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Airline Food Workers Threaten Strike



Well, this could cause some agita among fliers.

Just as the summer travel season is about to kick off in earnest, some 11,000 workers in 21 cities who prepare airline food airline-food-workers-strike-vote-could-make-summer-travel-more-miserable/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>are threatening to strike.

The workers, who prepare food for American, Delta and United Airlines, respectively, are seeking higher wages and lower healthcare costs.

Members of Unite Here, a hospitality industry union that represents a majority of airline food workers, will vote this week and next on whether to authorize a strike.

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One of those 21 cities is Boston, where food employees at Logan International Airport have already voted unanimously – 345 yes votes – in favor of striking. The employees work for LSG Sky Chefs; other employees around the country also work for Gate Gourmet, another airline food caterer.

The Boston-based workers are also planning a ‘day of action’ on July 3, which often includes walking a picket line.

A vote to strike doesn’t mean a walkout is imminent; rather, the union still has to appeal to the federal National Mediation Board to get permission to strike.

The union says the average pay for its workers is $12 an hour; they are seeking an increase to at least $15 per hour. Unite Here represents more than a quarter-million hospitality workers across several industries. Last year, the union organized strikes by Marriott Hotel Corp. workers that led to increased pay and better benefits.

“We’re in negotiations, we’re following the law, but we want to have the right to collective action, just like we did with the Marriott last fall,” said D. Taylor, Unite Here’s international president.

Whether a food workers’ strike would be impactful remains to be seen. Many airlines have already scaled back on serving meals on shorter flights, leading many passengers to purchase food in the terminal to carry on flights.

However, disruption could come elsewhere – airline catering companies are also responsible for restocking beverage carts and providing the cabins with amenities such as headsets.

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Emirates Announces Firing Employees Amid the Pandemic



Emirates Airline, the last holdout among the Gulf region‘s three major East-West carriers in retaining its workforce announced on May 31, 2020, that it had fired an undisclosed number of employees, due to the near-shutdown of global air travel amid COVID-19.

The other two—Abu Dhabi’s Etihad and Doha-based Qatar Airways—had already scaled back in terms of staffing as the virus spread, virtually eliminating passenger demand and causing international borders to slam shut.

While Emirates has been applauded during the pandemic for continuing to run repatriation flights around the globe, as well as delivering cargo and critical supplies, it has been dramatically affected by the halting of international passenger travel, just like the rest of the world’s airlines.

In a statement, the company said, “We have endeavored to sustain the current family as is…but have come to the conclusion that we, unfortunately, have to say goodbye to a few of the wonderful people that worked with us.”

Without revealing any particulars of the mass firing, Emirates assured that those being axed from its workforce would be treated, “with fairness and respect.”

ABC News reported that to try and balance some of the immense losses the airline continues to suffer, Dubai’s Crown Prince, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, injected an undisclosed amount of equity into its operations back in March.

Although the flag carrier, owned by a Dubai sovereign wealth fund, had already reduced its staff members’ pay during the course of the global health crisis.

Meanwhile, Emirates’ home base, Dubai International Airport—typically the world’s busiest in terms of international passenger traffic—has also been running only a fraction of its normal operations.

Dubai, which has positioned itself as a critical hub for the free movement of people, goods and capital from around the globe (all of which the pandemic has disrupted), now depends heavily upon a resumption of activity at its airport.

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