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Workers At Oakland Airport, Port Of Oakland Staging 1-Day Strike

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- More than 100 members of Service Employees International Union Local 1021 began picketing Monday night at Oakland International Airport to kick off a 24-hour strike meant to also shut down the Port of Oakland on Tuesday, a union spokeswoman said.

Members of the union started picketing at 9 p.m. at the JetBlue area of Terminal 1 at the airport. The union has no intention of hindering passengers from holiday flights, union spokeswoman Anna Bakalis said.

"We don't want people to miss their Thanksgiving, we just want them to know what we are fighting for," Bakalis said.

KCBS' Chris Filippi Reports:

SEIU Local 1021, which represents mainly janitors, electricians, security and maintenance people, is holding the strike to protest alleged unfair labor practices and other disputes with the port's governing board, Bakalis said.

The union alleges that the Board of Port Commissioners, which governs the shipping port, has not bargained in good faith and has failed to provide financial details showing why they cannot afford to meet the union's offer on salaries and benefits.

The picket line at the airport will remain until 9 p.m. Tuesday, while as many as 400 members and supporters are expected to make it to a second picket line starting at 5 a.m. Tuesday at the Port of Oakland, Bakalis said.

The protest at the port's container facility, at 1717 Middle Harbor Road, Berths 57 to 59, is meant to shut it down until about 9 p.m. Members of other unions at the port will also honor the picket line and not show up for work, Bakalis said.

The pickets at the port will also discourage some airport workers, such as members of Unite Here Local 2850, which represents restaurant and concession employees, from going in during the strike, Bakalis said.

Port of Oakland officials said the picket lines will not affect operations and services at the airport and that the port is trying to persuade the union not to hold the picket lines.

"We're been prepared for this type of action and still hope to resolve the potential conflict," said Deborah Ale Flint, the port's acting executive director.

The labor action at the port's container operation "could cause economic hardship to the port" and other union employees outside of Local 1021, Flint said.

The port and SEIU Local 1021 leaders agreed on a tentative new contract in March, but the union's members rejected it.

Port officials said that the union has agreed to meet with an arbitrator to discuss facts that led to the contract dispute. Meetings with the arbitrator are set for Nov. 29 and 30 and Dec. 3.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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