FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, October 11, 2023
Labor union’s new report finds cost-of-living emergency for Sky Chefs workers at MIA.
MIAMI, FL—On Wednesday, October 11th hundreds of Miami International Airport (MIA) airline catering workers marched outside their workplace at LSG Sky Chefs for higher wages, saying they can’t keep up with Miami’s expensive cost of living. This report shows key data to the economic crisis workers are facing. Last week, the County living wage for thousands of covered airport workers increased to $20.34 – but for Sky Chefs, the minimum is just $14.00. Airline catering workers prepare, pack, and deliver food and beverages served aboard flights for American Airlines and other major U.S. airlines. Two-thirds of the food and drink on board flights departing from MIA are prepared by airline catering workers at Sky Chefs. Though their work is essential to airline operations, the median wage for a worker at the catering contractor LSG Sky Chefs is $16 per hour. Workers are calling for an immediate raise to $20 per hour.
Maria Sanchez, food plater at Sky Chefs at the Miami International Airport spoke at the march saying: “In 2001, I came to Miami from Cuba. I was a single mom with a dream to have a good job so I could pay my bills and buy a house. I believed, like most immigrants, that if you worked hard enough you could make a good life here. At Sky Chefs, that is not true. I work 40 hours a week and can’t pay all my bills. My American Dream never happened. I can’t buy a house or live making $16.10. Last year alone, my rent went up $900! Now, I pay, $2,700 a month. My expenses cost more than what I’m making.”
As strikes break out across the country, the airline catering workers’ union UNITE HERE Local 355 says that these workers are putting a face to what the fight looks like in Miami-Dade. Sky Chefs workers voted by 99% to authorize a strike at any time. While hospitality workers are going through economic crisis, they marched to call attention to the crisis. Their union says that airline catering workers are often invisible to travelers, but flights cannot depart on time without them.
UNITE HERE Local 355 is the hospitality workers’ union in South Florida, representing 6,000 workers in hotels, airports, restaurant, stadiums, and casinos.