For immediate release
December 11, 2014
(509) 951 - 7128
SFO Holiday Travelers Alerted to Bring their Own Food
(Burlingame, CA)—After working without a contract for more than a year — in a region suffering from some of the worst economic inequality in the country — nearly 1,000 restaurant workers at San Francisco Airport went on strike this morning, shutting down restaurants at terminals throughout the facility. Workers will be on strike for 48 hours, and will return to work on Saturday, December 13.
“We’re on strike because it is so difficult for our families to make ends meet in the Bay Area. When restaurants slash our healthcare, or deny us job security, we just can’t get by,” said Jesse Johnson a bartender at the Buena Vista Café and a member of Local 2’s executive board. “The restaurants at SFO bank huge money from airline passengers. We’re out here fighting for our families.”
The restaurant workers’ union, UNITE HERE Local 2, issued a traveler’s advisory, urging anyone flying from SFO during the coming days to bring their own food to the Airport.
Workers are fighting for an agreement with the restaurants that will allow them to support their families in the high-cost Bay Area. A key dispute is over restaurant owners’ efforts to freeze health care payments — a proposal that would likely result in workers having to pay as much as $4200 per year for coverage. The average restaurant worker at SFO earned just $24,124 last year. Increased payments from restaurant employees would result in hundreds of families losing affordable health coverage in the coming years.
Workers are also striking for job security protections. When concession outlets close, employees are commonly laid off without the opportunity to work jobs that open up elsewhere in the Airport. Meanwhile, restaurant owners have sought special breaks from the City & County of San Francisco to compensate them for the closures, and to extend their lucrative leaseholds. SFO restaurant owners gross nearly $200 million per year, or $9 for every passenger who flies out of the Airport.
The strike affects 55 restaurants represented by the Airport Restaurant Employers Council (AREC), which are owned by 23 different companies:
Buena Vista Café
Cat Cora Cocktail Lounge
Guava & Java
Lark Creek Grill
Legends of San Francisco
Mission Bar and Grill
Napa Farms Market
Peet’s Coffee & Tea
San Francisco Soup Co.
Soup & Salad Works
Plant Café / Pinkberry
Willow Creek Grille
Willow Street Pizza
Striking restaurant workers will hold a press conference at San Francisco International Airport at 11:00 am today at SFO Terminal 3.
UNITE HERE Local 2 is the hotel and restaurant workers union of San Francisco and San Mateo Counties. It represents over 12,000 workers in the region’s hospitality industries.
Visit www.unitehere2.org for more information.