Two Facebook cafeteria workers ripped CEO Mark Zuckerberg for traveling across the U.S. while ignoring the problems of his own employees in Silicon Valley.
“He doesn’t have to go around the world,” Nicole, a Facebook cafeteria worker, told The Guardian newspaper. “He should learn what’s happening in this city.”
Zuckerberg, who sets a personal goal to learn new things each year, challenged himself to visit and meet people in every state by the end of the year.
“After a tumultuous last year, my hope for this challenge is to get out and talk to more people about how they’re living, working and thinking about the future,” Zuckerberg said in January.
Nicole and her husband, Victor, who also works at a Facebook cafeteria, complained to The Guardian that Nicole’s $19.85 an hour and Victor’s $17.85 an hour was not enough to live in the nation’s most expensive housing market.
Almost 500 Facebook cafeteria workers voted Friday to join Unite Here Local 19, a labor union representing 4,500 Silicon Valley-based service workers. Shift leaders make $19.85 an hour inside Facebook’s cafeterias, while rank and file workers bring in $17.85.
“Back in the day, $17.85 would have been a great number, but because of Facebook moving in, everything is so expensive,” Victor told The Guardian. “I have to get payday loans sometimes. We barely make it.”
The couple described a fraught work environment at Facebook, where software engineers and tech employees look down on cafeteria workers.
“They look at us like we’re lower, like we don’t matter,” Nicole said of the other Facebook employees.”We don’t live the dream. The techies are living the dream. It’s for them.”
Employees that service tech companies like Facebook, have been fighting to raise wages through unionization and advocacy campaigns, like Silicon Valley Rising.
As part of Zuckerberg’s travels across America, he is hoping to grow outside of his work by meeting people of all walks of life. In Iowa, he met Kyle McKasson, the manager of a 100-year old candy shop in the small town of Wilton.
Zuckerberg also visited Renee Banks, a barista at Kusanya Cafe in Chicago. Many of the people Zuckerberg visits are making less than the almost $20 per hour shift leaders inside Facebook’s cafeterias are earning.
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