Airline Catering Workers Plan Thanksgiving Protest

Thousands of airline catering workers and their supporters, hoping to draw attention to their plight, have planned a series of demonstrations on a day when attention will be at its highest.

a bowl of food on a tray: Airline Food

The group plans protests at 20 US airports on Tuesday, Nov. 26, at the height of the Thanksgiving travel week, which are historically the busiest travel days of any time of the year.

The Unite Here union is looking to draw as many eyeballs as it can to claims that airline catering workers are among the worst-paid and worst-treated employees in the aviation industry.

“Our goal is not to disrupt airport operations or obstruct passengers, but reach as many people as possible with our message,” a Unite Here spokeswoman said. “We can reach more passengers when it is busy than when it’s slow. Our message is that we want to escape poverty.”

Airline catering workers prepare, pack and deliver meals, snacks and beverages that are served inflight. The union says their wages are low but have particularly centered their ire on American Airlines, saying that “wages in kitchens at American Airlines hubs are the lowest in the country. Additionally, a greater percentage of workers in kitchens serving American Airlines at its hub airports are uninsured, have uninsured children and rely on government-funded programs (more) than the percentage of other catering workers,” according to its own survey.

Protests will take place at major airports in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, Dallas and Philadelphia, among others.

Previous large-scale demonstrations calling attention to American Airlines have already taken place this year in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Dallas-Ft. Worth—where more than 50 people were arrested in a civil disobedience near American Airlines’ headquarters and largest hub airport.

Related video: One single word made airline passengers pay more for a ticket [via Buzz60]

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