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Hospitality workers at Sea-Tac Airport threaten to strike

(AP)

The workers who get food and drinks on airplanes at Sea-Tac Airport will start picketing later today.

The local hospitality union says workers for both Sky Chef and Gate Gourmet had voted nearly unanimously to authorize a strike last week. The workers plan to hold what they call an informational picket starting at 5:30 tonight.

Similar votes have been taking place in 20 other cities across the country. Their goal is to tell passengers about their talks with major airlines that make hundreds of millions, all while they say their workers are living in poverty and can’t afford health care.

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“Neither the catering companies nor the airlines have shown a commitment to the significant economic increases that are necessary to end poverty and unattainable health care in the industry,” union representative Stefan Moritz told KIRO Radio. “Our members are facing poverty now, our members aren’t able to afford the rent now, and aren’t able to afford to send their kids to college now.”

Moritz says a strike would be requested through a mediation board in July. They would go on strike once they get approval from the federal government regarding dispute resolution procedures.

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“We’re going through the mediation process, but Unite Here is planning to request a release from the government to be allowed to go on strike.”

Unite Here represents airline catering workers at SeaTac airport and across the country.

“Planes can’t take off without the food and beverage that catering workers prepare. The Airlines make huge profits, while airline catering workers struggle to survive. That’s unacceptable here in our community” said Erik Van Rossum, President of Unite Here Local 8. “Their work is important, and these workers are serious about making one job enough to live on.”

Correction, 6/21/19: A version of this article incorrectly stated that a strike could begin in August. The strike is not actually on a set timeline, and will begin when the federal government releases the union from dispute resolution procedures.
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