29 airline catering workers serving American Airlines take arrest at JFK Airport

For Immediate Release: February 14, 2020

Alyssia Osorio [email protected] (917) 769-8984

Yimelka Morales [email protected] (917)561-7504


Protests were part of national day of action calling on airlines to take action to end poverty and unaffordable health care in the airline catering industry


New York, NY— 29 were arrested while hundreds allies at JFK Airport in the latest in on ongoing labor dispute around wages and health care in the airline catering industry. Protests were led by UNITE HERE Local 100-represented airline catering workers who provide inflight food and beverage services for American Airlines and other U.S. airlines. Workers escalated their call on American to take urgent and necessary steps to help end poverty and unaffordable healthcare in the industry. The protest was part of nationwide demonstrations of airline catering workers at airports all over the country.


Airline catering workers prepare, pack, and deliver food and beverages served aboard flights for American Airlines and other major U.S. airlines. Though their work is essential to airline operations at JFK, only 26% of workers at LSG Sky Chefs (the subcontractor that employs the workers who cater for American Airlines flights) at JFK had company healthcare in 2018, and only 5% covered any dependents. Meanwhile, American reported a 2019 annual net income of $1.7 billion.

“I stand with UNITE HERE Local 100 airline catering workers as they demand fair wages and affordable healthcare from a multi-billion-dollar industry. Workers have protested, gotten arrested in civil disobediences, they even went as far as fasting for 6 days at Miami Airport,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. ”It is time for the airlines to hear their call, that one job should be enough to have a decent living. I will continue working alongside my colleagues and advocates to ensure that airline catering workers receive the rights they deserve.”


American Airlines recently reached a $4.2 billion agreement with its well-deserving ground and maintenance workers in TWU-IAM. Yet, American still hasn’t addressed the concerns of all workers who make its operations possible—including the catering workers who continue to be left behind.


“Even though it’s a holiday, I’m protesting today. We’re at JFK and at airports across the country because we want as many passengers as possible to know that airline catering workers are sick and tired of being the lowest-paid and worst-treated workers in the airline industry,” said Nadia Small from New York. One job should be enough to live a decent life, it’s what me and my co-workers deserve.”