Airline catering workers to block traffic in civil disobedience against poverty wages and unaffordable health care

For Immediate Release: Thursday, February 13, 2020

Contact: Ted Waechter / 919-636-1124 / twaechter@unitehere2.org

Twitter: @UniteHereLocal2 / #1job

 

Airline catering workers to hold civil disobedience blocking traffic at SFO in protest against unaffordable health care and poverty wages

Thousands of airline catering workers serving American Airlines to participate in national day of action

 

WHO: Hundreds of UNITE HERE Local 2 airline catering workers and their supporters–including Supervisors Hillary Ronen and Shamann Walton–at SFO. Thousands of UNITE HERE airline catering workers at 15 airports across the United States.

WHAT: Union demonstration including nonviolent civil disobedience calling on American Airlines to take urgent and necessary steps to ensure that workers who cater its flights are able to escape poverty and access medical care.

WHERE: SFO Terminal 2 (Departures Level)

WHEN: Friday, February 14 from 3:30pm-6pm

WHY: American Airlines made $1.7 billion in net income in 2019, but subcontracted airline catering workers who provide the food and beverages served aboard American’s flights at SFO and around the country are often living in poverty and unable to afford healthcare.

This is set to be the latest and largest in a series of demonstrations by airline catering workers at U.S. airports. In November, airline catering workers and supporters–including Supervisors Matt Haney, Gordon Mar, and Ahsha Safaí–were arrested in a nonviolent sit-in inside the American Airlines terminal at SFO.

Contracted catering workers at SFO prepare American Airline’s in-flight meals and ensure its flights are properly stocked with food, water, and other beverages for on-time departures. Yet, less than 50 percent of workers at the SFO airline catering kitchens where workers have authorized a strike had employer-provided health insurance in 2018, and 10 percent had a child or other family member covered. Monthly premiums are up to $800.

“I prepare snacks for the premium-class cabin on American Airlines, but my wages are so low that I work 12 hours a day just to make ends meet,” said Linda Fajardo, an airline catering worker serving American Airlines and others. “And my health care is so unaffordable that I avoid important medical tests because I can’t afford the bills. American Airlines is rich enough to make sure that I can see the doctor and have a decent life.”

In addition to ongoing protest activity at SFO, previous large-scale demonstrations calling attention to American Airlines have already taken place this year in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Dallas-Ft. Worth—where over 50 were arrested in a civil disobedience near American Airlines’ headquarters. This summer, airline catering workers at SFO voted overwhelmingly to strike when released by the National Mediation Board. Federal mediation of contract negotiations continues.

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UNITE HERE Local 2 is the hospitality workers’ union and represents 14,000 members working in the hotel, food service, and airport industries in San Francisco and San Mateo counties, including 2,100 airline catering workers at SFO. Learn more on Twitter @UniteHereLocal2 or at unitehere2.org.