CUPERTINO (KCBS)— It's seen as another victory for low-wage workers in Silicon Valley. Apple is agreeing to hire many of its security guards as full-time employees.
Security guards at Silicon Valley tech firms have long been pushing for better benefits from those who hire them – usually as low-paid contract workers.
One security guard said that the guards feel like little cockroaches that are invisible. She said they see the tech crowd who are making a lot of money; meanwhile they're struggling to feed their families.
Apple, based in Cupertino, has now agreed to hire security guards as full time employees, giving them many of the same benefits that other Apple workers enjoy, like health insurance and retirement benefits.
"It's the first step, but it's a very important one," said Professor Harley Shaiken, a labor expert at UC Berkeley. "These workers become Apple employees. They share in the benefits of high-tech. Unions have been an important part of getting us to this point.
Union activists staged a protest outside the Apple Store in San Francisco's Union Square last year, putting the spotlight on low-paid security guards working for high-tech companies.
In a statement, Apple says its decision came after a year-long review of its security program, and the company will be hiring a large number of full-time people to handle day-to-day security needs.
Google announced in October that it would hire about 200 security guards and last week Facebook shuttle drivers voted to unionize, which increases their wages and includes health care as part of the agreement.
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