SFO and LAX airport workers to protest a day prior to Thanksgiving

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Hundreds of workers from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) will go on a scheduled protest on November 24, 2021 in order to highlight demands for affordable and better health care benefits, according to union officials.

In a press statement, labor union Unite Here says that the protest claims from SFO include workers being denied affordable family health care in the face of increased risk of COVID-19 due to exposure to holiday travelers, and the union keeping workers on part-time status means they cannot qualify for health care coverage.

The SFO workers strike is scheduled from 10:00 AM to 15:00 PM  at the airport’s Terminal 3 on what is typically one of the busiest travel days of the year and will include about 200 workers, some non-union and some members of the Unite Here Local 2 union, who are cashiers and food service employees in airport terminals as well as those who prepare food and drinks served on planes.

“Airport employers are cheating their employees out of health care that workers need more than ever,” said Anand Singh, president of Unite Here Local 2 in a statement. 

“These greedy companies will stop at nothing just to pad their profits — even union-busting to avoid giving workers family health care. With COVID on the upswing, airport workers are going to fight back to get the health care they deserve.”

SFO spokesman Doug Yakel told local media that the airport has issued a permit to the union for free speech activity to ensure that passengers can continue to move through the airport without being impeded.

Meanwhile, at LAX, airport food workers will stage a day-long protest on November 24, 2021 at Terminal 4 departures area of the airport. 

According to Unite Here Local 11’s press statement, airport workers plan to demonstrate all day to express frustration that American highway and airport food company HMSHost has dragged out its labor dispute with workers at LAX, resulting in hundreds of long-term workers going without a raise, except for those required by the airport minimum wage, for more than three years. 

In Phoenix, Arizona, union airport concessions workers at Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport (PHX) have been on strike since November 22, 2021. Unite Here Local 11 Phoenix strikers demand a new, comprehensive contract with fair raises, affordable health insurance, a company-paid retirement contribution, protections for workers’ tips, and strong contract language for equal opportunity and protection from discrimination. 

HMS Host is the largest airport concessions company in North America and at LAX, where the company operates numerous restaurants, all on-airport Starbucks locations, and American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) lounges in Terminal 4 and Terminal 5.

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