Photo: Marco Paköeningrat/Flickr

In the past, BuzzBuzzNews has reported on the altruistic nature of Facebook, like when the Zuckerberg Foundation donated $5 million towards local teachers’ home down payments or when the company donated $20 million towards affordable housing in Palo Alto. But this week the company, valued at approximately $350 billion, is facing criticism after The Guardian published an exposé about two married Facebook cafeteria employees who are living in a two-car garage with their three young children.

The article details how difficult it is for the workers to access healthcare and provide their families with basic necessities like food and clothes. Because of this, last Friday, 500 Facebook cafeteria employees voted to join a union, Unite Here Local 19.

High rent certainly doesn’t help, either. Facebook HQ is located in Palo Alto, north of San Jose and south of San Francisco. According to Zumper’s latest National Rent Report, San Jose is the third most expensive rental market in the country, and San Francisco earned the number one spot.

Facebook cafeteria worker Nicole, who is profiled in The Guardian article, earns $19.85 an hour, while her husband, Victor, makes $17.85. When converted to an annual salary, Nicole earns $41,288, while Victor earns $37,128. For reference, the median gross income for Palo Alto households is $126,771.

“They look at us like we’re lower, like we don’t matter,” Nicole told The Guardian. “We don’t live the dream. The techies are living the dream.”

In an area rife with social justice advocates, it’s ironic that many of those who need help the most go unnoticed on campus, serving the tech elite while in uniform.

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