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.
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. Click the link for highlights from these rallies!
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
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.
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!
…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!
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.