Unite Here

11/20/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/20/2019 18:00

Thousands of airline catering workers to protest at airports nationwide on historically busy travel day

For immediate release
November 20, 2019

Meghan Cohorst


[email protected]

In what will be, collectively, the largest worker-led demonstration at U.S. airports in years, workers and supporters will escalate call for American Airlines to address poverty wages, expensive health care

PRESS ADVISORY for November 26, 2019

WHO: Thousands of airline catering workers and their supporters in at least 20 U.S. cities

WHAT: Collectively, the largest demonstration of workers at U.S. airports in years featuring pickets, marches, sit-ins, and die-ins 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: At least 15 major air transit hubs including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, Dallas, and Philadelphia.

WHEN: Tuesday, November 26

WHY: The day of protests is set to be the latest in a series of escalating demonstrations by airline catering workers at U.S. airports. Though their work is essential to airline operations, one in four workers who provide food and drinks to American Airlines at its hubs and who work for subcontractors LSG Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet earn less than $12 per hour, including many who have been in their jobs for over a decade.

A survey of 581 out of approximately 4,100 Sky Chefs workers serving American Airlines at the carrier's hubs found that 30% of the workers were uninsured and 35% rely on government-subsidized healthcare for themselves or their kids. Meanwhile, American reported a 2018 annual profit of $1.9 billion. 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 and largest hub airport.

This past summer, UNITE HERE airline catering workers at 33 airports voted overwhelmingly to strike when released by the National Mediation Board. Federal mediation of contract negotiations continues.