FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Jan 25, 2020
Contact: Diana Hussein, [email protected], 313-460-3119
As Super Bowl Nears, Catering Workers Serving American Airlines to Kick Off “Fast for Our Families” in Miami
Unable to feed their families or go to a doctor, workers will launch 6-day fast at Miami International Airport
MIAMI – As Super Bowl festivities kick off in Miami, the contrast between the city’s glamour and its residents’ dire poverty will be in the spotlight for all arriving guests to see. Catering workers serving American Airlines, who also led a civil disobedience protest at MIA the week of Thanksgiving, announced today that they will spearhead a group encamped at the airport planning to forgo food for all of Super Bowl week to draw attention to the crisis they face year-round. The “Fast for Our Families” will begin on Monday, January 27.
Though American Airlines, which has named MIA as one of its most important U.S. hubs, has earned $1.9 billion in profits in 2018, over 70% of airline catering employees at LSG Sky Chefs who service American at MIA earn below the living wage set for other airport employees.
“We welcome all who are flying into Miami for the Super Bowl, but we want them to see our side of Miami too. We’re fasting for our families because our kids need to be fed, because we need to be able to take them to the doctor,” said Sonia Toledo, who has worked for LSG Sky Chefs at MIA for nearly thirty years, “Through this fast, we hope to expose and to urge American Airlines to end poverty in the airline industry.”
Only 19% of airline catering workers serving American at MIA had company healthcare in 2018, and only 4% covered any dependents. A 2019 survey of 128 out of 840 employees in Miami found that 48% depend on government-funded healthcare programs for themselves or their children. Thirty-five percent (35%) reported that they are uninsured entirely.
The fasters will base their week-long protest at MIA Terminal D, Departures area, but will hold daily actions at the airport and other Super Bowl events to spread their message as widely as possible. The fasters will be joined throughout the week by catering workers from other cities across the United States. These workers primarily serve American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines and are all working together to end poverty and secure good, affordable health care industry-wide.
UNITE HERE Local 355 represents nearly 7,000 workers in South Florida, including 1,000 airline catering workers at airports in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, and West Palm Beach. Local 355 is an affiliate of UNITE HERE, a labor union representing over 300,000 workers in the U.S. and Canada, including 20,000 airline catering workers for LSG Sky Chefs, Gate Gourmet, Flying Food Group, and United Airlines.