Tech shuttle drivers approve Teamsters contract, Apple working with contractors to raise pay

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After gaining representation by the Teamsters Union, a group of shuttle bus drivers serving Apple and other high technology companies in Silicon Valley on Saturday voted unanimously to adopt a three-year contract promising better pay and working conditions.

Today's non-binding contract looks to garner higher wages and benefits for drivers working at Compass Transportation, a shuttle service contracted by Apple, eBay, Genentech, Yahoo and Zynga. According to The Wall Street Journal, the next step is for Compass to submit the contract, terms of which were negotiated by Teamsters Local 853 over a period of five months, to those companies for approval.

For its part, Apple said it is working with multiple contractors to offer drivers better working conditions, which in many cases comes down to higher wages.

"The pay increases are so significant to these people," said Rome Aloise, Teamsters International vice president and Local 853 principal officer. "They're life-changing."

The proposed plan is based in part on agreements reached by Facebook contractor Loop Transportation, which raised pay and overtime from an estimated $18 to $20 an hour to as much as $27.50 per hour. That deal also included extra benefits for overtime work and compensation for drivers running split shifts.

Silicon Valley shuttle drivers are fighting to bring parity to a wage gap between contract workers and the high-income tech employees they serve. According to recent estimates, skill positions at affluent tech companies bring in median yearly incomes of about $119,000, while non-skill jobs like those held by shuttle drivers come in at around $27,000.

Compass drivers elected to unionize under the Teamsters in February.