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.

Bay Guardian: Country Club workers plan picket after step towards victory

Workers at Castlewood Country Club in Pleasanton, represented by UNITE HERE Local 2850, received a favorable decision from Administrative Law Judge Clifford Anderson of the National Labor Relations Board on Monday. He found that the club owes all 61 union workers two years of back pay– and their jobs back.

“For the workers it feels like a relief to be believed in some way,” said Local 2850 organizer Sarah Norr. “The workers have been saying for two years that Castlewood was not really trying to reach a compromise.”

The food service workers and janitors of Local 2850 at Castlewood haven’t worked in two years. Instead, they picket the club and march. But they’re not on strike– they would love to go back to work. They’re on lockout.

In Feb. 2010, the club tried to hike up their health care costs, significantly increase the hours per week that would be considered full-time, and cut pay. After heated negotiations, the club refused to allow workers to return to their jobs and hired non-union replacements. Read the full article.

San Ramon Express: NLRB law judge finds Castlewood club wrong in locking out workers

Administrative Law Judge Clifford Anderson of the National Labor Relations Board has found that Castlewood Country Club has maintained an illegal lockout since August 10, 2010.

In a written opinion issued Aug. 17, he recommended that the NLRB order Castlewood to reinstate the locked-out workers and pay them two years of back wages and benefits.

Back pay, according to estimates, could total more than $3 million in wages and benefits.

Judge Anderson gave Castlewood 28 days from the time of his finding to either accept the terms and pay the workers, or move forward with an appeal.

“We’ve been saying for two years that Castlewood wasn’t giving us a fair chance to get our jobs back,” said locked-out Castlewood cook Carlos Mejia. “Now Judge Anderson is saying the same thing.”

“I hope this will be a wake-up call to the golfers that they need to stop stalling and put us back to work,” he added. Read the full article.

Daily Kos: Still No Health Care. Still No Job. But 907 Days Later, One Vindicating Court Decision.

Nine hundred and four days into a lockout of kitchen workers by the Castlewood Country Club (“land of the rich, home of the selfish”), Adminstrative Law Judge Clifford Anderson handed down a decision that the workers at Castlewood had amazing faith was coming. He found that

Castlewood had maintained an unlawful lockout for two years.
Castlewood had bargained in bad faith.
Castlewood’s attorney was not credible
Castlewood maintained ‘animus’ towards its locked out workers.
Castlewood management violated numerous other labor laws.

And his decision orders the club to reinstate the workers and give them back pay and benefits. Read the full article.

Tri-Valley Times: Labor board sides with Castlewood workers

PLEASANTON — Union members could receive millions in back wages and benefits after an administrative law judge found that Castlewood Country Club has maintained an illegal lockout for more than two years.

Judge Clifford Anderson of the National Labor Review Board, has recommended the labor board order Castlewood to reinstate all locked-out workers and pay them up to roughly $3.4 million in two years of back wages and benefits.

Anderson’s finding was released Friday.

The lockout at the plush country club nestled in the Pleasanton hills began Aug. 10, 2010.

Union members are ecstatic about the recommendation, however they say they will wait to fully celebrate until after Castlewood responds to the recommendation. Read the full article.