Main menu


1,000 food workers on strike at San Francisco airport

featured image

CNN business

Workers who serve food and drink to travelers at San Francisco International Airport are on strike, demanding their first pay raise in four years.

1,000 strikers are members of Unite Here Local 2, a Bay Area union with 15,000 members. Airport workers work under multi-employer collective labor contracts covering 30 different employers spread across 84 different locations within the airport.

“Passengers are required to bring their own food and drink coffee before arriving at SFO,” said union president Anand Singh, who has been in negotiations for nine months.

“Nearly all of SFO’s eateries are closed. Workers are fed up with jobs that aren’t enough for them to live, and they are taking as much as they need to earn better wages and affordable health care. We are ready to strike.”

The restaurant’s negotiating team did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

At the most recent session last week, Singh told CNN Business that management’s offer did not meet the union’s demands. He did not specify what percentage increase the union was seeking, but said this was primarily about wages, unlike recent strikes and labor negotiations that have focused on working conditions.

“This is really the end of the day for economics,” he said. “Working at an airport used to be a great job. We have perks packages that you won’t find in many other places. But members have to take a side job at the airport to supplement their income.”

The majority of workers earn $17.05 an hour, just above San Francisco’s minimum wage of $16.99 an hour, according to unions. The minimum wage for work in city-owned facilities has now been increased to $19.15 an hour. However, these members are still under contract for 2018.

According to unions, current wages don’t provide a living wage in the San Francisco Bay Area, and when the last contract was negotiated in 2018, wages were well above the effective minimum wage of $15 an hour. rice field. The contract includes fully paid health insurance. care and the traditional pension system.

Christine Mauricio, barista at both Peet’s Coffee and Black Point Cafe, said: “I have to work two jobs to support my son, which means I am always working so I can hardly be with him. is less than the price of just one serving, which is 100% unfair.”

Strikes are on the rise across the U.S. and across multiple industries so far this year. There were 283 strikes this year, an 82% increase from 155 in the same period in 2021, according to a database maintained by Cornell University’s Department of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Workers are encouraged by a strong labor market with nearly twice as many job openings as unemployed seekers.

Only 1.2% of restaurant and bar employees Workers are union members, compared to 6.1% of workers across businesses, according to 2021 Labor Department data.

Wages in this sector are generally low, with Labor Department data showing average weekly wages nationwide of $607 for non-union workers and $725 for the few workers represented by unions.

The food service sector has a particularly high turnover rate of dissatisfied employees, with employee turnover rates twice as high as the overall company, which has helped other companies to promote union activity. The union effort has garnered votes at more than 200 Starbucks stores nationwide, and last month workers at Chipotle in Lansing, Michigan voted to join Teamster.