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.

Union supports using hotels to protect the vulnerable; urges officials to consult with workers

UNITE HERE, the union representing over 300,000 hospitality workers in the US and Canada, said today that while it endorses the judicious use of such facilities to protect the sick and vulnerable during this public health crisis, government officials must consult with worker representatives before hotels, conference centers, or stadiums are used for emergency operations. Click here for more information.

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

919-636-1124

twaechter@unitehere2.org

 

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.

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.

50 arrested at SFO American Airlines terminal in airline catering workers’ Thanksgiving civil disobedience

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, November 26, 2019

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

Twitter: @UniteHereLocal2 / #1job

 

50 arrested at American Airlines SFO terminal in airline catering workers’ Thanksgiving civil disobedience

Sit-in followed protest by more than 350 workers and supporters, calling for American Airlines to address poverty wages and unaffordable health care as part of nationwide airport demonstrations in 17 cities

 

San Francisco, Calif. — Fifty 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. The civil disobedience followed a protest by more than 350 workers on one of the busiest travel days in the U.S., the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

Photos and video of the action are available here, courtesy of Unite Here Local 2.

“I took arrest today because even though I load drinks and snacks onto carts for American Airlines, my health care is so unaffordable that I’m afraid to go to the doctor,” said Malia Salt, an airline catering worker who serves American Airlines and was arrested in today’s civil disobedience. “All the bills have left me in thousands of dollars of medical debt, while American Airlines makes billions. It’s time for American Airlines to make my health care affordable.”

The demonstration was led by UNITE HERE Local 2 airline catering workers, who prepare food and beverages served on board American Airlines and other flights departing from SFO. Workers and supporters – including Supervisors Matt Haney, Gordon Mar, and Ahsha Safaí, Fred Ross Jr., and Marriott workers who went on strike last year – held a sit-in near the American Airlines check-in area while more than 350 – including cabin cleaners, wheelchair attendants, luggage handlers, and other airport service workers with Service Employees International Union United Service Workers West (SEIU-USWW) – protested in front of the terminal. They called on American to take urgent and necessary steps to ensure that workers who cater its flights can escape poverty and access affordable healthcare; the action was part of nation-wide protests by thousands of airline catering workers in 17 cities.

“We’re protesting on this busy travel day because we want American Airlines passengers to know that poverty wages and unaffordable health care are unacceptable,” said Anand Singh, President of Unite Here Local 2, who was also arrested in today’s civil disobedience. “One job should be enough for the workers who cater American Airlines flights, and we’re ready to do whatever it takes to make that happen.”

Though airline catering workers are essential to airline operations, less than 50 percent of workers at the SFO airline catering kitchens where workers have authorized a strike had company health insurance in 2018, and 10 percent had a child or other family member covered. Meanwhile, American reported a 2018 annual profit of $1.9 billion.

Today’s protests are the latest in a series of demonstrations at airports across the country calling attention to American Airlines. In addition to SFO, protests and/or acts of nonviolent civil disobedience took place in 17 cities, including major airports in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. This past summer UNITE HERE 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 13,000 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.