For immediate release
September 18, 2018
Vote begins following the Federal Government’s recent dismissal of the airline’s challenge to the workers’ effort to unionize
Beginning Tuesday, about 2,700 workers in United Airlines’ five airline catering kitchens will finally have their opportunity to vote in a union election. The election is scheduled between September 18 and October 23, with voting to take place either online or via telephone.
“Today is an important day in our union—the day that workers in United Airlines’ catering kitchens in Newark, Houston, Denver, Honolulu and Cleveland finally have their opportunity to vote in their union election,” said D. Taylor, President of the UNITE HERE International Union, “This is a moment they have been fighting for and organizing towards since January, and it hasn’t been easy. They have stayed strong in the face of an aggressive anti-union campaign put on by an airline, United, that raked in $2.1 billion in profits in 2017 and yet continues to pay its catering operations workers as little as $9.99 per hour.”
In January, 76% of all eligible employees at United Airlines’ Catering Operations — who remain the only frontline group of United employees without union representation — filed for a union election with the National Mediation Board (NMB). That election was stalled for months while the NMB conducted an unprecedented pre-election investigation at the behest of United Airlines. The results of that investigation revealed that workers who signed cards supporting the union did so without feeling pressured, and that there was no evidence workers did not understand UNITE HERE was a union, and not a representative from United.
The decision whether or not to unionize is now in the hands of the workers themselves.
“The election at United Catering is one of the largest in our union in over a decade. Additionally, with thousands of workers spread across five cities, it’s been a great opportunity for cooperation between locals and a chance to continue building union membership in the South,” said Taylor. “The solidarity that these workers have received from our members, plus the members and leadership of the other United unions and the broader U.S. labor movement, has been unwavering. Together, we look forward to welcoming United’s catering workers into our union family.”