Dozens of Pearl Harbor Commissary workers get dismissed - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Dozens of Pearl Harbor Commissary workers get dismissed

Esther Robardas Esther Robardas
Paulo Gutierrez Paulo Gutierrez

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Baggers taken out.

Dozens of workers at the Pearl Harbor Commissary protested outside of their former workplace Sunday saying they are being treated unfairly.

It's a desperate plea for the baggers to get their jobs back.

Baggers help families of the military take their groceries out to their cars. Right now, there are about a hundred of these workers.

They're independent contractors and only get paid through tips from customers.

It's a program that's been going on for decades, where people with military dependents can apply for the job only if they pass a background check and have a valid military ID card.

"It's been able to provide me with sufficient funds to for my school, well-being and what not, my bills even," Former worker Paulo Gutierrez said.

But that support may get bagged.

Gutierrez and around 40 others claim they were dismissed from their jobs, given only a week's notice because they don't have a valid military ID.

Saturday was their last day. It may take weeks or even months before some of them get their jobs back.

That's because the process to get a new ID card takes awhile. Some have worked there for a couple decades and this is their only source of income.

"These people here along with other baggers I work with, they base their livelihoods from working here off of the tips they provide," Gutierrez said.

Most of the longtime customers we spoke to say they hope the situation gets resolved soon. That's because they've formed a good working relationship with them.

"We only work for tips, we serve the military services, we help them bag their groceries to go out," Former worker Esther Robardas said.

But Navy officials say they gave these workers several weeks notice and until they get re-verified, they won't be able to apply.

They've also hired replacements from long list of prospects.

"Some of them are going to try and find work elsewhere, but they've been working here for so long, they won't be able to," Gutierrez said.

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