As the City of Los Angeles moves to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, it is also cracking down on one company that it says has failed to comply with an existing city living wage. In a letter to Flying Food Group CEO David Cotton, the City advises that 271 employees at the company’s Imperial Highway kitchen have not been paid in accordance to the LA Living Wage Ordinance, dating from May 1, 2010 to the present. As reported in the LA Times,
The letter ordered the back wages paid within ten days of the company receiving the letter and threatened to end all contracts with the city and ban the company from holding a city lease or license for up to three years if the company did not comply. (“Airline food company ordered to pay living wages to employees,” LA Times, May 26, 2015)
According to a survey of Flying Food Group workers conducted by UNITE HERE over the past year, the median wage of respondents is just $10.04 per hour – nearly $6.00 per hour below the $15.84 per hour required under the LWO for workers without company-provided benefits.
Flying Food Group workers at LAX prepare, pack and deliver thousands of meals daily for passengers of major airlines including Air France-KLM, China Airlines, Etihad, Virgin Australia, Japan Air, and others. In recent months, they have actively called on the company to pay them the living wage, rallying at the airport and giving testimony in front of Airport Board of Commissioners.
Earlier this year, nine workers filed a class action lawsuit against the company, alleging that, in refusing to pay the living wage, it had “engaged in widespread and flagrant violations” of the municipal law.