For immediate release
September 27, 2017
Workers Call on Airlines, Amid Record Profits of $35 Billion, to Improve Wages in Airline Kitchens
LONG BEACH, CA — Workers from airline food kitchens in several cities rallied with their supporters Tuesday near the International Flight Services Association’s Annual Conference and Expo. The event was part of the ongoing national “Fed Up” campaign that has workers in airline kitchens saying they are Fed Up with poverty wages.
During IFSA, nearly a thousand executives from the airline and inflight catering industries gather in ornate ballrooms and boycotted hotels to celebrate and show off their newest gadgetry and fancy meals (whose costs they will undoubtedly pass on to passengers as part of the $1.7 billion+ that they earned from passenger fees paid for food and beverages). Meanwhile, the 15,000 airline catering workers whose work in kitchens and on airport tarmacs across the country has made this success possible have nothing to celebrate. Many are making poverty wages – below the minimum wage in several cities.
“I’ve been working at Sky Chefs at LAX for over 20 years, but I’m still making barely over $12 an hour,” said Margarita Hernandez. “Even though I live alone, I barely earn enough to cover basics like rent, food and bills. My co-workers and I work so hard to make the airline industry’s profits possible… we deserve to be paid fairly.”
LSG Sky Chefs, the largest provider of airline meals in the United States, is allegedly violating state and local wage laws in cities including Los Angeles, Miami and Seattle, with total lost wages estimated at $12 million since 2014.
In Long Beach, 150 workers rallied and performed street theatre poking fun at the “IFSA Compass Awards” by naming their own “Moral Compass Awards”. Airlines received awards such as “Worst Customer Service” and “Price Gouger”. They ended the street theatre handing out awards to themselves for hard work, and “sticking it to the airlines” maintaining an active role in their workplaces.
“I’m rallying today because the IFSA Conference gives awards to the companies for ‘Best Inflight Food’, yet they couldn’t do it without all of our hard work and sacrifice.” said Amparo Ramirez employee at LSG Sky Chefs. “How can you give an award to upper management when we’re doing all of the hard work in the kitchen, like cold food workers and the cooks? With $35 billion dollars in profits, it’s time for the airlines to give workers a fair share. We are fed up!”
For more information about UNITE HERE’s airline catering campaign, please visit fedupinflight.org
UNITE HERE is a union with over 270,000 members in the U.S. and Canada. It represents over 15,000 airline catering workers, employees of Gate Gourmet, Flying Food Group and LSG Sky Chefs, at 51 airports across the country.