LAX catering workers vote to authorize a strike for higher pay

Employees with Flying Food Group, which provides in-flight meals at Los Angeles International Airport, have voted to authorize a strike as they lobby for higher wages amid rising inflation.

With 99% in favor, the 346 catering workers represented by Unite Here Local 11 voted Wednesday, March 15 to authorize a walkout. They allege one employee has endured sexual harassment on the job and also claim the company locked some of the emergency exits at their Inglewood plant last month as workers were preparing to stage a protest for higher wages.

“When multiple doors were bolted shut on the day of our picket, it felt like the company was treating us like animals and was trying to interfere with our union rights,” said Gary Duplessis, 62, a cook at the facility and a complainant to Cal/OSHA.

Flying Food said Los Angeles County fire officials did a full inspection of the building and found no safety violations.

Most Flying Food workers are people of color, with some earning a base wage of $18.04 an hour. At that rate, someone would have to work 17 hours a day to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles, the union said.

Their collective bargaining agreement with the company expired in June 2022 and employees say little progress has been achieved in subsequent labor negotiations.

The workers haven’t revealed when a strike might occur but say they’re ready to walk off the job if need be.

“I will strike Flying Foods if we do not achieve a good contract for me and my family,” said Norma Reyes, 51, who sets up equipment for the catering company. “I cannot live on these poverty wages and feed my family. This company must change how they treat us.”

In a March 6 complaint filed with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Flying Food employee …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

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