News and Events

Press Coverage - 11/12/20

NBC News: Silicon Valley’s blue-collar workers remain on edge months into pandemic

Since Erika Sanchez, a longtime cafeteria worker at the Verizon Media office in Sunnyvale, California, learned in September that she was one of 120 workers losing their jobs, she has distilled her worries into a single word: “desconcertada,” or “unsettled.”

Sanchez had worked in the cafeteria for 12 years, including during the era when it served as Yahoo’s headquarters. At the end of her tenure, she was making $19 an hour working in the cafeteria, or about $38,000 a year.

She applied for unemployment insurance, which she said in Spanish she did not think would cover her expenses. She supports herself and her son, who is set to graduate next month from the University of California, Berkeley, and is temporarily living in Washington, D.C., while doing an internship.

By November, said Sanchez, 46, of San Jose, she has not yet received any unemployment benefits, nor has she found another permanent job. She has managed to pay her rent, and she has received food primarily through Hunger at Home, a local nonprofit, where she volunteers.