Airline catering workers have been FED UP with earning poverty wages and high healthcare premiums since long before even 2018. And throughout the month of December, working people from the “Big Four” airline catering employers – Gate Gourmet, LSG Sky Chefs, Flying Food Group, and United Airlines – joined in collective action for the first time by holding a variety of demonstrations across 20 U.S. cities. From Miami to Minneapolis, San Francisco to New York, and Denver to D.C., the series of actions marked the official relaunch of the “FED UP” movement that began last summer, and let the airlines know that the working people who feed thousands of airline passengers every day have a new year’s resolution to do whatever it takes in 2019 to earn their fair share of the multi-billion-dollar industry’s soaring profits.
On December 11, airline catering workers in Seattle took to SEATAC Airport to delivery their message directly to 10 different airlines, and together demanded to speak to managers about why they’re FED UP.
The following Monday, December 17, Philadelphia’s airport food workers rallied at the major American Airlines hub to raise awareness about the company that made $1.9 billion in profit in 2017 yet tends to be a miser when it comes to helping ease the high costs of healthcare for their workers.
The next day, nearly 150 Sky Chef workers demonstrated for higher wages and benefits in their airline catering kitchen which caters for flights in and out of Logan Airport in Boston. Meanwhile, Denver’s airport is one of United Airlines’ largest hubs in the country, and their catering workers are also FED UP. On December 18, dozens joined together alert airline passengers about a measure on May’s municipal ballot that voters get to decide on whether to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour for airport workers. Learn more about the $15 for DIA campaign to raise the minimum wage at Denver’s airport.
Minneapolis’s airline catering workers are also fighting for a $15 per hour minimum wage, especially after their sister city St. Paul just won $15 an hour. Airline catering workers came together for their FED UP action to hold a march at MSP to raise awareness for their campaign.
San Francisco and Honolulu’s travel industry has recently been in the national limelight – for good reason. After a multi-city strike that won major gains for Marriott hotel workers across the country, including thousands in these two cities alone, airline catering workers were energized off the momentum of their sisters’ and brothers’ hard-fought victory when they held a demonstration outside SFO.
And at Honolulu Airport, dozens of United Airlines catering workers donned Christmas hats and sang Christmas carols, letting everyone know that we’re FED UP with lousy wages and substandard healthcare.
As the Bay Area bellowed for better healthcare from United Airlines, their demands were echoed by their sisters and brothers in south beach, where airline catering workers made their presence known at another major American Airlines hub at Miami International Airport.
Also, in Florida, Orlando’s airline catering workers participated in a joint action with their sisters and brothers from the Teamsters, who also represent workers at the airport there.
In the Washington, D.C. area, Dulles and National airports, held separate actions on December 19 and 20, each focused on sending a message to both United and American Airlines respectively represented at each major hub in the D.C.-area. At DCA (Dulles), airline catering workers were once again joined by their sisters and brothers with the Teamsters as the workers at Orlando’s airport were!
Who says unions can’t organize in the south? Major airport hubs in the Texas cities of Houston (United Airlines) and Dallas (American Airlines) joined in the December month of actions where workers showed up to let the $40 billion-dollar industry that they are FED UP.
In Chicago, airline catering workers rallied to award UNITE HERE Local 1’s 2018 “O’Hare Scrooge of the Year” award to American Airlines and Gate Gourmet.
While working people at Los Angeles’ LAX airport have fought for years to win fair wages, they still struggle to afford healthcare through their employer, often having to find alternative options that leave their livelihoods and family’s health at risk. That’s why airline catering workers are FED UP with paying high healthcare premiums while working for an industry that saw its worldwide profits increase to $40 billion in 2017 – up from $35 billion in 2016.
Even as low-wage food service workers in the New York area have fought for years to win significant gains, too many are unable to afford the rising costs of healthcare – and are still stuck in poverty. But airline food workers are fighting to change this, as airline catering workers at JFK joined in December’s actions to share that they’re FED UP, too!
Earlier this year, over 2,700 United Airlines catering workers in five U.S. cities chose to join UNITE HERE following a nearly year-long organizing campaign – and Newark, N.J. is home to the United Airlines’ largest kitchen. They might be newer to the FED UP movement, but Newark’s airline catering workers joined their sisters and brothers across the country to show they are FED UP and ready to do whatever it takes in 2019.