The tech economy isn’t just made up of engineers and venture capitalists. From security officers to bus drivers, tech corporations rely on a subcontracted “invisible workforce” to cook, clean, protect, and transport workers to their campuses.
Yet these people are not afforded the same job security, workplace safety, and respect as other tech workers. It's a divide that often falls along racial lines, with blue-collar subcontracted service workers nearly six times more likely to be black or Latino than their directly-employed tech colleagues.
Even beyond low wages, far too many service workers lack access to a safe and secure workplace. In the face of issues including health violations, wage theft, sexual harassment, and discrimination, service workers too often find themselves with little recourse to address abuses. And despite their widely differing circumstances, the past year’s highly-publicized efforts of directly-employed tech workers and white-collar contractors to demand greater respect on the job suggest that all tech workers share common ground in the pursuit of a workplace where their voices are truly heard.
Together with TechEquity Collaborative, we're launching the Responsible Contracting Project, which will provide a practical definition of a family-supporting job with safe and dignified working conditions for people working as service contractors on tech campuses.
In the coming months, we'll be conducting research on working conditions for contract workers in tech, and further developing the details of the responsible contracting standard.