A company spokesperson said the hundreds of contract workers who perform essential jobs on the tech company's campus in Silicon Valley would be paid. Initially, contractors representing around three-quarters of the unionized janitors were saying the workers weren't going to be paid and would lose health benefits.
The janitors who are members of the union make around $18 an hour and around $10 in benefits. That comes out to around $35 million per year for 600 employees. Many of those workers had started the process of filing for unemployment, thinking that the company would not be continuing pay during the virus-induced shutdown that has affected the entire country, according to Denise Solis, SEIU-United Service Workers West, which represents around 11,000 janitors in Northern California.
But after questioning from The Wall Street Journal, Kristin Huguet, spokesperson for Apple, said the company was working to ensure that all of its employees were paid during the crisis.
Huguet said she was unsure why some workers were told they would not be paid. One janitor, it turned out, was recently summoned to a superior's office and told that her job had been eliminated and that she wouldn't be paid. Huguet confirmed that Apple would be paying all workers.
About 140 bus drivers, maintenance workers and other employees, represented by Lux Bus America, will be paid for the next few months as well. The commitment to paying bus drivers and janitors means those workers won't have to join the staggering numbers of people that filed for unemployment over the past week.
CEO Tim Cook had previously sent an email assuring that all retail employees would be paid their normal hourly wages during the virus, but he didn't say anything about contract workers in that message. The company has over $200 billion in cash and cash equivalents.
Other tech giants from Silicon Valley, like Facebook and Google, are similarly offering pay for all their workers who can't come to work during the pandemic, though some institutions like Harvard University only committed to paying subcontracted hourly workers after student protests.