Hakima Arhab and Bikram Thapa, workers at the Oakland Airport Subway, were recently FIRED after they spoke out against unfair working conditions at the airport. Both Hakima and Bikram had recently filed claims against Subway for violations of state and local labor laws. Bikram participated in a July 6th airport picket organized by UNITE HERE Local 2850, and Hakima had appeared in flyers and videos calling on her co-workers to fight for justice on the job.
“I used to work 12-hour days at Subway, with no overtime pay. I started telling my co-workers that we had to speak out and stop Subway from breaking the law. All of a sudden, my boss said he had no work for me,” says Hakima. “Now I’m fighting to get my job back and to make sure no one else is treated like I was in the Oakland Airport.”
Join Hakima, Bikram and their co-workers for a picket of non-union food service subcontractors at the Oakland Airport!
For questions or rides, contact Lian Alan at [email protected] or 510-219-6491.
BACKGROUND: In early July, workers from eight non-union food service subcontractors at the Oakland Airport launched a public campaign for justice on the job. They filed claims against employers for numerous violations of federal, state and local labor laws. They also demanded a fair process to decide whether to join a union without interference from their bosses.
On July 19, Oakland Airport Subway owner Navdeep Grewal fired Bikram Thapa and Hakima Arhab, both of whom had filed claims for labor law violations and participated in activities organized by UNITE HERE Local 2850. Last Thursday, Hakima, Bikram, and other workers called on the Port Commission to investigate labor abuses at Subway and other food service subcontractors. The Port theoretically requires employers in the airport to comply with all applicable labor laws and prohibits retaliation against workers who file complaints. But so far, the Port has not taken any action to address the workers’ concerns. In fact, the Port actually issued citations to several workers for entering the airport on their days off to speak with their employers about problems on the job.
The non-union workers have gotten support from other airport food service workers who are members of Local 2850. “Because I have a union job, I have health care for my son – and I can’t get fired for no reason just because my boss is mad at me,” says snack bar attendant Rehnaaz Nisha. “I think everyone who works in OUR airport should get the same opportunity as me.”