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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Unions to Protest Outside Twitter Tomorrow

Posted By on Wed, Oct 9, 2013 at 4:10 PM


Now that Twitter has created a seismic shift in local property values and single-handedly transformed San Francisco's downtown retail corridor, it's facing the ire of union activists who are accusing the company of shafting its security workers.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) recently added Twitter to a Silicon Valley axis-of-evil that also includes Google, Apple, and eBay. According to SEIU representatives, both Twitter and its cousin, the mobile payments company Square Inc., use the famously anti-union contractor Security Industry Specialists (SIS) to provide security services. Labor activists have waged an aggressive campaign against SIS for years, arguing that it keeps security guards part-time, denies them medical benefits, and actively prevents them from unionizing.

That may be typical of an hourly wage contractor, but it's anathema both to the culture of San Francisco and the rhetoric of Silicon Valley, where phrases like "Don't Be Evil" represent ideals as well as marketing credos. As Twitter gears up for an IPO that will likely value the company at more than $10 billion, it's under increased scrutiny from outsiders. Some criticize the company's lack of stewardship in its community, given the series of tax holidays that San Francisco offered to keep it headquartered on Market Street. Others say Twitter has failed to spread the love to its lowest paid employees.

SEIU activists will publicly make that case tomorrow when they protest outside Twitter's massive Market Square office at 4:30 p.m. They'll continue the protest at Square Inc., now anchored right around the corner.

Organizer Alfredo Fletes says that protesters will exhort Twitter to follow the lead of other companies housed in its building at 1355 Market St., which are hiring union security contractors. "We're trying to show [Twitter] that San Francisco is a union city," Fletes explains. "We want to make sure the progress that working families have made for decades isn't rolled back by SIS."

We're still waiting for comment from Twitter.

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About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.

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