News on Oakland Airport concession workers struggling for justice on the job.


THIS SATURDAY (December 21)!




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].

11/27: ALL DAY at the Oakland Airport!

Wednesday, November 27
Leafleting ALL DAY: 6 am – 7 pm
Mobilizations at 7 am, noon, and 5 pm


Part of the ReFund Oakland Coalition’s Week of Action: A Hand Up for Workers, not Handouts for Corporations!

In the old days, workers were thankful to have a good union job in food service at the Oakland Airport. But now their employer, HMS Host, is going backwards in negotiations and proposing a contract would plunge many of the workers’ families into poverty. The proposal would slash vacation and sick days; eliminate pensions, paid meal breaks, and even overtime pay on shifts longer than eight hours; cut pay for new hires and freeze longtime workers’ wages for five years; and take away workers’ affordable health insurance plan.

“Host is going so far backwards in bargaining that now they say they want to charge me $899 a month for Kaiser for my family. I only make $12.64 an hour – if I pay that much for health care, how can I pay rent in the Bay Area?” said Monica Guzman, who’s been a retail clerk at the airport for 21 years.

On the day before Thanksgiving – the busiest travel day of the year – join the workers for a daylong action at the Oakland Airport. Mobilizations and picketing are at 7 am, 12 noon, and 5 pm – or come by and help leaflet any time. For questions or rides, contact Sarah Norr at [email protected] or 510-502-5344.

(Last Thursday, the airport workers announced plans to go on strike sometime during this holiday season to protest Host’s Unfair Labor Practices. The strike date has not yet been announced.)

Airport workers are part of a growing national movement of low-wage workers standing up for their rights! This action is part of a Week of Action sponsored by the ReFund & ReBuild Oakland Community-Labor Coalition (ACCE, EBASE, the East Bay Organizing Committee, UNITE-HERE Local 2850, OUR WALMART, SEIU 1021, & SEIU ULTCW).

Also on Wednesday the 27th, join our friends at OURWalmart for a community action calling for reinstatement for fired strikers, respect at Walmart, a $25,000 a year salary and full-time hours. 9 am at 44009 Osgood Road, Fremont. Spend your whole day standing up for worker justice!

Oakland Airport Food and Retail Workers Plan Strike During Holidays

Mercury News, 11/14/13 – Food and retail workers at the Oakland International Airport said Thursday that they plan to strike at some point during the holiday season to protest what they say are unfair labor practices, including low wages.

Sarah Norr, a spokeswomman for Unite Here Local 2850, which represents about 200 employees at the airport, said the date and length of a strike have not yet been set but workers plan to walk out at some point between Thanksgiving week and the end of the year.

Food and retail workers previously staged a one-day strike at the airport on Aug. 30.

The workers are employed by HMSHost, a Maryland-based company that won a 12-year contract for services at the airport, which is run by the Port of Oakland, in 2006. HMSHost runs food concessions at more than 100 airports around the world, according to the company’s website.

The employees have been working without a contract since July 2012.

Norr said veteran workers at the airport only earn $12 to $13 an hour and new employees only make $9.50 to $9.75 an hour.

She alleged that HMSHost is engaging in “regressive bargaining” by proposing reducing vacation and sick days, eliminating pensions and removing workers from the union’s affordable health insurance plan.

Read the full article.

Truthout: In Oakland, Airport Workers Cite Unfair Practices

Hayat Selmani showed up at the Oakland Airport at 7 AM Sunday. But she didn’t have on her uniform from the Subway sandwich concession. She wore street clothes. And instead of going to work, she picked up a sign and went on strike.

During the next half hour, several dozen other food concession workers joined her. A few wore their work uniforms, but most put on T-shirts with the logo of their union, Unite Here. Selmani, a slim young woman and a little shy, explained in a soft voice with a slight South Asian accent that although supporting the union was scary at first, it wasn’t any longer.

“I’m on strike to stand up for my rights and to show my boss that I’m not scared, ” she said. “I’m standing up to bring my coworkers back and to make them give me my hours back.”

A year ago, organizers from Local 2850 of Unite Here began talking with Selmani and other workers at the Subway and Jamba Juice concessions. The union already had a contract with the parent concessionaire at the airport, HMS Host, that covered a number of concessions. But some franchises, particularly those two, were very opposed.

Selmani’s coworker, Hakima Arhab, a Berber immigrant from Algeria, was interested in what the union had to say. “They were making us work like slaves,” she said. “I used to work 12 hours a day with just one ten-minute break and 20 minutes for lunch.” Read the full article.

3/15: Rally for Justice at OAK!

Rally for Justice at OAK!


Friday, March 15, 11am – 1:30pm


Oakland International Airport

Since June 2012, non-union food service workers at the Oakland Airport have been demanding a fair process to decide whether to form a union. They have since called for a boycott of their shops, and participated in multiple rallies over the past seven months to highlight injustices and retaliatory firings.

Come stand with workers as they continue their fight for justice! We will be inside the terminals near baggage claim, as well as outside Terminal 2.

RSVP at our Facebook event.

If you haven’t already, be sure to sign the boycott pledge.

Merry Christmas: Airport Strike on Hold

Strike at Oakland Airport on Hold as Progress Made in Food and Retail Contract Negotiations

UNITE HERE Local 2850, the union that represents two hundred fast food and retail employees of HMS Host at the Oakland International Airport, has put holiday season strike plans on hold as progress is made in contract negotiations. HMS Host operates food and retail concessions at Oakland Airport under various brand names, including Starbucks, Chili’s, Max’s Eatz and California Pizza Kitchen.

“My coworkers and I are hopeful that we can come to an agreement without the need for a strike but we remain united and ready to strike for a fair contract if needed. For me, maintaining affordable family medical for my family and especially my newborn daughter is worth fighting for,” said Michael Romulo, a cook at California Pizza Kitchen at the Oakland Airport, operated by HMS Host.

On November 14, 2012, UNITE HERE Local 2850 members working at the Oakland Airport took a strike authorization vote. The results were conclusive and overwhelming, demonstrating the workers’ commitment to fight for a fair contract. By a unanimous tally of 134 – 0, Oakland Airport food and retail workers voted to authorize a strike if necessary.

The Union is cautiously optimistic about the progress that has been made in negotiations over the HMS Host workers’ new contract, but important issues remain unresolved, including the cost of health care. While the UNITE HERE Local 2850 members at the airport have decided not to strike for the time being, workers remain ready to do so if necessary.

For More Information contact: Lian Alan at 510-219-6491 or Wei-Ling Huber at 510-219-6434.