MIAMI — Nearly 200 members of UNITE HERE Local 355 marched in the rain and rallied outside the LSG Sky Chef catering facility near Miami International Airport to back workers’ demand for an immediate raise to $20 an hour. Union members came from work sites throughout the area.
Union members spoke in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole about fights they’ve waged over the past year that won higher wages.
Airline catering workers here prepare, pack and deliver food and beverages served aboard flights for American Airlines and other major U.S. airlines. Two-thirds of the food and drink on board flights departing from Miami International are prepared by workers at Sky Chef. They are fighting for an immediate raise from $16 an hour.
UNITE HERE Local 355 says the fight they are waging is part of the series of strikes taking place across the country today, from the UAW strike against the Big Three to the battle at International Flavors and Fragrances in Tennessee.
Sky Chef workers voted by 99% to authorize a strike at any time over their demand.
“It’s disgusting that the hospitality industry makes the profits it does and doesn’t pay its workers enough to live on,” Nick Lenzi, a maintenance worker and union shop steward at the St. Regis Hotel, told Rachele Fruit, a member of Local 355 and Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. Senate from Florida. “We’re not the only low-wage industry,” he said, “but we’re in the spotlight because we’re union. The unions are under attack here in the state of Florida and we have to grow our rights and our wages.”