SAN FRANCISCO — After three days on strike, over 1,000 cooks, servers, dishwashers, baristas, lounge attendants and cashiers at San Francisco’s International Airport won a new contract Sept. 28. They got a $5 an hour wage increase over two years, $3 now and two more by September 2024.
The workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 2, also won their demand to keep their family health plan with no premiums and less than $30 co-pays for most doctor visits.
Given the high cost of housing here, many travel long distances to work. Jonathan Lanaria lives in Concord, about an hour away, and told the Militant he pays $17 a day to take the train. He said many workers hold down two jobs, and some sleep in cars to make it to work.
They were hit with severe layoffs and shortened hours during the pandemic. Then, when the airport opened up for more business, prices for gas and other necessities skyrocketed. After nine months of no progress in negotiations, over 99% voted to strike. The walkout forced most of the 80 plus food and beverage outlets at the airport to close.
The contract with the airport’s consortium of restaurants was voted up by 99.5%. It includes a defined-benefit pension, a policy that protects workers’ jobs when outlets change hands, as well as a one-time $1,500 bonus.