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Apple to Bring Its Security Guards Onto the Payroll

Labor organizers have been pressuring Silicon Valley tech companies to stop outsourcing security jobs.

Nellie Bowles for Re/code

Apple said it will bring its security guards onto the payroll, a move that follows a year of protests over wage inequality in Silicon Valley.

The technology giant said that it would hire a “large number” of full-time staff to provide security for its Cupertino headquarters. It said it has been evaluating its security program for a year and decided to bring contract workers on staff.

“We hope that virtually all of these positions will be filled by employees from our current security vendor and we’re working closely with them on this process,” Apple said in a statement.

Some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent technology companies — including Apple, Facebook and Google — have been targeted by labor organizers, who say the practice of outsourcing security and janitorial services jobs has driven down wages. That has only served to widen the wage disparity between tech workers and those who provide support services.

Research from the August think tank found that the average hourly wage for security guards in Santa Clara County is $14 an hour — compared with the median wage of $63 an hour for software developers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Last April, a few dozen security officers dressed up like Apple store employees (in bright blue t-shirts and slacks) and picketed the electronics store in downtown San Francisco — and bystanders joined in the protest.

Apple’s decision to bring its security staff in house follows Google’s announcement last fall to put about 200 security guards on its payroll. Apple won’t say how many security guards its hiring, nor will it comment about whether this decision is related to the labor protests.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.