San Francisco airport food service workers just went on strike

If your travel plans this week include a stop at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), you might want to pack a few extra snacks and grab a coffee before you get there.

After nine months of wage negotiations, SFO restaurant workers declared a general strike early Monday morning, SFist reports.

Workers had previously voted by a 99.7% margin to authorize a strike if an agreement could not be reached, according to a press release. Today, 1,000 airport cashiers, cooks, bartenders, baristas, waiters and dishwashers follow.

Unite Here Local 2, the union representing SFO restaurant workers, staged a protest outside the airport on September 16. Forty-one workers and their supporters, including some elected officials, were arrested for blocking traffic outside Terminal 3.

The majority of airport catering workers earn around $17.05 an hour and have not seen a raise in three years, union members said in a statement. In a few videos posted on social media, workers compared their pay to the prices of popular items on the airport menu. One of these videos has been viewed over 500,000 times.

In the short sequences, the workers are careful to note that their hourly wage is not even enough to cover a meal at their employer.

In total, the strike will affect 30 different employers at 84 catering outlets throughout the airport. Employers negotiate as a collective, represented by the SFO Airport Restaurant Employer Council.

In a statement from SFO, airport officials stressed that while the majority of their food outlets will be closed, airport newsstand staff are currently unaffected. These outlets will still be able to offer take-out food and drink.

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