Meta News

Union Says Meta Food Service Workers Struggle to Afford Rent, Food

MENLO PARK — According to a new UNITE HERE report, contracted food service workers working in Meta cafeterias nationwide struggle to afford basics like rent and food. In the report, “Food Service Workers at Meta Need A Raise,” employees of the company’s food service contractors, Flagship and Yarzin Sella, say the aftermath of skyrocketing inflation has left them living paycheck to paycheck, late on rent, and skipping meals.

Meta is the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

In a survey of 72% (788) of union food service workers at Meta’s contractors in the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, New York, Washington, DC, and Cambridge, MA, many reported serious economic insecurity during the past year.

  • 74% lacked money to cover rent, mortgage, or other housing costs; 66% had been late on rent; 12% stayed in an abusive living situation because they did not have the money to move.
  • 55% lacked money to cover food for themselves or their household; 33% reported they skipped meals because they didn’t have money to buy food.
  • 71% of workers surveyed had less than $500 on hand in case of an emergency.
  • 42% worked a second job.
  • Women are underrepresented in best-paid food service jobs at three Meta cafeterias (San Jose, San Francisco, and New York), leading to a pay gap of over $2,700 a year.

Meanwhile, Meta reported $46.7 billion in income from operations in 2023 and has been ranked the 6th largest tech company by revenue.

“I’m just trying to survive, I can’t make it on $23.75 an hour. I’ve already had to use a lot of my savings just to feed my family, and it’s scary living paycheck to paycheck. On top of that, I’m diabetic, and being able to afford insulin in incredibly important,” said Cesar Perez, a Flagship receiver with UNITE HERE Local 19 at Meta Menlo Park.

“The way things are now, my daughter always gets to eat – but I don’t. We work for Flagship feeding tech workers at such a wealthy company, we deserve so much better. That’s why I’m fighting for better wages, job protection, and most of all respect in my new contract,” said Jordan Hill, a Flagship prep cook with UNITE HERE Local 2 at Meta San Francisco.

Around 1,000 workers in Menlo Park, Sunnyvale, San Francisco, Fremont, New York, Seattle, Washington D.C., and Cambridge, MA, are in negotiations with Flagship and Yarzin Sella for new union contracts, calling for the same economic gains other contracted tech food service workers have won.

Recently, over 4,500 UNITE HERE members at Google cafeterias employed by Compass, Guckenheimer, and Sodexo won historic second union contracts that set a standard for all industry food service workers, including a minimum raise of $7 an hour over the life of the contract, continued free family healthcare, protections against layoffs, gender identity protections, and more.

“We’re part of the engine of these tech companies and the economy in our cities. We’re being disrespected by Flagship and Yarzin Sella at Meta – we’re not asking them to be different, we’re asking them to meet the standard for the industry,” said Enrique Fernandez, UNITE HERE Vice President for Immigration, Diversity, and Civil Rights and Local 19 Business Manager. “Workers don’t have share prices. We need to pay the rent, we need to be able to survive.”