Arden Fair Apple Hit With Protesters to Raise Awareness of Wages

United Service Workers West President Lino Pedres (right) led marchers inside the Apple store.
United Service Workers West President Lino Pedres (right) led marchers inside the Apple store.
SEIU Leading Drive to Unionize Low-Wage Security Workers at Tech Firms

SEIU United Service Workers West members gathered at Arden Fair mall in August to protest at the Apple Store and to raise awareness of its campaign to unionize security workers at tech firms including the popular computer company.

Chanting “Apple, Apple, you’re no good. Treat your workers like you should,” more than three dozen protesters carrying signs took over the store. Organizers passed out flyers to customers explaining the issue during the peaceful action.

Apple contracts with Security Industry Specialists for workers, half of whom are part-time with no benefits, according to SEIU. The effort is also aimed at unionizing security officers at private firms in Sacramento. Currently, there are five main security employers in Sacramento, and all have signed a neutrality agreement, giving the organizing drive a “new surge,” according to SEIU organizer Theodros Gashaw. Authorization cards have been collected and the union has filed for recognition at four of those.

Union activists estimate there are about 1,500 security workers in the region and 200-300 in Sacramento, earning about $12 an hour. In Sacramento, the city contracts with third parties for security guards at locations including the Crocker Art Museum, City Hall and city parking garages.

Regionally, the effort is also targeting technology companies including Apple and Google, which don’t give union benefits to security personnel. Over the past few months, SEIU has staged protests at Apple stores in Northern California to draw attention to the issue. SEIU also held an action at a Google location in San Francisco and at the Google Developer Conference at Moscone Center. More actions are planned.

The organizing effort marks the first time SEIU has targeted multiple employers at the same time to organize an industry. More information can be found at www.standforsecurity.org.

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