News

Flying out of SFO? Better bring your own food

Many concession stands, restaurants close as nearly 1,000 food workers strike at airport

A plane flies over the San Francisco Bay. Photo by Bill Larkins; obtained via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Nearly a thousand fast food workers went on strike at the San Francisco International Airport on Monday, causing many food establishments and lounges to shutter, said an airport workers' union.

Union members began striking at 3:30 a.m. on Monday in front of the departures level at every terminal, and plan to picket every day until 10:30 p.m. unless their employers agree to provide better pay.

As the strike continues, union members are urging travelers to boycott the airport's food establishments and bring their own coffee and snacks before their flights.

Workers are asking for fully-funded health care and higher wages, as their average pay of $17.05 per hour is not livable, said a union spokesperson from Unite Here Local 2.

The union also went to TikTok to share their demands, featuring airport workers comparing their pay to the cost of food they serve.

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Their most viral video — which has racked in over 500,000 views — features Vivian, who has worked at the airport for a decade, and holds two jobs. She said one pizza and one drink at Pie Five Pizza, where she works, costs $21.46, while her hourly pay is $17.65.

"We deserve fair wages and more contribution to protect our medical insurance and improve our pension," Vivian said in the video. "We are ready to fight!"

Cashiers, baristas, cooks and servers from 20 different employers at 84 food outlets say they haven't had a raise in three years, and have been in negotiations with their employers for the past nine months. Union representatives also say workers pay hundreds of dollars a month for health care.

"Workers are tired of jobs that aren't enough to live on, and we're prepared to strike for as long as it takes to win better wages and affordable health care," said union president Anand Singh in a statement.

Airport officials went to Twitter to warn travelers that labor action may be affected by the strike.

"We apologize for any inconvenience this causes," airport officials posted on Twitter.

Negotiators for food service employers have not provided a statement at the time of publication.

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Flying out of SFO? Better bring your own food

Many concession stands, restaurants close as nearly 1,000 food workers strike at airport

by Olivia Wynkoop / Bay City News Foundation /

Uploaded: Tue, Sep 27, 2022, 4:20 pm

Nearly a thousand fast food workers went on strike at the San Francisco International Airport on Monday, causing many food establishments and lounges to shutter, said an airport workers' union.

Union members began striking at 3:30 a.m. on Monday in front of the departures level at every terminal, and plan to picket every day until 10:30 p.m. unless their employers agree to provide better pay.

As the strike continues, union members are urging travelers to boycott the airport's food establishments and bring their own coffee and snacks before their flights.

Workers are asking for fully-funded health care and higher wages, as their average pay of $17.05 per hour is not livable, said a union spokesperson from Unite Here Local 2.

The union also went to TikTok to share their demands, featuring airport workers comparing their pay to the cost of food they serve.

Their most viral video — which has racked in over 500,000 views — features Vivian, who has worked at the airport for a decade, and holds two jobs. She said one pizza and one drink at Pie Five Pizza, where she works, costs $21.46, while her hourly pay is $17.65.

"We deserve fair wages and more contribution to protect our medical insurance and improve our pension," Vivian said in the video. "We are ready to fight!"

Cashiers, baristas, cooks and servers from 20 different employers at 84 food outlets say they haven't had a raise in three years, and have been in negotiations with their employers for the past nine months. Union representatives also say workers pay hundreds of dollars a month for health care.

"Workers are tired of jobs that aren't enough to live on, and we're prepared to strike for as long as it takes to win better wages and affordable health care," said union president Anand Singh in a statement.

Airport officials went to Twitter to warn travelers that labor action may be affected by the strike.

"We apologize for any inconvenience this causes," airport officials posted on Twitter.

Negotiators for food service employers have not provided a statement at the time of publication.

Comments

Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 28, 2022 at 8:20 am
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 8:20 am

Not sure if coffee and snacks will get through TSA! Coffee surely won't and snacks are discovered in carryon they are taken out and searched.

This is likely to be a big problem with those on long flights that do not have food service or have long delays to their flights. Imagine not being able to buy food and drink for several hours and TSA confiscating any. Not good.


Meg Williams
Registered user
Stanford
on Sep 28, 2022 at 8:43 am
Meg Williams, Stanford
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 8:43 am

"...Vivien, who has worked at the airport for a decade, and holds two jobs. She said one pizza and one drink at Pie Five Pizza, where she works, costs $21.46, while her hourly pay is $17.65."

^ As a standard business model, one's hourly pay should generate at least 10 times that amount in revenue within the same timespan.

Realistically, not every food/beverage sale Vivian rings up is $21.46...some might be higher while others are lower.

$17.65 is a reasonable hourly wage given her job duties + it is $2.00 above the minimum wage.

Speaking as an MBA student, it is imperative to keep operating costs down to ensure a sound corporate profit margin...one which will satisfy stockholders and provide capital for future expansion efforts.

The employees are essentially replaceable worker bees and as a result, there are always job openings for such positions

Advanced training/skills and/or higher education levels represent the constructive path to higher pay and position.

One exception...college graduates who majored in 'soft subjects' (i.e. the humanities) and are now working in jobs such as Starbucks 'partners'.

There is no need to attend college if all it leads to is a menial job and the same pay as a non-college graduate.

The business world exists to promote profits, not humanity.


Florence Jackson
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Sep 28, 2022 at 10:17 am
Florence Jackson, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 10:17 am

When traveling by air, we bring our own food as airplane meals leave much to be desired.

As for the 'underpaid' food service vendors at SFO...considering the job skills involved, $17.65/hour isn't a bad wage when one includes the proceeds from the tip jar.

Everyone wants to make more money regardless of their job. It's only natural.

My grandson who majored in a useless subject (Russian Literature) while in college now works as a 'partner' at Starbucks and is clamoring about the emerging unionization efforts currently underway.

If the union efforts are successful, we will be paying $12.00+ for a cup of coffee merely to sustain the masses of undereducated workers and overeducated 'barristas' with useless college degrees.

Is this where we are headed?

Buy a Keurig.


Anne
Registered user
Midtown
on Sep 28, 2022 at 1:05 pm
Anne, Midtown
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 1:05 pm

Please don't buy a Keurig.

Keurig = plastic waste.


Steven Gentry
Registered user
Midtown
on Sep 28, 2022 at 1:32 pm
Steven Gentry, Midtown
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 1:32 pm

"Please don't buy a Keurig."

"Keurig = plastic waste."

WRONG...just don't use or buy the disposable pods.

We use a refillable pod on our Keurig...cheaper + a broader choice of coffee.


Erika Prescott
Registered user
Mountain View
on Sep 28, 2022 at 4:27 pm
Erika Prescott, Mountain View
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 4:27 pm

Wages & salary should be relative to one's actual job skills.

Being a Starbucks 'partner' requires some basic training but both college educated & non-college educated employees seem to pick up the required job duties quite quickly.

Compared to the job skills required of a heavy-equipment operator, automotive/aeronautical technician, doctor/dentist etc. anyone can brew/pour coffee or slap together a deli sandwich.

As a result, most food service workers should be paid less than those in a highly skilled profession.

The only exception might be some city and county administrative employees.


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