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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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