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RELEASE: Rep. Khanna leads Roundtable with Tech Contract Workers on the Future of Labor in Technology

July 2, 2019
Press Release

Santa Clara – Today, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) invited local labor leaders, union organizers, contractors, and technology executives to a compelling roundtable discussion on the future of labor in the digital economy. Panelists shared candid experiences working for Silicon Valley’s leading innovators, overwhelmingly responding that there was a need for greater respect and understanding from technology managers, as well an urgency to pay contract workers a fair wage.

Representatives included Ben Field, Executive Officer of the South Bay Labor Council; Jane Martin, Political Coordinator at SEIU-USWW; Stacy Murphy, Vice President/Business Representative from Teamsters Local 853; and Sarah McDermott, Political Director at UniteHere! Local 19.

Service industry employees in attendance included a security officer at Google, a barista at both Yahoo and Verizon, and a bus operator, who elected not to disclose her employer.

None of the large Silicon Valley-based technology companies invited on June 21st sent a representative.

“The technology revolution is made up of much more than coders and CEOs,” said Rep. Ro Khanna. “Contract workers hold companies together, keeping innovation running smoothly amidst the level of unprecedented growth in Silicon Valley. It is important to include the voices of the janitors, bus drivers, security guards and cafeteria workers in discussions about the future of technology. These are valuable employees and deserve fair wages and benefits and respect. I am proud to support a platform for contractors and labor leaders to come together on this subject, but disappointed technology corporations couldn’t make the time to come and hear these voices.”

“Equality and opportunity cannot be concentrated at the top. Even though service industry contractors have been invaluable in the economic success of their employers, these employees haven’t seen the same pay gains, housing opportunities, and professional advancements or retirement security as their white-collar peers.  The Silicon Valley will not be a model for success until this opportunity gap is addressed. I applaud the South Bay Labor Council and the contract workers for their thoughtful contributions to today’s conversation and moving us one step closer to our goal of expanding opportunity and prosperity for these hard-working contract workers.”

 

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About the Office

Congressman Khanna represents the 17th District of California, which covers communities in Silicon Valley. Visit his website at khanna.house.gov. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @RepRoKhanna.