Food workers at SFO name for expanded wages

by Lionel Casey

Nearly 1,000 airline catering employees at San Francisco International Airport voted in want of a strike on Friday after negotiations over wage hikes and healthcare benefits stalled.

The ninety-nine .8 percent “yes” vote follows a preceding vote held in a smaller SFO kitchen on Tuesday, where some 500 employees permitted a strike with a ninety-nine .3 percent “yes” vote. Over the following weeks, airline catering staff in 20 other towns are anticipated to take similar votes.

The employees are hired with two airline catering agencies — LSG Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet — that service primary airlines like United, Delta, and American Airlines. They represented by UNITE HERE Local 2 and were in contract negotiations given that as a minimum 2018.

But a breakdown within the bargaining has compelled the negotiations into federal mediation, and airline catering personnel say that many are willing to strike to have their demands of better wages and healthcare blessings met.

While the airline industry is booming — American Airlines, Delta, and United remodeled $50 billion in combined earnings in the final 5 years — employees at airport kitchen, which includes at SFO, say they’re slightly getting by.

“I live paycheck to paycheck,” said Roberto Alvarez, who masses and unloads food and beverage on American Airlines planes at SFO.

Alvarez stated that he needed to borrow money from a friend to cowl his hire after damage in April precipitated him to miss two days of work.

“I can’t even assume of getting medical insurance,” he said. “I visit a free health facility for my scientific needs.”

The union said that the median salary for these employees is $18.Sixty-six.

Anand Singh, UNITE HERE Local 2 president, stated that a sticking factor within the ongoing negotiations in healthcare.

According to the union, much less than 50 percent of people at the SFO airline catering kitchens had employer health insurance in 2018, and the best 10 percent had an infant or family member covered.

“Premiums are out of attaining for maximum folks — they range from $two hundred in step with month for an individual to $800 consistent with month for own family coverage,” stated Singh. “It’s definitely simply inaccessible. Even when workers to purchase health insurance through the businesses, they are left with significant co-bills.”

“Too many humans must depend upon public help, that’s unconscionable in the Bay Area, in an industry that racks up income yr over year,” he stated.

Before a strike ought to start, the National Mediation Board need to first approve a launch for the people.

Sky Chefs stated in a declaration issued Saturday that it has “no confirmation of a proper request to the National Mediation Board for a release,” and that the enterprise plans to preserve ongoing negotiations “in proper religion.”

“Our corporation values the difficult paintings and dedication of our team contributors. Wages, as well as different benefits, together with holidays, uniforms, and corporation, supplied meals, as well as health and welfare, our the situation to the collective bargaining technique among our organization and their union representatives,” the employer said.

Gate Gourmet stated in an assertion on Friday that it also “keeps working in desirable religion with the Union and federally appointed mediator to make enhancements for our human beings across wages and benefits as we’ve got within the past.”

A spokesperson for American Airlines said in an announcement on Friday that the enterprise “respects the proper to lose association and collective bargaining.”

The spokesperson mentioned that the corporation is not involved in ongoing negotiations and does not “anticipate any impact to our catering operations.”

“As negotiations maintain, we are able to keep to reveal the scenario,” the spokesperson said.

United Airlines said in a declaration also issued Friday that “It is our understanding that the parties are in mediation with the National Mediation Board. While we’re hopeful that the one’s discussions will result in a settlement, we’ve contingency plans in the vicinity to keep the revel in of our customers.”

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