THIS CHRISTMAS, LOW-WAGE WORKERS ARE STANDING UP FOR THEIR RIGHTS!
200 Oakland Airport fast food and retail workers will walk off the job THIS SATURDAY, December 21st. Workers are making the tough decision to strike during the holidays to protest Unfair Labor Practices by their employer, Host International – including regressive bargaining proposals that would plunge many workers’ families into poverty.
“Our contract’s been expired for a year and a half, and we have been very, very patient. But we can’t come to an agreement if Host keeps making its offers worse. We hope this strike will be a wake-up call to Host. We work really hard, for low wages, to serve the passengers. The least Host could do is respect us enough to negotiate with us in good faith,” said retail clerk Diane Natali.
Host’s current proposal is much worse than the one on the table a year ago. It would gut the workers’ contract: drastically reducing vacation and sick days; eliminating pensions, paid meal breaks, and even overtime pay on shifts longer than eight hours; cutting pay for new hires and freezing longtime workers’ wages for five years; and removing workers from the union’s affordable health insurance plan. Under the proposal, Kaiser health coverage for a family would cost $899 a month – an extreme burden for low-wage workers (retail clerks earn between $9.75 and $12.64 an hour).
UNITE HERE Local 2850 has filed Unfair Labor Practice charges against Host for bad faith bargaining – and for spying on and threatening workers during a demonstration in August.
It isn’t easy to lose pay during the holidays, but workers are ready to make the sacrifice in hopes of bringing Host to the table to negotiate in good faith.
“I’d rather be working to give my kids a good Christmas. But Host is giving us worse and worse proposals – I can’t take care of my family on what they’re offering now, and I don’t want to see my kids grow up in poverty. So I’m striking now to protect their future,” said warehouse clerk Nestor Cristobal.
The airport employees are part of a growing national movement of low-wage workers fighting for living wages and work with dignity. At Thanksgiving, the workers joined WalMart and fast food workers in a coordinated week of action calling for better pay and respect on the job.
Note: the duration of the strike has not been announced yet – for now, plan on coming out Saturday! For questions or rides, contact Sarah Norr at 510-502-5344 or [email protected].