SAN FRANCISCO — Airport workers who are members of United Service Workers West, part of the Service Employees International Union, joined forces here July 3 with LSG Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet catering workers — members of UNITE HERE Local 2 — demanding, “One job should be enough!” About 3,000 SEIU members work at the airport, including baggage screeners and handlers, passenger service agents and janitors.
UNITE HERE Local 2 members are part of a national contract fight with the two airline catering giants, involving 25,000 members of their union along with Teamsters and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
American Airlines and Southwest are shifting some union customer service jobs over to nonunion contractors. SEIU members handed fliers to departing passengers explaining that the airlines’ moves have left “workers with inadequate healthcare and harder workloads, and sometimes even with a boss that commits wage theft.”
Picketing also took place in New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and other cities. Unionists at Los Angeles airport walked through the Southwest terminal carrying heart-shaped signs mocking Southwest’s logo, asking “Where’s the LUV?”
Workers at the San Francisco airport picketed, chanted and marched to Terminal 1 for a spirited rally. The airlines and contracting companies “make billions of dollars off our hard work,” Romeo Mendoza, a passenger service worker, told the rally.
Mary Ann Bueno works in the dish room at Gate Gourmet. “I don’t make enough money as a single mother. Rent, medical costs and what about retirement?” she told the Militant.
Bueno said that some years ago she worked a nonunion job while her mother worked at a Hilton hotel and was an active member of Local 2. “I used to tell my mom, ‘You’re just wasting your time,’” she said. “Now that I’m with the union my mom is so proud of me. I say, ‘Don’t stop until you win!’”