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Oracle Park concessions workers reach tentative deal, avert strike

Courtesy of UNITE HERE Local 2 union

The Oracle Park concessions workers are expected to call off their strike after negotiating a deal with parent company Bon Appetit.

The employees, represented by the UNITE HERE Local 2 union, voted 96.7% to authorize a strike vote in early September. They hadn’t received any hazard pay or a raise in three years and felt the working environment was unsafe during the pandemic. And many failed to meet the 10-event per month threshold required to qualify for health care benefits. 

They had recently signed up for strike duties and prepared picket signs, but now Bon Appetit has conceded on key issues. 

The tentative agreement, according to the union press release, includes a commitment to enforce mask requirements for workers and other COVID-19 safety rules during events, affordable healthcare with a lower eligibility threshold, immediate wage increases of $3 per hour, hazard pay bonus of $1.50 per hour for games worked in 2020 and 2021 seasons and increased pension benefits for both full-time and seasoned workers. 

A group of over 50 workers led the bargaining and have now reached an agreement through 2024. Workers will vote to ratify the new contract Thursday. 

“I’m so proud that my coworkers and I stayed strong and united to win a deal that will change our lives,” Kevin Pascual, a cook at Oracle Park for 8 years, said in the release. “We were ready to strike, and together we won much better safety protections, affordable health care, and higher wages to keep up with the cost of living. Now we can all enjoy the playoffs together.”

The strike pitted Oracle Park concessions workers against food service contractor Bon Appetit, with the Giants looming as an additional power broker. One of the workers’ main complaints was ballpark health and safety during the pandemic, which they said only the Giants could enforce. 

In the press release, the workers still call on the Giants to require fans to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test to enter the ballpark. Multiple professional sports teams, including the Toronto Blue Jays, have instituted those guidelines. 

Local 2 union president said “determined leadership paid off” and will change the lives of over 950 ballpark employees. Bon Appetit CEO Fedele Bauccio said he’s pleased to reach a “successful conclusion” and continue to provide a desirable work environment. 

The agreed upon wage raise of $3 per hour increases to $7 per hour by 2024, according to the release. There will be no health care cost for individuals and a low cost to cover dependents. 

In short: a win for the workers. 

“In my 32 years working food service at Giants games, I’ve been witness to so much history — World Series championships, Barry Bonds’ home runs, and more — and now we’ve made history too,” Deborah Torrano, a suite attendant and Local 2 negotiating committee member, said. “This deal will help us be safer on the job, support our families in the Bay Area, get medical care without worrying about the bill, and retire with dignity. We were ready to strike, and now our lives will change.”

 

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