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Vol. 77/No. 32      September 9, 2013

Oakland airport fast-food workers
win reinstatement of union backers
(front page)
OAKLAND, Calif. — Concession workers at Subway and Jamba Juice at the Oakland International Airport won reinstatement of three coworkers who were fired for taking part in a union struggle for better working conditions.

“The fight and actions we’ve had helped a lot to get this victory,” Hakima Arhab told the Militant at an Aug. 23 protest of concession workers outside an airport terminal here.

Subway management fired Arhab last year after she began to work with UNITE HERE Local 2850 as part of a fight around overtime pay, vacation and sick days, breaks and work schedules.

“They did not want to rehire me because they know I’ll continue to fight against company abuses,” Arhab said. “They offered me money. But I said no. I want my job back.”

The majority of concession workers at the airport here are members of Local 2850 and employed directly by HMS Host, which operates food service at airports and travel plazas. Workers at Subway, Jamba Juice, Burger King and other food concessions are employed directly by those companies, which operate under contracts with HMS. The subcontract outlets are nonunion and workers say bosses are fighting hard to keep it that way.

Joining the Aug. 23 picket were workers facing a wage freeze, cuts in health care and pensions and an end to paid lunch breaks demanded by HMS Host.

“They want new hires to be paid less, with no possibility of catching up with other workers,” said Monica Guzman, who has worked for HMS Host for 21 years. “Newly hired workers are joining the contract fight when they learn what the company is pressing,” she said.
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