Unions Elated Facebook Would Hire Locals

Some Belle Haven residents say the project would gentrify the area.

Union members from all over the Bay Area packed Menlo Park’s Council Chambers Tuesday to say they support new construction at Facebook.

The , which will revamp the space formerly occupied by Sun Microsystems, could create thousands of local jobs, said Mike Swanson, business representative for the U.A. Local 467.  

“Facebook made a commitment to use all union labor,” Swanson said.

“In doing so they ensure that all members that work on the project will have health benefits and decent living wages,” he said.

Swanson represents about 1,200 plumbers, steamfitters, and refrigeration fitters throughout the Bay Area.

The goal of Tuesday night’s City Council meeting was to further familiarize Councilmembers with the project proposal, the draft environmental impact report, the fiscal impact analysis, and the , according to the meeting agenda. It was also an opportunity for people to share their thoughts about with local government officials.

Councilmembers heard 39 people speak publicly that evening about the Facebook ; 50 have sent correspondence to .

Other union representatives also made statements Tuesday.

Tony Tofani, business representative for District Council 16 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, said what the economy needs is to put people to work.

“We want to make sure that people in the area get the jobs, and they don’t outsource,” Tofani said

“Facebook has been real good with us; they’ll keep the money in the county,” he said.

Not only would Facebook bring jobs both direct and indirect to Menlo Park, said Fran Dehn, president of the , but it would also establish the city’s position in Silicon Valley.

“Facebook is a change agent, creating new jobs, additional revenue opportunities and rebranding Menlo Park as the social networking capital of the world.”

More than three-quarters of the speakers Tuesday told Council that Facebook's integration into the community is . But not everyone was convinced.

Belle Haven resident Dorsey Nunn has lived in town for 55 years. He was concerned that the area would become victim to gentrification.

“If everybody come to my neighborhood, do it mean that I’m still going to be able to live there,” he asked rhetorically.

City Council did not take action Tuesday, as the meeting was designed for topic exploration.

Councilmembers will meet February 14 to develop the parameters for Facebook’s agreement with the city.


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