On April 7, over 300 South Florida workers and community supporters convened for the largest rally to ever take place on Miami International Airport property. With the rally situated directly outside Concourse E at the center of the airport, workers and supporters were met with hundreds of friendly honks, waves and thumbs-up from passengers making their way to the terminal. The event was conducted as part of a national effort to bring to light worksite conditions and the workers’ efforts to bargain a meaningful contract for thousands who work in catering and food service for industry giants like LSG Sky Chefs, Gate Gourmet and the Delaware North Companies.
Though negotiations have been under way since last year, workers at the rally were angry about what they perceive as the company’s disrespect. Cruz Pena has worked at Sky Chefs-MIA since the 1980’s. Despite being a loyal worker, she has seen her wages and benefits go down. "I have come in day in, day out to do the best job I can for Sky Chefs. I agreed to cut my wages and benefits to keep the company moving when they asked. Unfortunately, they still haven’t put an offer on the table that shows they recognize the sacrifice we made for them," said Pena.
At the rally, catering and food service workers were joined by AFGE workers seeking to organize TSA jobs at the airport. Community supporters ranged from Interfaith Worker Justice to groups like the Jobs With Justice and the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Coalition. Fred Frost, the President of the South Florida AFL-CIO, also joined in the rally with supporters from a variety of airport unions. Television crews from three local news stations and a professional photographer from Getty Images documented the event, noting the tremendous size of the event. Feeling momentum from this historic event, workers see hope as the fight continues."At the end of the day, we wanted to do this rally to provide the South Florida travelers and visitors with information about our worksites and why we deserve fair wages, affordable health insurance, and safe jobs," said Winston Garvey, a worker and Shop Steward at Sky Chefs Miami. "We think we got our message across to the public, now we take it to the companies," added Garvey.