One day after hundreds of fast-food industry workers marched for the right to join unions, nearly 200 unionized food and retail workers walked off their jobs Friday at the Oakland International Airport.

The workers are embroiled in a long-standing dispute with the private firm Host International, which operates food and retail stations at the Oakland airport, including Starbucks and Chili's.

Those stands remained open for business Friday; airport officials said the company used nonunion workers to maintain service. The company did not respond to requests for comment.

The workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 2850, have gone a year without a contract. They last staged a one-day strike in June.

The union accused management of bargaining in bad faith and seeking to reduce benefits, eliminate pensions and cut back on overtime.

"I shouldn't have to live in poverty to work at the Oakland Airport," union member Ida Gonzales said in a statement on the union's Facebook page.

The airport is trying to help resolve the situation and worked with the company on contingency plans for the strike, spokesman Brian Kidd said.

"At the end of the day, what we are most concerned about is making sure that customers are not inconvenienced," he said.

Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435.



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