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Airline food workers vote by 99.7% to strike

The following is from UNITE HERE Local 8:

SEATAC (June 13, 2019) — Airline food workers who prepare, pack, and deliver food and beverages served onboard Alaska, American, United, and other airlines on flights departing from Sea-Tac International Airport voted by a 99.7 percent majority on Wednesday to strike when released by the National Mediation Board. The strike vote at Sea-Tac was part of the largest such vote ever to occur in the U.S. airline catering industry, with thousands of workers voting in 21 cities.

“I voted ‘yes’ because I need a raise,” said Teraza Kuol Arop. “I have to move from apartment to apartment because the rent goes up and I can’t afford it. I want my daughter to go to college one day. There’s no difference between us and the other workers at Sea-Tac Airport. The food we make goes to feed the airline passengers. So why are we paid differently?”

Negotiations are ongoing but have failed to secure offers to improve wages and health care benefits for airline catering workers in the Seattle region and elsewhere. Meanwhile, the three largest airlines in the country, American, Delta, and United, earned $50 billion in combined profits over the past five years alone.

“That workers voted 99.7% today to strike when released should send a strong message to Alaska Airlines, American, United, and other Sea-Tac carriers,” said UNITE HERE Local 8 President Erik Van Rossum. “While the SeaTac living wage lifted up other airport workers, airline catering workers have been left behind, and nearly three quarters of LSG Sky Chefs employees in SeaTac still make less than $15 per hour. Meanwhile, Alaska Airlines made $430 million in profit in 2018. This has reached a crisis level—airline catering workers in SeaTac need meaningful changes, and they need them right now.”

The workers are members of UNITE HERE Local 8 and employed by LSG Sky Chefs, the largest airline catering subcontractor in the U.S. Workers at Gate Gourmet will vote to strike if released on Friday. SeaTac airline food workers from both companies will participate in their first public informational picket line post-vote on Wednesday, June 19 at Sea-Tac Airport. They will not stop work until authorized by the government.

For a list of participating cities and vote status information visit

UNITE HERE Local 8 is the hospitality workers’ union and represents over 5,000 members working in the hotel, food service, and airport industries in Washington and Oregon, including 900 airline food workers at SeaTac Airport.  Learn more at

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