OAKLAND - Food and retail workers at Oakland International Airport have postponed a strike planned for Saturday due to what they call "encouraging progress" in settlement talks, but will still picket, a spokeswoman said today.

Unite Here Local 2850, which represents around 200 workers at the airport employed by HMSHost, a Maryland-based company with a contract for services at the airport, previously held a one-day strike on Aug. 30.

The employees have been working without a contract since July 2012 and talks have been acrimonious.

Spokeswoman Sarah Norr in November accused HMSHost of engaging in "regressive bargaining" by proposing reducing vacation and sick days, eliminating pensions and removing workers from the union's affordable health insurance plan.

HMSHost spokesman Sam Singer in turn said the company had "put a fair contract offer on the table that reflects the fact that air passenger levels at the Oakland airport have dropped by 33 percent in the last three years."

Norr has said veteran workers at the airport earn $12 to $13 an hour and new employees make $9.50 to $9.75 an hour.

Saturday's picket will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Terminal 2.



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