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.



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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

THE STREET: “CEO Would Like American Airlines’ $5B ‘Steady State’ Profit to Be Shared With Kitchen Workers”

Day 3 Report: Meeting with Senator Booker + Philadelphia

On Day Three of the Fed Up Tour, our caravan visited no fewer than three cities along the tour route! The day began with an inspiring meeting with New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, who received the group in his office and listened carefully as airline food workers shared with him their personal stories of working for subcontractors of the major airlines.

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