For immediate release
May 5, 2021
Congressional Leaders Weigh in on United Airlines’ Outsourcing Conflict
27 Senators and Representatives call on United to rescind its RFP for the outsourcing of 2,500 airline catering jobs, noting that United received $7.7 Billion in federal aid
WASHINGTON – Today, 27 Members of Congress spoke up on behalf of low-wage, workers of color who work at United Airlines catering kitchens across the country. Senators and Representatives learned that United issued an RFP to outsource more than 2,500 catering jobs in Newark, Cleveland, Denver, Houston and Honolulu under the guise of “efficiency,” even though United Airlines has already received $7.7 billion from the U.S. government in order to keep workers employed, and is able to receive billions more.
The House letter, led by Representatives Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) and Albio Sires (D-NJ), and also signed by Jason Crow (D-CO), Kaialiʻi Kahele (D-HI), Ed Case (D-HI), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Anthony Brown (D-MD), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) states:
“We are strongly opposed to any plan that would outsource thousands of jobs when the industry is already projecting financial recovery. We urge you to adhere to the spirit of the Payroll Support Program, refrain from any job reductions, and publicly state that current United Airlines workers will keep their jobs, pay, benefits, and union representation in your inflight catering operations.”
Read the full House of Representatives letter here
The Senate letter, led by Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Brian Schatz (D-HI), and also signed by Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), states:
“Congress provided support to help the airline industry survive the pandemic. Airline workers deserve a similar level of job security as the economy recovers and travel resumes. Instead, United has announced it plans to outsource inflight catering work, thus far failing to give workers a commitment to maintain their jobs, pay, and benefits. Many of the United Airlines catering workers, who are overwhelmingly people of color, have served the airline for decades. We are also concerned that United’s plans to outsource the catering jobs will jeopardize workers’ continued union representation.”
Read the full Senate letter here
Members of Congress joined a townhall Tuesday with United catering workers who shared why they are fighting despite United’s union busting campaign. Workers talked about how they have worked for United for decades and were outraged to hear news of potential layoffs while United disclosed millions in bonuses for top executives if they stay with the company for three years or until federal restrictions expire.
The seven U.S. Senators also sent a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen requesting that the Secretary use her “discretionary authority to encourage airlines to end any ongoing efforts that could result in the outsourcing of jobs, rescind executive bonuses, and call on United Airlines to refrain from engaging in these activities for the duration of the PSP.” Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) sent a similar request last month.
- Read the Senate letter to Secretary Yellen here
- Read the letter from Congresswoman Garcia and Holmes Norton to Secretary Yellen here
UNITE HERE has over 300,000 members working in the North American hospitality industry, including 45,000 employees in the airport concessions and airline catering industries at over 75 airports in the U.S. and Canada.