Chronicle covers SFO airport workers facing layoffs

The SF Chronicle ran a story about Local 2 and other union workers at the airport. They interviewed Pearl Li, who talked about how she has to buy her own masks from friends in China to feel safe working at Gate Gourmet. Airline kitchen workers continue to work during this pandemic, even though their employers – Gate Gourmet, Sky Chefs, and Flying Foods Group – don’t provide them with health care benefits they can afford. This makes it even harder to know if they have coronavirus or get the care they need, which is why kitchen employees leafleted their workplace today.

San Francisco health care benefits secure until July 31

Members who get health care through the union’s San Francisco fund will have coverage extended through July 31, regardless of how many hours you work. If you were eligible any month between October 2019 and March 2020, you can receive coverage for March through July. If you work at the Giants’ Oracle Park, and you received health benefits in any two months during last year’s baseball season, you are also eligible. If you’re not enrolled in benefits right now, please call the Fund office at 415-777-3707.  If you work somewhere that provides health coverage through a different plan (Marriott Marquis, Virgin, Via, etc.) call your union rep.  Workers in the San Mateo fund also have coverage extended through July 31.

Local 2 is working to extend health care

If you are in the San Mateo health fund (airport concession workers, San Mateo hotel workers), your coverage will continue at least through July 31 regardless of how many hours you work. The union is asking the San Francisco health fund to extend benefits too. Check back here for more information.  If you are in a company plan or are uninsured, talk to your shop steward or union representative. Local 2 continues to fight to ensure that companies do their part to make sure that all workers are protected.

Congress gives more sick leave if you work for a small company and aren’t laid off

Most union contracts already provide more paid time off than any law gives you, but UNITE HERE is fighting to change the laws during this crisis.  Here is the latest law passed by Congress:

If your employer has less than 500 employees, a new law gives you an extra 80 hours paid sick leave between April 2 and December 31, but only if you are not laid off. Tell HR you are requesting time off under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. You can take this paid time off before you take any other leave you’ve accumulated under your union contract.

“America’s cleaners: fighting on the coronavirus front line”: Reuters interviews Local 2 member

“I’m more afraid about my bills than the coronavirus,” she said, adding that she would struggle to afford groceries, her car payments and insurance, and other outgoings. “Being a single mom, you live paycheck to paycheck.”… Click here for the whole article.

“A torrent of job losses”: New York Times interviews Local 2 member

“…Mr. Javier had worked at the hotel about six years and earned $600 to $700 a week during the winter, typically a slow season. He said he and his co-workers got word of deep cuts two weeks ago, after which his hours were scaled back…” Click here for the whole article.

UNITE HERE Local 2 Statement on COVID-19

For Immediate Release

March 5, 2020

Ted Waechter



UNITE HERE Local 2 is the hospitality workers’ union for San Francisco and San Mateo counties, representing 14,000 airport, hotel, and food service workers. We are closely monitoring developments surrounding COVID-19 and are concerned for the safety and well-being of all workers.

We will be providing UNITE HERE Local 2 members with information on COVID-19 and local contacts if they are concerned that they are ill or believe they have come in contact with the virus. UNITE HERE Local 2 is also formulating proposals for what steps should be taken if workers become sick or are impacted due to temporary layoffs. We will reach out in partnership to employers in our industries to ensure our members’ needs are addressed. This is essential for the safety and well-being of workers, the customers they serve, and the city as a whole.

As an affiliate of UNITE HERE – which has hundreds of thousands of members across the U.S. and Canada – we strongly believe that whatever monies Congress allocates towards virus response must take into account workers’ time and include paid sick leave. Not everyone can afford to take time off when they’re sick, and not every city has mandatory sick leave for working people. That’s why there is no better moment to enact national policy on paid sick time, and San Francisco should be viewed as a model. Our national leaders must act now to protect workers and the general public today and into the future.