SEIU USWW Janitors & the Fight for Fifteen in the Cesar Chavez Day Rally & March. 12pm, City Center Plaza, 1333 Broadway St, Oakland.

Thursday, April 7, 4:30–5:30pm, Santa Clara. Join in solidarity with hospitality workers at the Hyatt Santa Clara as they demand for justice and respect on the job at a boycott action.

We will continue to share similar actions and events with you. If you know of upcoming events that you’d like us to share please let us know!