Skip to main content

5 Arrested as Dozens of Airline Catering Workers Protest at CLT

Jeremy Sprinkle
Social share icons

Protests were part of national day of action calling on airlines to take action to end poverty and unaffordable health care in the airline catering industry

Five were arrested and 75 more demonstrated at CLT in the latest in on ongoing labor dispute around wages and health care in the airline catering industry. Protests were led by UNITE HERE Local 23-represented airline catering workers who provide inflight food and beverage services for American Airlines and other U.S. airlines. Workers escalated their call on American to take urgent and necessary steps to help end poverty and unaffordable healthcare in the industry. The protest was part of nationwide demonstrations of airline catering workers at airports all over the country.

Airline catering workers prepare, pack, and deliver food and beverages served aboard flights for American Airlines and other major U.S. airlines. Though their work is essential to airline operations at CLT, 82% of airline catering workers will make less than $15 per hour as of February 28, which is below the wage needed for two working adults and two children to meet the minimum standard of living for Charlotte. Meanwhile, American reported a 2019 annual net income of $1.7 billion.

American Airlines recently reached a $4.2 billion agreement with its well-deserving ground and maintenance workers in TWU-IAM. Yet, American still hasn’t addressed the concerns of all workers who make its operations possible — including the catering workers who continue to be left behind.

“We’re protesting and getting arrested at CLT and at airports across the country because we want as many passengers as possible to know that airline catering workers are sick and tired of being the lowest-paid and worst-treated workers in the airline industry,” said Bobby Kirkpatrick from Charlotte, “No one should have to work more than one job just to make ends meet. American Airlines profited billions and billions of dollars, but people like me, who have been with Sky Chefs for 20, 30, almost 40 years, haven’t gotten a raise in years.”

Visit for more information about the campaign for good-paying jobs and benefits for ALL workers in the airline industry.