DALLAS — “Bad insurance, lousy pay. This is how your food is made!” chanted airline food workers outside the airport’s Terminal D here Aug. 1. The workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 23, have been picketing twice a week to build support for an Aug. 13 rally in front of American Airlines corporate headquarters.
American makes billions in profits by contracting with Sky Chefs where workers get low wages and inadequate health coverage. The picketers, some of whom are from the African countries of Cameroon, Liberia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, along with other members and supporters of the union, carried signs saying, “One job should be enough.”
UNITE HERE represents 11,000 Sky Chefs workers across the country whose contracts expire in August. The union has requested it be released from mediation talks, which would give it legal authority to organize strike action after a 30-day cooling off period. Like rail workers, airline workers face draconian anti-working-class legislation under the Railway Labor Act, that wraps the union in bureaucratic red tape designed to restrict workers’ right to strike.