For Immediate Release
February 10, 2020
Protest will form part of national day of action calling on airlines to take action to end poverty and unaffordable health care in the airline catering industry.
WHO: UNITE HERE Local 100 airline catering workers and their supporters
WHAT: Demonstration of workers at U.S. airports in years featuring pickets, marches, sit-ins, and die-ins calling on American Airlines to take calling on American to take urgent and necessary steps to ensure that workers who cater its flights are able to escape poverty and access medical care.
WHERE: JFK Airport – Terminal 8.
WHEN: Friday, February 14 at 3:00 p.m.
WHY: American Airlines reported $1.7 billion in net income in 2019 and returned $1.3 billion to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases in 2019. Yet, subcontracted airline catering workers who provide the food and beverages served aboard American’s flights at JFK Airport and around the country remain stuck in poverty.
Contracted catering workers at JFK Airport prepare the American’s first-class meals and ensure its flights are properly stocked for on-time departures, but 33% rely on government-funded programs for their own medical care, according to a UNITE HERE survey of 123 out of approximately 1200 airline catering workers employed by LSG Sky Chefs at JFK. Of parents with children under age 26, 49% reported kids on government-funded programs for medical care. In a 2019 survey by UNITE HERE of 2,240 out of 15,000 catering workers at the two largest contractors nationally, 56% of respondents reported having gone to work sick, 66% because they could not afford to miss time.
American Airlines recently reached a $4.2 billion agreement with its well-deserving ground and maintenance workers in TWU-IAM. It should address the concerns of all workers who make its operations possible—including the catering workers who continue to be left behind.