Airline Food Workers Protest Lack of Affordable Health Insurance

By Paul Riegler on 29 January 2015
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DSC_0899Airport food workers who prepare in-flight meals demonstrated outside various airline headquarters around the country on Thursday, demanding that the airlines pay its food vendors more so that those companies, in turn, would be able to provide their workers with affordable health insurance.

The “Nickel a Ticket” campaign was organized by Unite Here, a labor union that represents 12,000 airline catering workers at 31 airports.

The union wants the nation’s largest airlines – American, Delta, and United – to add five cents to each ticket issued so they can pass the money through to food catering vendors and ultimately to their members, who are employees of the food vendor, not the airline.

One airline, United, held that the union is misdirecting its efforts, saying that it “does not represent a single United Airlines employee,” adding that “any questions concerning our vendors and their employees should be directed to the vendors.”

The Unite Here union said a 2014 study of nearly 10,000 contracted airline catering workers showed more than 40% make less than $10.10 per hour.  More than 25% of the workers are uninsured, the union said, adding that health care costs for some consume 25% or more of their annual income.

The demonstrators delivered a letter addressed to the CEOs of the airlines, which read in part: “Quality healthcare is just a pie in the sky for us airline food workers … You, ‘the Big Three’ American airlines, can take the lead in changing this situation … No one wins when we, the tens of thousands of workers who cater your aircraft, come to work sick.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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