In his recent adventures beyond the valley, Mark Zuckerberg has made a point of hammering on the issue of income inequality, saying the US should â€œexplore ideas like universal basic income to give everyone a cushion to try new things.â€ But Zuckerberg needs to look no further than his own workers who live just miles from Facebookâ€™s Frank Gehry-designed campus to find striking examples of appalling income disparity.
A new story from The Guardian sheds light on two Facebook contractors who live in a two-car garage with their children. Nicole and her husband Victor both work in Facebookâ€™s cafeterias, but even though they earn well above Facebookâ€™s $15-per-hour minimum, they say itâ€™s not enough to provide for their three childrenâ€”ages nine, eight, and four.
â€œHe doesnâ€™t have to go around the world. He should learn whatâ€™s happening in this city,â€ Nicole said.
Nicole makes $19.85 an hour, while Victor makes $17.85 an hour, but both say they donâ€™t make enough to even afford the companyâ€™s health insurance. â€œBack in the day, [the wage] would have been a great number,â€ Victor told the Guardian. â€œBut because of Facebook moving in, everything is so expensive. I have to get payday loans sometimes. We barely make it.â€
While $19.85 an hour may sound good in some parts of the US, MITâ€™s Living Wage Calculator estimates that Nicole and Victor each need to earn about $24 an hour to raise three kids in San Mateo County, where Facebookâ€™s headquarters are located. Ever-expanding tech companies like Facebook have been found to exacerbate income inequality. And in San Mateo, Facebook has been pegged as the cause of spiking housing prices.
On Friday Facebookâ€™s cafeteria contractors voted to unionize â€œin the hopes of achieving a better standard of living,â€ the Guardian writes. Facebook reportedly did not try to prevent its workers from joining the union.
A Facebook spokesperson told the Guardian that Facebook is â€œcommitted to providing a safe, fair, work environment to everyone who helps Facebook bring the world closer together, including contractors.â€ Yet, contract workers such as Nicole and Victor donâ€™t have access to the companyâ€™s clinics or gyms.
These two contractors might not be representative of everyone working at Facebook, but itâ€™s still pretty jarring to hear that Facebook contractors struggle to buy their children clothes and foodâ€”especially after you learn how much Facebook pays its interns.
from Gizmodo http://ift.tt/2v04fnn