December 11, 2013
By David Bacon
Oakland, CA. – The day before Thanksgiving November 28th is the busiest air travel day of the year. At the Oakland airport, workers at the fast food concessions walked out to protest the failure of the big food service concessionaire, HMS Host, to negotiate a new contract.
The 200 workers have been working without a contract since July 2012, and went on strike for a day earlier this year in August. The concession workers earn between $9.50 and $13 per hour, and HMS wants to reduce vacation and sick days, eliminate pensions and remove workers from the union health insurance plan. Workers from OUR Walmart, including Dominic Ware, fired for his organizing activity, showed up to support the airport workers.
The day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Walmart workers across the country went on strike for the day — the date when retailers make as much as a quarter of their profit for the whole year. In the Bay Area, hundreds of workers, unions and community activists showed up to picket the store in
San Leandro. Dominic Ware worked in that store a year earlier, and was fired in the year since then. Five other fired workers locked their arms and blocked Hesperian Boulevard, as they were surrounded by hundreds of other protestors, in an act of civil disobedience. Police then arrested them as everyone cheered.
Raymond Bravo, one of the fired workers, said "We get arrested for just blocking the street, but Walmart violates the laws that protect workers all the time, and never gets punished. If going to jail will help us win our rights, I'll do it again."