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Shuttle drivers at Apple, other Silicon Valley tech companies vote for Teamsters representation

In the ongoing Silicon Valley shuttle bus saga, contracted drivers serving five local tech firms, including Apple, voted on Friday to seek representation by the Teamsters union.

A total of 158 bus drivers working for Compass Transportation, which holds contracts with Apple, eBay, Genentech, Yahoo and Zynga, voted to seek higher wages through Teamsters representation, reports The Wall Street Journal. The vote, which must be certified by the National Labor Relations Board, saw a final count of 104-38 in favor of joining the union.

According to Teamsters Local 853 International vice president and secretary-treasurer Rome Aloise, the drivers "voted to be part of a rising tide to improve wages, benefits and working conditions of those who support the tech industry."

Word of a potential unionization effort came last month when Compass employees signed union authorization cards, signaling intent to support the initiative.

Today's news comes on the heels of a similar vote involving drivers for Loop Transportation, the firm responsible for operating Facebook shuttles, who accepted contract terms negotiated by the Teamsters. Drivers previously made about $18 to $20 an hour, but the union successfully negotiated terms that will bring more flexible working conditions and wage raises to $24.50 an hour over a three-year period.

The huge wage gap between contract workers and the high-income tech employees they serve has become a hot button issue in the San Francisco Bay Area. According to the publication, skill positions at Silicon Valley companies command median yearly incomes of about $119,000, while non-skill jobs rate about $27,000.