For immediate release
December 15, 2010
UNITE HERE signs first union contract for hospitality workers at Indianapolis airport
Indianapolis, IN – A group of food service workers at the Indianapolis airport represented by UNITE HERE, the union for travel hospitality workers, has ratified a union contract with SSP America, a food service provider. The union contract is the first of its kind for hospitality workers at the Indianapolis International Airport (IND).
The agreement highlights a harmonious path for employers and workers in the travel hospitality industry to achieve higher job standards, while maintaining top notch restaurant services for passengers. From the outset, SSP America guaranteed that their operations would have labor harmony, making them the clear leader at IND restaurants and retail operations. UNITE HERE and SSP America were able to settle a first contract without any disruption in service, resulting in a smooth and successful transition for the new concessions operation at the Indianapolis International Airport.
The contract settlement also represents a boon for workers in the Indianapolis hospitality industry, becoming the first of its kind in the region’s airport and hotel industry. Many hospitality workers in Indianapolis live in poverty, despite heavy public and private investment in the regional convention and hospitality infrastructure. Area hospitality workers first began organizing in 2007, calling for employer neutrality at a number of downtown hotel properties. Airport food companies SSP America and AREAS have led the industry regionally, becoming the first hospitality employers to guarantee labor harmony.
"This is a big victory for airport workers and for all hospitality workers in Indianapolis," says Andrea Farries, who works as a prep cook at the airport. "Like anyone, I just want a better future for myself, and I’m glad that we were able to work together to allow this day to come."
Terms of the new agreement include better wages for food service workers and greater job security. UNITE HERE is currently in negotiations with an additional airport food service operator, AREAS.
UNITE HERE represents more than 250,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada who work in the hospitality, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, and airport industries. The union represents 25,000 airport workers in 66 of the busiest airports across the U.S. and Canada.