For immediate release
June 8, 2017
Largest Airline Food Contractor Alleged to Violate Wage Laws in 5 Cities, Lost Wages Could Total Over $12 Million
New wage theft claims filed against LSG Sky Chefs in Denver and San Diego, ongoing disputes with local authorities in Seattle, Miami and San Francisco
State and local minimum wages are on the rise as a result of voter-approved referendums and local living wage policies. But at a time of record profit in the airline industry, the largest provider of airline meals in the United States, LSG Sky Chefs, is allegedly violating state and local wage laws in 5 cities with total lost wages estimated at over $12 million since 2014.
- On June 7, wage and hour complaints were filed by LSG Sky Chefs airline catering employees at Denver International Airport and San Diego International Airport.
- In January, the City of Seattle ordered LSG Sky Chefs to pay $335,033 in lost wages, interest, damages and fines. The company has appealed the order.
- At Miami International Airport, LSG Sky Chefs has not been complying with the county’s Living Wage Ordinance since 2006. Employees earning less than the living wage rate have lost out on an estimated $12.5 million since 2014.
- In San Francisco, the airport is investigating allegations that LSG Sky Chefs failed to bring 136 employees to the required airport minimum wage, which rose to $14.14 in January.
“I am owed a total of $3,371.96 in back wages, damages and interest from Sky Chefs because they did not pay me the minimum wage,” said Catherine Penera, an LSG Sky Chefs employee in Seattle. “For me and my partner combined, the City’s Order says we are owed a total of $8867.98. That’s money that we need to be able to support our family.”
LSG Sky Chefs is the caterer for 7 American Airlines hubs, 4 Delta hubs and one United hub — serving over 126 million passengers last year for those three airlines alone. They serve international airlines including Lufthansa, Korean Air, Air New Zealand, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Air France KLM, and Air China, among others.
A new report summarizes LSG Sky Chefs’ alleged wage theft in all 5 cities, based on Freedom of Information Act requests, public investigation records, and historical employee rosters.
Airlines have enjoyed record profits in recent years, and many other employees have seen significant wage increases. In December 2016, Delta’s pilots received a 30% raise over four years, while United’s flight attendants agreed to a contract that raises top pay rates by as much as 31%.
UNITE HERE represents the majority of contracted airline catering workers in the United States. The union represents over 15,000 airline catering workers, employees of Gate Gourmet, Flying Food Group and LSG Sky Chefs, at 51 airports across the country.