USA: LSG Sky Chefs catering workers target American Airlines in strikes over poor wages; incl. co. comments

In July 2019, LSG Sky Chefs catering workers in Fort Worth, Texas,voted to strike over poor wages and high health insurance costs against American Airline, LSG's biggest customer. While the airline denied it held a say in negotiations between LSG and the workers, as they state they are not in control of wages, workers insist the airline is responsible for making sure the workers who serve their customers are sufficiently compensated.

In August 2019, workers picketed outside the American Airline campus in Fort Worth, blocking a street into the campus. This was done with the intention of protesters getting arrested. Sixty workers were arrested. 

“Our goal is to escape poverty, not to disrupt travel,” said Winston, vice president of Unite Here, “Workers are living in poverty while this airline is making millions.”

Comments from LSG Chefs and American Airlines can be found in the articles below.

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Article
22 August 2019

USA: LSG Chefs workers picket American Airlines campus demanding higher wages and job benefits to 'escape poverty'

Author: Mitch Mitchell, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"Food service workers picketing American Airlines headquarters say they live in poverty", 13 August 2019

About 300 union workers picketed on the edges of the American Airlines campus on Tuesday, demanding higher wages and job benefits for food service workers. Police said they arrested about 60 of the workers who blocked a street into the campus...in Fort Worth.

...“Our goal is to escape poverty, not to disrupt travel,” said Winston, vice president of Unite Here...

LSG Sky Chefs, the primary employer of the picketing workers...said...“Our company has offered improvements in wages, and is discussing numerous other issues covered by our collective bargaining agreement,...we feel progress is being made with the help of the federal mediator..."

American Airlines said..."...we are confident that LSG Sky Chefs and Unite Here will come to an agreement that increases pay and benefits for LSG's employees and ensures LSG can continue to operate successfully...We understand that a new contract will...increase the costs to LSG Sky Chef's customers, including American..."...

...While the food service workers are not direct employees of the airline, worker representatives say the airline is responsible for making sure the workers who serve their customers are sufficiently compensated...

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Article
5 August 2019

USA: Catering workers plan arrests while protesting for better wages and benefits at American Airlines headquarters

Author: Kyle Arnold, Dallas News

"100 union catering workers are planning to get arrested while protesting American Airlines", 3 August 2019

As many as 100 unionized catering workers plan to get arrested protesting near the...headquarters of American Airlines...in their fight for better wages and benefits...

...While they don't work for American, they say the airline is responsible for their low wages through its contracting...Unite Here union members say they are targeting American with this protest because it is LSG's biggest customer.

American spokesman Joshua Freed said in a statement that the carrier doesn't control wages for catering vendors. "...We would like the catering vendor and the union to reach agreement as soon as possible."...

...Unite Here and LSG Sky Chefs have been negotiating a new contract since October. The union says that wages at Sky Chefs are as low as $9.85 an hour and that more than half the workers make less than $11.35 an hour and can't afford health benefits...

...LSG Sky Chefs, in a statement, said..."Our company has offered improvements in wages and is discussing numerous other issues...This is a short period of time to negotiate a complex labor agreement and we remain committed to negotiating in good faith..."...

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Article
30 July 2019

USA: American Airline workers to strike as company denies role in negotiating subcontracted workers' wages

Author: Julie Change, WAMU

"Airline Food Workers Want To Go On Strike. American Airlines Wants To Stay Out Of It", 24 July 2019

American Airlines has...denied it holds any say in negotiations between an airline catering food subcontractor and its workers. But workers say the airline has more authority over its subcontractors than it claims...

...last month, airline food workers voted to authorize a strike...citing low wages and high health insurance costs...UNITE HERE, a union representing...airline catering workers...called on American Airlines to increase worker wages and provide better health insurance, contending that LSG Sky Chefs is a major subcontractor for the airline...

...[An] American Airlines spokesman...said...“...Our catering vendor is negotiating with the union...American is not involved in these negotiations and does not control wages at its catering vendors.”...

...UNITE HERE’s general vice president Wendi Walsh...said American Airlines is being “disingenuous”..."...they need to take responsibility for these employees and not try to find their way around accountability because these are not direct employees...”

LSG Sky Chefs said...“Our staff has engaged in...negotiations...The stumbling block...is the union’s demands for added wages and benefits...While we have proposed increases in wages as well as other benefits, our company could not possibly meet the union’s demands...We will continue to negotiate....”

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