Protestors invaded Apple’s Bay Area campus yesterday during a torrential downpour. Reports say there were around 100 protestors, in coordination with the United Service Workers West union and accompanied by the Reverand Jesse Jackson, who were protesting pay and work conditions for the lower-paid contract workers who handle things like security and maintenance at tech firms like Apple.
“We marvel at the growth of high tech and biotech, but we are the foundation,” said Rev. Jackson at the protest, urging others to repeat after him, Mercury News reported.
The United Services Workers West union is a regional branch of the Service Employees International Union, and their presence at Apple yesterday represents a larger conversation around contract workers at Silicon Valley’s biggest tech firms.
A major focus of the protest was on Apple’s security contractors, whom the Union wants to organize. You can read a full press release from USWW here, or check out the snippet I’ve included below:
As millions of Americans pay our taxes today, Bay Area security officers and community supporters called on Apple Inc. to pay taxes on some of an estimated $102 billion the company is holding overseas. Activists gathered outside a San Francisco Apple store and encouraged customers to participate in a mock $15 billion “mail-in rebate” spoof to highlight how the company’s unpaid tax revenues could build a stronger Bay Area community.
Over the years American and Bay Area taxpayers have built a world-class infrastructure that Apple relies on every day to generate profits. It includes not only highways, bridges, and public transit but also schools, universities, satellite systems, courts, banks, stock markets, telecommunications, patent protection, and scientific, computer, and internet research. Thanks to these public resources, between 2000 and 2012, Apple profits have risen by a whopping 5,209 percent to more than $41 billion a year.
The group continued their loud protest outside until Rev. Jackson had to leave for the airport, according to reports, before entering the Apple Campus lobby to deliver a petition.
It was signed by 20,000 people and calls for better working conditions across Silicon Valley, as led by Apple. Mercury News says that the protest caused enough commotion to lure Apple employees to watch the group from their office floors above. But “after a few minutes, a screeching alarm ushered the protesters back out in the rain,” it reads.
Apple has declined to comment on the matter with other publications, but we’ve reached out on our own anyway and we’ll update you if they say anything.