The #MLK50 march in Memphis!

UNITE HERE members from all over the country convened in Memphis, Tennessee to celebrate and remember Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights legacy. April 4, 2018 marked 50 years after his assassination. His life of purposeful non-violent direct action inspired many to take up the mantle as activists, organizers, and leaders.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s last speech was in Memphis, called “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”. He emphasized the need for economic justice alongside racial justice. The speech was in support of striking sanitation workers, who were battling against discrimination, unsafe working conditions, low pay and disrespect.

Dr. King’s message isn’t forgotten today in our fight for decent wages and respect in airline catering kitchens across the country, which is why many workers in LSG Sky Chefs, Gate Gourmet, and Flying Foods made the journey from their homes to this very important event.

Many cities made the trip down in buses.

Local 23, Local 1 Chicago and Local 355 Miami traveling to Memphis.

On Tuesday, the morning started with a Labor Plenary with UNITE HERE Vice President Maria Elena Durazo and at Mason Temple.

Maria Elenza Durazo and the crowd at Mason Temple.

 

Alain Moore, an airline catering worker organizing for union representation at United Airlines, made a speech about his struggle at the Temple of Deliverance. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6PcGyLmDmI&t=22s

Civil Rights Leader Reverend Lawson addressing the crowd.

 

From Left to Right: Father Kiley (Director of Immigration Policy for UNITE HERE), Christian Pace (Young Activist), Maria Elena Durazo (General Vice President of UNITE HERE), Jose Maldonado (Secretary-Treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 100), D. Taylor (UNITE HERE International President), Alain Moore (Driver at United Catering Operations)

 


Workers at LSG Sky Chefs and HMS Host from Local 362 Central Florida.

 


Workers from LSG Sky Chefs from Local 23 Charlotte and Raleigh.

At night, we went to Mason Temple and the Temple of Deliverance to hear different labor leaders speak about their commitment to civil rights in the current political climate.

The next day, we rallied!

 

And then we marched the same path Martin Luther King Jr. marched with the Sanitation workers.

 

A member of our union family, Lindell Lawrence, a United Airlines Catering worker, wrote about his reasons for marching in this article.

In the end, 2000 members from UNITE HERE marched with faith, labor and civil rights leaders to reflect on what this historic struggle means for them today. Watch this video featuring Bobby Kirkpatrick from Local 23 Charlotte and Step Bethea Local 7 Baltimore about carrying on the legacy of what the civil rights movement started:

Carrying on What They Started

UNITE HERE members share their experiences in the historic civil rights struggle and what coming to Memphis means to them now.More than 2,000 UNITE HERE members from across North America join tens of thousands in Memphis, Tennessee, for I AM 2018, the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike.

Posted by UNITE HERE! on Monday, April 2, 2018

The FED UP Day of Action!

Workers from LSG Sky Chefs, Gate Gourmet and Flying Foods rallied all over the country for the FED UP day of action!

From Local 8 Seattle to Local 26 Boston, we’re FED UP with the airlines. Hundreds of workers were fired up over the lack of federal taxes the airlines pay. United Airlines, Delta Airlines, and American Airlines have made record profits of over 10 million dollars a day. Yet over the last 3 years, those airlines have paid $0 in federal income taxes. They have no excuse for paying poverty wages.

Check out this awesome video featuring actions from across the country. Starring Local 26 Boston, Local 23 Charlotte & Washington D.C., Local 5 Honolulu, Local 1 Chicago, Local 24 Detroit, Local 11 Los Angeles, Local 355 Miami, Local 17 Minneapolis, Local 100 New York and New Jersey, Local 362 Orlando, Local 274 Philly, & Local 2 San Francisco.

Airline catering workers are #FedUp with corporate greed!

Last week, at more than a dozen major airports across the U.S., hundreds of airline catering workers protested low wages at a time when the Big 3 airlines — American, Delta and United — haven’t paid federal income tax for the last three years, despite record profits of over $10 million A DAY during that time. Airline catering workers struggle to make ends meet on as little as $8.20 an hour. In some cities, caterers for the Big 3 pay less than area minimum wages or established living wage standards for other airports. Often forced to work multiple jobs to survive, these workers are taking action by calling for higher wages and equality. #FedUp #1u #unitehere

Posted by Unite Here! Local 5 on Monday, March 19, 2018

 

Local 11 rallied at LAX Airport

 

Local 26 was at Boston Airport!

 

Local 362 Orlando rallied with other union allies!

Check out this article in the Orlando Sentinel: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/consumer/os-bz-airport-catering-protest-20180314-story.html

Workers in Local 17 Minneapolis buttoned up to show their commitment to win a good contract.

Local 100 New York and New Jersey rallied at JFK Airport, look at their action slideshow!

 

Local 2 San Francisco protested for over 3 hours, and their union family in other parts of the airport supported them too.

Local 355 in Miami called for higher wages and equality.

Local 274 Philly highlighted that while some airline industry workers, like pilots, flight attendants & grounds crews, have gotten well-deserved raises. Yet, airline catering workers — predominantly people of color — have been left out.

Yolanda from Local 1 Chicago says “It’s not fair for the company to offer raises for some and not others. We all need to be able to take care of our families. We all work hard to make sure food is prepared and delivered to flights, we deserve to be fairly compensated!”

 

14+ cities had days filled with chanting and rallying for justice. While the greedy airlines profit billions, it’s clear the workers who prepare the food and beverages for their flights deserve more. This action makes it clear that we will not be ignored, fair wages and equality need to be ensured to all. The struggle continues!

The UNITE HERE Airline Catering Summit!



Our contracts—LSG Sky Chefs, Gate Gourmet, and Flying Food Group—don’t expire until the end of 2018, but we have already begun to demand real improvements.  100 airline catering worker-leaders from 20 kitchens around the country joined forces in Baltimore on November 15/16 to make plans to win MUCH better contracts. From Boston to Los Angeles, workers shared their struggles, their triumphs, and strategized on the path to work together and win more together.

 

 

Read more

October 19: The UNITE HERE Day of Action!

Workers from Sky Chefs, Gate Gourmet and Flying Food rallied all over the country on October 19, UNITE HERE’s Day of Action. 40 cities in our union rallied for dignity and respect in the workplace, increased protections for immigrant workers, and fair wages. Highlights from these rallies include:

Local 8 Seattle had a rally in the rain!

Workers were fed up and fired up despite the weather conditions when they rallied at SeaTac airport. Take a look at these articles about the issues at Seattle Sky Chefs in Seattle Weekly and The Stranger.

Inside, Kirsten Harris-Talley, a member of Seattle City Council kicked off the rally. Pedro Olguin, an organizing coordinator for Teamsters Local 117 who is running for Burien City Council said “The teamsters have your back”. Many community allies rallied alongside Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet workers in Seattle.


Maria Carrilo, one of the leaders from the Fed Up tour, is pictured here making some noise!


Everyone marching through the rain.

Local 11 Phoenix rallied at Sky Harbor Airport Terminal 4.

Check out these articles in The Phoenix New Times, Phoenix CBS 5.


Worker leader Maria Barraza addressing the crowd. (Photo Credit: Murphy Bannerman)

Local 23 Charlotte rallied and a Mariachi band helped provide some rhythm to their chanting.


Local 23 Washington D.C rallied at Dulles airport.


Worker leader Maryom is FED UP!


Yoyo is FED UP too.

Local 100 rallied on the steps of City Hall in Newark, New Jersey and then at Trump Tower in New York City.

Marching and using water bottles as drums, Local 100 brought the noise!


Together on the steps of City Hall in Newark, smiling big for worker power.


Carol Ruiz, a Fed Up Tour leader who works at Gate Gourmet, addressing the crowd regarding Local 100’s recent hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

October 19 was a busy day for many cities. Workers, and community allies showed up and spoke up about the heat in the trucks, the low wages and inequality in the workplace. Workers in many other cities rallied for protections in the workplace, DACA and TPS protections, and more. A big shout out to everyone who participated in the big day of action. Airline catering workers are serving up justice and standing up to the bosses. When we fight together we win together!

3 Cities, One Fight. Air-Conditioning Now! // 3 Ciudades, Una Sola Lucha. ¡Aire acondicionado ahora!


After the release of “Danger Behind the Wheel”, a report on the extreme heat conditions drivers and driver helpers in the airline catering industry experience on the job, workers have been busy holding the airlines accountable. All summer Sky Chefs workers have been doing work place actions, testifying at City Council and board meetings, and encouraging other workers to take action. Read more

Airline Food Workers Protest in Long Beach Near International Flight Services Conference

On September 26, airline catering workers from Sky Chefs, Gate Gourmet and Flying Food Group took the Fed Up Campaign to Long Beach, host of the 2017 International Flight Services Association’s Annual Conference and Expo!

IFSA is a conference where executives from airline and inflight catering industries come together to discuss how to innovate the industry. Over 150 workers from Los Angeles and Phoenix rallied with their supporters that Tuesday to remind IFSA attendees that one part of the industry are the workers who cater the meals for flights. Workers gave over 2,000 leaflets to conference attendees.

On top of the leafleting and rally, there was some street theater. At IFSA, they present the Compass Awards in categories like “Best Inflight Beverage” or “Best Amenity.” So, workers held their own “Moral Compass Awards,” in which they asked, “Are the workers who cater meals and beverages for the airlines treated fairly?” The crowd responded with a resounding “NO!”

During the theater, while the greedy airlines Delta, United and Lufthansa fought for awards, workers awarded their co-workers for their hard work and dedication. Everyone at the rally made a commitment to organize even harder as the campaign continues.

The whole event was part of the ongoing national “Fed Up” campaign that has workers in the kitchens saying they are Fed Up with poverty wages.

 

Day 4 Report: American Airlines Shareholder Meeting in New York City

The final day of the Fed Up Tour did not disappoint, as our road-hardy crew was up bright and early to make their presence known outside of American Airlines’ Annual Shareholder Meeting in Midtown Manhattan!

As the morning’s rain showers tapered away, the 13 caravaners rallied outside the Lipstick Building with a great group of supporters from UNITE HERE Local 100, the Hotel Trades Council, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, African Communities Together‘s Amaha Kassa. The American Airlines Retirees Committee was also out front, continuing their call for the airline to protect their retirement benefits.

[We] say to the shareholders of American Airlines: you are enjoying record profits and all that we are asking is for respect and dignity for workers who made this airline profitable. —NYC Public Advocate Letitia James

As their fellow workers Bharat and Dharon did at United Airlines’ meeting, Charlotte’s Bobby Kirkpatrick and Miami’s Yamilet Vigueras attended the meeting, where they were able to ask questions of AA’s board of directors… and also speak for a bit one-on-one with American Airlines CEO Doug Parker.

Outside the meeting, the rally continued with every bit of the same spirit that has accompanied the tour all the way from Charlotte.

Meanwhile, in other cities across the country, even more airline food workers were doing their best to amplify the message that we’re all Fed Up with poverty wages!

From Atlanta…

…to Dallas…

…and all the way on the West Coast, where the co-workers of tour participants Maria R. and Margarita marched their way through LAX Airport’s Terminal 4.

Read more about their action in this Spanish language article from La Opinión: “Comer o tener un seguro médico: el dilema de los trabajadores aéreos de catering”

And just like that… the Fed Up Tour was a wrap! A huge thank you to Maris Zivarts of Time of Day Media, who worked hard to produce our daily video wrap-ups—often from the backseat of a moving 12-passenger van! Shout out to our caravaners home locals: UNITE HERE Locals 1 (Chicago), 7 (Baltimore), 8 (Seattle/Portland), 11 (Los Angeles), 23 (Charlotte, DC, Houston), 26 (Boston), 100 (New York/New Jersey), 355 (Miami), and UNITE HERE Philly.

In just four days, 13 airline food workers helped take a major step forward in their fight for just wages and equal treatment for their indispensable roles in the airline industry. We’re just getting started!

 

LA OPINIÓN: “Comer o tener un seguro médico: el dilema de los trabajadores aéreos de catering”

No se puede vivir en una ciudad con un coste de vida tan alto como Los Ángeles con el salario de pobreza que nos pagan.

It’s not possible to live in a city where the cost of living is as high as it is in Los Angeles on the poverty wage that they pay us.

—Danny Argueta, LAX Airport