HMS Host workers at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) overwhelmingly ratified a new contract Monday by a vote of 99%. The new contract, which covers over 800 workers, preserves free family healthcare and gives significant wage increases to all bargaining unit members, setting a new standard for concessions workers at LAX.
The worker negotiating committee made up of members of UNITE HERE Local 11 reached tentative agreement at midnight last Thursday after two days of round-the-clock bargaining culminating negotiations which began in October 2009. The final round followed a tense couple of weeks during which workers had buttoned up throughout the airport and held large worker delegations to management in multiple terminals.
"I feel very proud of what we have accomplished," said 18-year Host Lead Keila Cabrera. "It was difficult to explain to my family where I’ve been for the past two nights, but all the time and organizing work we all put into this is an investment in the next three years of our lives. With this great contract we can see that it was worth it!"
Host employees won wage increases of up to $1.65 per hour over the life of the three-year agreement on top of substantial increases to the health and welfare fund, pension fund and the union’s training fund. Workers also won an additional 7 months of medical leave time, an additional 6 months recall time, improved vacation selection language, and language insuring that the company will provide the appropriate safety mats and free shoes.
In addition to across-the-board increases, tipped workers won that the company will now recommend in writing a 15% gratuity in their fine dining venues, a policy which tipped workers expect will increase their income with foreign travelers. "This was the icing on the cake for tipped workers," said Debra Lewis, a 26-year server and Shop Steward. "Nobody thought we could ever win this but we organized, stayed strong and we did it!"