For immediate release
October 7, 2022
Amid travel turmoil and growing labor activity at nation’s airports, Sodexo workers at Lufthansa lounge call attention to growing crisis for food service workers
Newark, NJ—A picket line was put up in front of Terminal B at Newark Liberty International Airport Friday on behalf of Sodexo workers at the Lufthansa Lounge who are demanding a new union contract with higher wages. This week Sodexo lounge workers at airports in DC and Boston also held actions at the same time as there have been an uptick of actions by pilots, flight attendants, and other airport workers to improve conditions for themselves.
Along with the picket line, Sodexo workers at the Lufthansa lounge leafleted travelers to alert them about the ongoing labor dispute. Workers picketed holding signs that read “Sodexo workers need a raise.” Sodexo is a provider of food service operations at major airports and operates over 100 lounges globally.
According to an NJ Advance Media analysis of federal flight data Newark ranked worst among major U.S airports for flight delays in the first six months of 2022, with more than 1 in 3 flights arriving or departing late. In addition to impacting travelers, delays mean airport lounge workers often deal with more customers who stay in lounges for longer as they wait to board.
“I’ve been working in the Lufthansa lounge for a year. When flights are delayed it gathers up more people in the lounge for hours. One time I didn’t clock out until damn near 1 AM. I take the bus and some buses stop after midnight; how are we supposed to get home? I don’t have enough money to Uber. All the pain and pressure we go through – we deserve more,” said Lamar Roper, a dishwasher at the Lufthansa lounge operated by Sodexo.
“Sodexo lounge workers at Newark are proud of the work they do serving frequent travelers in the respite of the lounge. Neither the Sodexo workers nor the traveling public expected to see a picket line go up at Newark airport and we hope this will be the last action we’ll have to take to ensure Sodexo workers are able to secure a new union contract that will allow them to provide for their families,” said UNITE HERE Local 100 President Jose Maldonado.
Last week 1,000 UNITE HERE Local 2 food workers at San Francisco Airport went on strike, shutting down most of SFO’s food and beverage outlets. They won a new contract with $5/hour raises, free family health care, union pension, $1500 bonus, and more.
UNITE HERE Local 100 represents over 17,000 service workers in cafeterias, restaurants, bars, delis, airports, and sports and exhibition arenas throughout New York City, Long Island and Northern New Jersey – including almost 500 at Sodexo, the contractor that employs airport lounge workers at Newark Liberty International Airport.