Garlic fry sit-in raises AT&T Park labor stakes

About 50 protestors demonstrating for higher wages, job security and health care escalated their dispute to a new level at AT&T Park Tuesday night.

After the game started, the group entered the stadium with purchased tickets and staged a sit-in near the Gilroy Garlic Fries stand.

Ten of them were arrested after refusing to leave, while the other protestors left on their own after police explained that they could be ejected from the stadium for their actions.

The ongoing dispute between Centerplate, the Giants’ subcontracted concessionaire, and Unite Here! Local 2 brought about 400 picketers to Tuesday night’s game.

The rally highlights an ongoing contract dispute between the union and management with workers saying they haven’t received a pay raise since 2010 even as ticket sales have skyrocketed.

Management, however, says their workers are already making the highest wages in the industry along with healthcare while working part-time. The company is offering workers a 25 cent raise this year and next year, a $500 ratification bonus and employer paid health care.

Tuesday night was the second one-day action called as part of the union’s “The Giant Zero” campaign. The union also conducted a one-day rally May 25, which brought out 750 union members.

Local 2, representing about 12,000 San Francisco hospitality workers, has set up a website to raise awareness for their cause. They claim wages have remained stagnant while profits have risen 14 percent in recent years. Prices for food and beverages at the ballpark have also climbed.

Julie Nordman, a concession worker for 20 years, said in a statement on the website:

 “My stand alone brings in over $20,000 a game. But we haven’t had a wage increase since April 2009. Why can’t we share in the success?”

Concession workers are encourage fans to bring their own food to the ballpark to stand in solidarity with them.