Vote calls attention to growing crisis around catering workers’ wages, healthcare amid a booming airline industry
From the press release by Unite Here announcing the results of the vote:
On July 18, airline food workers who prepare, pack, and deliver food and beverages served onboard American Airlines flights departing from Charlotte Douglas International Airport voted 100% to strike when released by the National Mediation Board. The strike vote in Charlotte was part of the largest such vote ever to occur in the U.S. airline catering industry, with thousands of workers voting in 30 cities.
“I’ve been working at the airport for 38 years,” said Bobby Kirkpatrick. “But I still have to work more than one job just to make ends meet. American Airlines profited billions and billions of dollars, but people like me haven’t gotten a raise in years.”
Negotiations are ongoing but have failed to secure offers to improve wages and health care benefits for airline catering workers in Charlotte and elsewhere. Meanwhile, the three largest airlines in the country, American, Delta, and United, earned $50 Billion in combined profits over the past five years alone.
“That workers voted 100% to strike when released should send a strong message to American Airlines. Out of nearly 170 workers, 98 percent make less than $15 per hour. Among American Airlines hub airports, wages are the lowest at CLT, where workers start at just $8.40 per hour,” said MaryBe McMillan, President of the North Carolina State AFL-CIO. “This has reached a crisis level—airline catering workers in Charlotte need meaningful changes, and they need them right now. The rest of the labor movement stands with these workers.”
The workers are members of UNITE HERE Local 23 and employed by LSG Sky Chefs, the largest airline catering subcontractor in the U.S. They will begin public informational picket lines post-vote at Charlotte Douglas International Airport soon. They will not stop work until authorized by the government.
For a list of participating cities and vote status information visit AirportStrikeAlert.org.
For more information about this release, contact Damiana Dendy, DDendy@unitehere.org, 516-343-9933