Apple will pay idle commuter bus drivers through May 4, union concerned payments will stop

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Tech bus drivers worry that companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook will begin to cut pay as tech company employees continue to work from home.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic forced many companies to send tech workers off-site, tech shuttle drivers were an integral part of Silicon Valley's major tech companies. These shuttles were responsible for picking up employees and driving them to-and-from work each day.

Now, Silicon Valley's bus drivers aren't operating the 1,000-strong fleet of tech shuttles as most tech companies have mandated that employees work from home. It's likely that the tech shuttles — as well as their drivers — will not return to the road for some time.

Most tech companies, including Apple and Google, have agreed to cover 100% of the compensation that the drivers would receive had they been working full-time through April. Tesla is one company who has not, and has outright refused to cover any of their drivers' pay.

However, as the pandemic heads into May, drivers fear that their income may dry up. The situation is made worse as the drivers are nearly always contracted workers. These drivers are work through companies like WeDriveU and Hallcon, which prevents them from directly talking to the tech giants they drive for. Instead, they have to hope their contracting company can negotiate a deal on their behalf.

Many of these drivers are unionized, requiring their union to deal with both their driving company and companies like Apple. Teamsters Union, for example, represents drivers from Apple, Amazon, Twitter, and Facebook.

"The company we've had the most trouble with is Apple," Stacy Murphy, business representative for the Teamsters 853 division, told Business Insider.

The union says that Apple — who contracts drivers through Hallcon — has agreed to continue to pay drivers but has taken longer than other companies to finalize agreements. The fear of Apple backing out of the contract had caused many drivers to file for unemployment benefits.

The union had said that Apple agreed to expedite the pay that drivers had missed while being at home on April 10. Furthermore, the company has agreed to pay workers through at least May 4.

"We're working with all of our suppliers to ensure hourly workers such as janitorial staff are being paid during this difficult time," an Apple spokesperson told Business Insider.

Google has made a similar promise, offering to pay its contracted workforce through the end of April.

A notable exception is Amazon, who said that they would continue to pay drivers for as long as Amazon tech employees are made to work from home.