For immediate release
August 23, 2005
(New York) As Gate Gourmet and the Transport and General Workers Union (T&G) enter their final round of negotiations, UNITE HERE announces its unyielding support for its fellow union members across the Atlantic. UNITE HERE and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters have also been negotiating with Gate Gourmet on behalf of over 6,000 members working at the caterer’s U.S. kitchens.
Referring to Gate Gourmet’s abrupt firing of more than 600 T&G members, UNITE HERE President Bruce Raynor said: “We are outraged by such immoral behavior and want to make sure Gate Gourmet knows we will not tolerate such actions in the U.S., the U.K, or anywhere else in the world.” UNITE HERE and the Teamsters recently compelled Gate Gourmet to reinstate health coverage that it had unilaterally revoked, seemingly in retaliation for the U.S. employees’ overwhelming rejection of the company’s contract offer.
Gate Gourmet has been accused of provoking the Heathrow crisis by bringing in 120 secretly trained temporary workers, after laying off 147 union members, outraging its employees so much that they demanded a meeting before going back to work. Gate Gourmet was then able to charge them with unauthorized strike action, grounds for termination. Some believe Gate Gourmet was trying to provoke a similar reaction by its U.S. employees when it unilaterally revoked the health coverage.
In a letter sent today to Gate Gourmet Chairman and CEO David Siegel, President Raynor wrote: “Failure to resolve the matter in the U.K. will certainly cause the unrest to spread across the Atlantic as our members will be forced to take every lawful measure possible to support our fellow union members.”