Port of Oakland and DLSE actively investigate several airport concessionaires for alleged wage, overtime, anti-union violations

The Oakland International Airport, which is part of the Port of Oakland, began experiencing a turnover of its food, beverage and retail (“concessionary”) outlets in 2007.  Before that time, a large unionized company oversaw operations of a majority of these airport concessions under a 30-thirty-year lease with the Port.  While new leases with the Port do include a number of provisions that were intended to protect the interests of both airport workers and the Port, workers have recently come forward to draw attention to their employers’ failures to abide by these requirements. 

The new leases require tenant employers to (1) follow the Oakland Living Wage Ordinance (http://www.portofoakland.com/portnyou/livingwa.asp), (2) generally comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws, ordinances, rules and regulations respecting concessionaire’s use and occupation of the premises, and all rules and regulations of the Port, and (3) assure labor peace so that there shall be no picketing, work stoppages, boycotts or any other economic actions by or involving personnel employed in the concessions operations that interfere or disrupt the concessions operations. 

Oakland's Living Wage Ordinance covers even private companies operating at the Port, or doing business with the City of Oakland, under specified circumstances.

Despite local and state laws and other safeguards, workers at the Oakland airport have alleged that the private companies running certain airport concessions are shirking their responsibility to protect labor rights.  Workers have filed numerous complaints against sub-lessee concessionaires at the airport.  For example, complaints filed with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”) accuse Subway of failing to provide employees with ten-minute breaks, and requiring employees to clock-in at various Subway locations in order to circumvent overtime laws.  These workers’ struggle continues and it is yet to be seen how the Port and DLSE will respond. 

For further information about the Oakland Living Wage Ordinance, contact your labor law attorneys or to view the full text of the ordinance go to the Oakland Municipal Code, Chapter 2.28: http://search.municode.com/html/16308/index.html

By Lisl Duncan

Legal Developments