Poverty pay | Facebook workers juggle several jobs to survive

Facebook workers juggle several jobs to survive

Motivational theorists say that we are not intrinsically motivated to go to work which is why we get paid.

This theory can be likened to the “carrot and stick approach” to illustrate that when good work is completed, employees will reap the rewards of being paid. But when an employee gets paid there is an expectation that this wage not only covers the basic cost of living but will also leave them with some extra cash for luxuries.

However, The Guardian recently reported this theory isn't working in all places of work. The international outlet ran a piece on a Facebook kitchen employee who had to work three jobs just to make ends meet. Nate Percastre works as a line cook at the cafeteria located within Facebook’s San Francisco office earning £18.50 ($23) per hour.

He told the publication that while it is a job that he enjoys an looks forward to, the wage earnt from this job alone was not enough for him to cover the basic costs of living in San Francisco, but it would have been enough almost anywhere else in the country.

San Francisco is notoriously expensive and therefore Percastre is forced to work two other jobs in order to survive. “It’s so absurd, the crisis that we’re living in right now. When a company is trying to pay you the same rate that they pay in other cities, we can’t accept that. We’re in San Francisco. The cost of living is way too high. Someone who works 40 hours a week should not be living below the poverty line.”

The Guardian reported that last week, Percastre took part in a protest alongside other workers in Facebook’s cafeteria which followed lengthy negotiations over increased wages and shorter working days with the food services contractor, FlagShip Facility Services - who are employed by the social media behemoth.

But it seems that this financial squeeze is not solely felt by Facebook cafeteria workers: the issue of servers being unable to afford basic living costs is prevalent across San Francisco’s food scene.

Anand Singh, President of Unite Here Local 2, the union representing the cafeteria workers, said that all service sector and hospitality workers living in the city have “felt the squeeze over the past few years”. Singh added: “While there is no one-size-fits-all solution with the housing crisis and the affordability crisis, if workers that are working day-in and day-out for the largest tech companies can’t afford to make ends, I think we have to seriously examine what it is that we’re doing here.”

Read more from us

In a statement, Marion Terrell II, FlagShip Facility Services’ Senior Vice President of HR explained that San Francisco Facebook cafeteria workers are offered “a compensation and benefits package in line with FlagShip employees in Menlo Park, Seattle, New York City and Fremont.

“FlagShip is committed to ensuring a safe and fair working environment for all our employees, as well as having a positive and proactive relationship with our staff and union partners. FlagShip has long-standing relationships with many union partners around the country, and we will willingly partner with stakeholders to advance the values of a positive working environment for our staff. We look forward to continuing dialogue with all involved,” she concluded.

Have you enjoyed this piece?

Subscribe now to myGrapevine+ and get access to exclusive new content, and the full content archive.

Be the first to comment.

You are currently previewing this article.

This is the last preview available to you for the next 30 days.

To access more news, features, columns and opinions every day, create a free myGrapevine account.