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.

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