Joining nationwide protests on one of the busiest travel days in the U.S hundreds demonstrated at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The protests were led by UNITE HERE Local 17-represented airline catering workers who provide inflight food and beverage services for major U.S. airlines, including Delta Airlines. Workers called on Delta to take urgent and necessary steps to ensure that workers who cater its flights are able to escape poverty and access healthcare. 

Photo Credit: Celeste “Plenty of Zest” Robinson

“I serve Delta flights every day at work. Delta makes billions in profit, but I have to work 3 jobs just to pay my bills. I often work over 80 hours per week at my jobs and I barely get to sleep,” said Faisal Abdallah, who has worked in airline catering at MSP for nearly 10 years. “Even with 3 jobs, I have no health insurance. It is a big risk for me. I don’t know what I would do if I got really sick. I am protesting because one job should be enough to pay my bills and be able to afford to see a doctor.”

Today’s protests are the latest in a series of demonstrations airports across the country calling attention to the airlines. In addition to MSP, protests and/or acts of nonviolent civil disobedience took place in 17 cities including major airports in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

This past summer UNITE HERE airline catering workers at MSP voted overwhelmingly to strike when released by the National Mediation Board. Federal mediation of contract negotiations continues.

Workers and supporters called for Delta Airlines to address poverty wages, expensive health care in the airline catering industry. an in-depth survey conducted by UNITE HERE  of 81 out of 488 airline catering workers employed by LSG Sky Chefs at MSP found 47% of respondents were uninsured and another 22% rely on government aid for their healthcare. Of parents with kids under age 26, 55% reported kids on government-funded programs for medical care. Meanwhile, Delta made $3.9 Billion in profit for 2018.

One thought on “Hundreds of airline catering workers and allies protest at MSP

  1. Flew Delta to Detroit on Wednesday before Thanksgiving one of the two busiest flight days of the year. Plane had to have its wings deiced before takeoff. Plane was packed. From the air port workers to the ground crews to the desk agents to the pilots the flight went well Delta has to be making a ton of money on the jammed planes. Without those folks and their work it would be chaos.
    On Sunday flew back fro Detroit: the other of the two busiest days. Again the trip was uneventful thanks to the work of the flight ground and service crews.
    Thanksgiving has to be one of the most profitable times for an airline with so many people flying. Try getting a bargain ticket. There are always folks waiting to get on if someone cancels at the last minute.
    Delta has a long history of anti-unionism. Delta started as crop dusting and short houl air line in the Mississippi Delta: hence its name. It was a beneficiary of government contracts during World War Two and was able to move to Atlanta and eventual giant that it has become.
    The workers that were picketing at the air port are a good part of the future of the union movement

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