Wrongfully terminated Oakland Airport workers still fighting to get their jobs back

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A year ago, Hakima Arhab, a former Subway employee at Oakland International Airport, spoke up about the restaurant breaking living wage laws that guarantee paid sick days for employees. For this, she believes she was fired.

Since then, a campaign has been launched to raise awareness about Subway and Jamba Juice workers at the Oakland airport who say they were terminated for speaking out. This afternoon, June 27, members of service workers’ union Unite Here will join with Arhab and other terminated employees in picketing outside the Port of Oakland's Port Commission meeting, from 4 to 6 p.m. 

According to Arhab, "I left for a vacation for a month and a half, and I had told my employers four months before the fact. They were fine with it." Nevertheless, "When I came back, they said they had no hours for me, and I was fired. I then knew they had fired me not because I took a vacation, but I had complained about them breaking living wage laws." 

Arhab said Subway had not given paid sick days since 2009. The Port of Oakland's living wage law requires employers to provide 12 paid sick days per year. 

Last year, the National Labor Relations Board charged the operators of the airport Subway and Jamba Juice with breaking labor laws by terminating workers who had made complaints to the Port of Oakland. According to a report in the East Bay Express, the port conducted its own investigation, and also concluded that the store operators were in violation.

Unite Here representatives filed an appeal earlier this year to demand that Arhab and Diamond Ford, a former Jamba Juice employee, be reinstated to their jobs. Following an appeals hearing, the port agreed and ordered the operators to reinstate the terminated employees. 

But that still hasn’t happened. Though Arhab has participated in the campaign to shed light on unfair labor practices at the Oakland Airport, she says she still feels powerless. 

"I feel mad and un-powerful that these companies were breaking laws, and they had the power to fire me just because I complained," Arhab said. "I did the right thing. When will they?"

Picketers who plan to gather outside the Port Commission today aim to pressure the agency to compel the fast food restaurants to comply with orders to reinstate the terminated employees.

Sarah Norr, an Organizer for Unite Here, feels that Arhab and the other employees are being served an injustice. "The airport is on public land and is a public resource," Norr said. "When workers don't have sick days or job security, there's something wrong with that." 

Comments

necessarily affect the workers of private businesses situated there.

The rules for a Subway on public land are no different than for a Subway on private land. The locations is coincidental.

Posted by anon on Jun. 27, 2013 @ 4:00 pm

Wrong! There are laws that Oakland residents created to ensure that the employers leasing public property are required to comply with and the Subway and Jamba Juice are violators of the law. That's the point.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 30, 2013 @ 4:46 pm

companies cannot reasonably be expected to give different contracts to different employees based on the historical accident of who happens to own the land on which they operate.

Posted by anon on Jun. 30, 2013 @ 5:06 pm

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Posted by Auto Transport on May. 01, 2014 @ 11:57 pm

Who the he11 gets 6 weeks of vacation other than an employee with 25 yrs of loyal service with a BIG international company.

I'm sure the, "PORT", findings in the violations weren't related to employee rules and regulations of business but were of a HEALTH code standards violation.

Interesting to find out the outcome...all ears, errr...ahh..eyes here.

Posted by johndoetaxpayer on Jun. 28, 2013 @ 8:16 am

Wrong! The findings by the Port were for violations of the living wage ordinance that Oakland residents passed.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 30, 2013 @ 4:47 pm
Posted by anon on Jun. 30, 2013 @ 5:07 pm

What a material of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious experience about unpredicted feelings.

Posted by payday loan lenders on Dec. 06, 2013 @ 7:36 am

Paid sick days keep us all healthier, in particular with food businesses! Who wants ill employees sneezing in the juice, anyway? I'm an employer, and I'm delighted to advise ill employees to stay home and not infect everyone. I'm happy to pay for a few sick days now to avoid a whole lot of them later. (By the way, Johndoetaxpayer, it's not clear from the above whether that vacation was paid or not. Many employees have to take unpaid leave if they need to be absent for a while.) Note that the Port found that there was a violation.

Posted by Guest oakbusiness on Jun. 28, 2013 @ 9:48 am

attract staff if it's hard to find workers. But there always has to be limits on it, and safeguards against abuse. We all know people who take sick days when they are not actually sick.

Posted by anon on Jun. 28, 2013 @ 10:03 am
Posted by Guest on Jun. 29, 2013 @ 2:26 pm

My point was more that there should be procedures and rules in place to minimize such shirking.

Posted by anon on Jun. 29, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

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