LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Amid the holiday travel crunch, unionized airline caterers plan to stage another demonstration at Los Angeles International Airport today to highlight their demand for higher wages and expanded benefits, potentially causing additional delays for travelers.
The caterers’ union, UNITE HERE Local 11, staged a similar protest at LAX two days before Thanksgiving, resulting in 16 arrests for alleged failure to disperse.
The caterers work for LSG Sky Chefs and its subsidiary, Gate Gourmet, which contracts with American Airlines and other carriers. According to the union, one in four workers with LSG Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet earn less than $12 per hour, including people who have worked for the companies for more than a decade. The union also contends that 33% of workers at LSG Sky Chefs at LAX had company healthcare in 2018, and 10% of that insurance covered dependents.
Calls to LSG were not immediately returned, but the company issued a statement in November saying, “Our negotiating team and a federal mediator have been working since May 2019 to negotiate in good faith with the union representing our employees. While this is a short period of time to negotiate a complex labor agreement, we feel progress is being made with the help of the federal mediator. We remain committed to negotiating in good faith.”
American Airlines also provided a statement at the time, saying the carrier is “confident” in the negotiations, but it ultimately has no control over the labor talks.
Airport officials said travelers heading to LAX should allow extra time Friday to reach the Central Terminal Area. The demonstration is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.
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