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Fast Food Workers at SFO Just Went on Strike

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Police talk with protesters at SFO during an earlier action. Photo: courtesy of Unite Here Local 2

About 1,000 fast food workers are on strike Monday morning at San Francisco International Airport, according to the union representing the workers.

The workers, represented by Unite Here Local 2, started striking at 3:30 a.m.

Workers want a substantial pay raise and fully funded healthcare because their current pay forces them to work more than one job.

Workers are saying they haven’t had a raise in three years.

Airport officials posted on Twitter Monday morning that some restaurants and lounges may be affected by the strike.

Here is the official press release from Unite Here Local 2:


Travelers Should Plan to Bring Their Own Food, Workers Say

San Francisco, Calif. – Fast-food workers at San Francisco International Airport are on strike.

The strike includes a thousand workers at restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and lounges at SFO. The majority make $17.05 per hour and have not seen a raise in three years. Travelers should plan to bring their own food, as workers are on strike at virtually every food and beverage outlet within the airport. They are members of the hospitality workers’ union UNITE HERE Local 2.

“I have to work two jobs to support my family and meet our needs, and it means I barely get to see my kids and grandkids,” said Vivian Narvarte, who works at both Pie Five Pizza and Ladle & Leaf Restaurant at SFO. “My pay for a whole hour of work is less than the price of just one meal. That is so unfair. I’m on strike because I want to quit my second job and have more time with my family.”

Workers have compared their wages to the price of popular menu items in viral social media videos viewed over 500,000 times, emphasizing that hourly pay is often less than the price of a single meal at SFO. They are calling on travelers to boycott the airport’s food and beverage outlets.

“Nobody can pay their bills or feed their kids on $17 an hour,” said Anand Singh, President of UNITE HERE Local 2. “Working at SFO used to mean you had a good job, but most of the airport’s fast-food workers haven’t seen a raise in three years. The hamburger or burrito an airport worker serves often costs more than what she makes in an entire hour. Nine months of negotiations got us nowhere, and SFO’s food service workers are tired of working two or even three jobs just to survive.”

The open-ended strike includes cashiers, baristas, cooks, dishwashers, bartenders, servers, and lounge attendants with 30 different employers at 84 food and beverage outlets throughout the airport. The employers are bargaining as a collective.

Airport food service workers voted by 99.7 percent to authorize the strike through a vote held in August. Marriott hotel workers with the same union won raises and better health care after a two-month strike in 2018.


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