Forum

Tech companies' special treatment unjustified

Tensions are high between technology companies, like Google and Facebook, in Silicon Valley and the residents of San Francisco.

The cause of the ruckus is the presence of mammoth shuttle buses employed to ferry around technology company employees that have been illegally using city bus stops as their own private pick up points, The New York Times reports.

Residents are upset not only by the lack of consequences the companies face — as stopping in a public bus stop should carry a fine of $279 — but also the wealth divide and domination of previously low-income neighborhoods by the wealthy “techies.” One only has to look around at the number of Google backpacks or Dropbox t-shirts on campus to see the number of Carnegie Mellon students getting involved in the technology world of the Silicon Valley and who may soon be thrown into this arising conflict.

Obviously, companies who are paying up to six-figure salaries to its mid-level employees, according to The New York Times, have no excuse for not at least paying a reasonable rate to the city of San Francisco for use of their bus stops.

These companies wrongfully act as if giving the honor of their presence to the city makes this bad behavior excusable when it is clearly not. There is no excuse for these companies to not be good corporate citizens.

On the opposite side of the coin, the tactics being used by San Francisco residents in this class struggle are unacceptable as well. The New York Times reports that public campaigns targeting lone employees in their neighborhood and breaking windows of the contested buses are some of the methods being used by protesters.

Are complaints against the current busing system valid? Yes, of course protesting illegal behavior is valid, but isolation tactics and violence are not solutions to either the bus issue or the broader class struggles. Income inequality is a huge problem in this country but one that must be dealt with through legislation, not public shaming.