Airline catering workers extend to day 4 of strike action

Striking workers of Flying Food Group hold protest.
Photo Credit: Unite Here 11

Employees of Flying Food Group Inc. (FFG), a company that provides in-flight meals for many prominent international airlines at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), have now extended to day four of an unfair labor practice strike.

On March 15, employees voted 99% in favor of authorizing a strike in protest of FFG’s unfair labor practices and its contract offer. The strike action began on Monday this week, with employees now having filed nine pending charges.

The charges also include allegations that the company surveilled union activities and locked multiple emergency exit doors on a day that workers planned a picket line protest.

Workers have also alleged in pending complaints with the California Civil Rights Department that FFG has not taken effective action to protect female employees from sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination.  

The move comes on the heels of similar actions by teachers and other service workers across the region fighting for better working conditions and against unfair labor practices.

Following day four of the protest, cooks, porters and drivers say they plan to continue to hold picket lines day and night. 

Wages and benefits

Workers are striking to protest alleged unfair labor practices that FFG has committed in response to the workers’ campaign for a fair contract with decent wages and benefits.

Employees have now filed nine pending charges accordingly. Their primary contract demand is a significant raise to keep pace with the soaring cost of living in Los Angeles.

Many employees, the overwhelming majority of whom are people of color, earn only $18.04 an hour. 

Strikers, union representatives and City Council members held a press conference this week outside Los Angeles City Hall, advocating a wage increase to $25 an hour for tourism workers.

“Many of my co-workers only earn 18.04 an hour,” FFG cook Gary Duplessis said. “Having a Tourism Workers Living Wage of $25 would help us afford a better life for our families.”

Photo & Video Credits: Unite Here 11

“It would mean we do not have to live paycheck to paycheck. We would be able to afford reliable transportation to and from work and pay our utility bills in full instead of little by little.”

On Tuesday, strikers and union representatives testified before a session of the Board of Airport Commissioners at Los Angeles World Airports, where they described their growing list of grievances against their employer.

“My coworkers have filed complaints alleging that Flying Food Group has violated LA’s Living Wage Ordinance and is underpaying hundreds of workers,” said FFG packer Glenda Miranda.

“We have also filed a complaint alleging that some temporary workers at the facility earn less than the airport minimum wage.” 

“We are tired of the disrespect, poverty wages and the excess workload,” she added. “The company only sees me as a number but I’m much more than that.”

About Flying Food Group (FFG)

FFG employs more than 350 workers at LAX who prepare and transport in-flight meals to the airplanes of more than a dozen major airlines.

Airlines supported by FFG include Singapore Airlines, Air France and Lufthansa–and, beginning in April, the luxury Taiwanese airline Starlux. Last year, Flying Food Group earned $46 million in revenue.

Airline catering workers’ collective bargaining agreement with FFG expired last June, and a six-month extension produced little progress during negotiations.

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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