FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—July 3, 2019
Contact: Rachel Gumpert, (908) 752-3929
UNITE HERE Airline Catering Workers picket at US Airports During Peak 4th of July Travel Season
Actions take place on the heels of a first-of-its-kind vote by airline catering workers to strike when released by the National Mediation Board
NATIONWIDE—Hundreds of airline catering workers and their allies in over 30 cities—including New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Miami, Dallas, and San Francisco—participated today in informational pickets just as the busy July 4 travel season kicked off.
The pickets come just under two weeks after thousands of airline catering workers voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, and kick off a summer of activity that will include major events in Washington, D.C. on July 23, and Dallas—home of American Airlines—during the week of August 12.
“My co-workers and I voted in huge numbers to authorize a strike because we know the value we add to this airline industry, but we’re not treated like it,” said Stephanie Kopnang, who works at a kitchen in Dallas, home to the headquarters of American Airlines, “By showing that we’re ready to strike, and by picketing today on one of the busiest air travel days of the year, we’re sending a strong message to the airlines that we can’t wait for months or years for change.”
More than 20,000 catering workers in the provide food and beverage for consumption aboard commercial flights that depart from every major U.S. airport. They are an integral part of the airline industry, but most earn under $15 per hour and struggle to afford expensive company health insurance.
Meanwhile, passengers are hitting the skies in record numbers, buoyed by increasingly-heavy travel periods like that surrounding the July 4 holiday. More travelers have meant record profits for the country’s three largest carriers: American, Delta and United Airlines pulled in a combined $50 Billion in profits over the past five years.
Later this summer, UNITE HERE will request release to strike from the National Mediation Board, which would be followed by a 30-day cooling off period if granted.
For more information visit https://www.AirportStrikeAlert.org.
UNITE HERE represents over 300,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries in the U.S. and Canada. This includes over 20,000 workers in the airline catering industry who are employees of Flying Food Group, Gate Gourmet, LSG Sky Chefs, and United Airlines. www.unitehere.org