On the Picket Line

Airline catering workers stage nationwide protest

By Edwin Fruit
March 2, 2020

SEATTLE — Nearly 100 airline catering workers and supporters rallied and marched at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Feb. 14 demanding their bosses negotiate a new contract. The workers are part of 20,000 union members at  LSG Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet who prepare and load on airplanes the food served to passengers.

“Major airlines such as American, Delta and United made $7.4 billion in profits last year but won’t share any of this with the catering workers,” Eunice How, an organizer for UNITE HERE  Local 8, which organizes catering workers at the Sea-Tac airport, told the rally. “We have been in contract negotiations for over one and two years at LSG Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet, but haven’t made any satisfactory progress. Workers make $13.75 an hour, less than the Washington state minimum wage, and most can’t afford health care coverage.”

She said workers were demonstrating at 16 airports around the country, including at JFK in New York, San Francisco, Detroit, Honolulu and here in Seattle.

Workers voted to authorize a strike in June, but are considered “essential” under the anti-labor Railway Labor Act that makes their striking illegal unless they get authorization from the National Mediation Board.