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(WASHINGTON, DC) – Thanks to the fight for justice for airline workers in federal legislation, thousands of Gate Gourmet workers and workers at other airline catering companies will continue to receive wages and benefits until Sep. 30, 2020. The Teamsters Union worked in coalition with the UNITE-HERE, RWDSU, UFCW and BCTGM unions to fight for airline catering workers to be included in the most recent legislation.
Gate Gourmet, one of the largest airline catering companies in the U.S., has now filed to receive federal aid that will protect Gate Gourmet workers’ wages and benefits for at least the next five months. These paycheck protections come from the federal CARES Act (the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act”) that was signed into law at the end of March.
While Congress was crafting the CARES Act, including a huge relief package for airlines, airline industry unions held firm with lawmakers that there must be direct assistance to workers, and that any assistance for airline industry businesses should be conditioned on protecting jobs.
The Teamsters and the aforementioned coalition also made the case that airline catering workers need the same economic assistance. When the final bill was passed, it included not only billions for airlines, but $3 billion for workers at other aviation industry companies such as Gate Gourmet as well.
The $3 billion can only be spent on workers’ wages and benefits, and the funds come with conditions. In order to receive this money, airline catering companies may not lay off any workers before Sept. 30, 2020.
“Our members at Gate Gourmet prepare the food that airline passengers consume on flights in
the U.S. and to other countries,” said Teamsters Warehouse Division Director and International Vice President Steve Vairma. “They are just as much a part of the airline industry as those who are direct employees of the airlines, and they deserve protections, too.”
“We have seen too many bailouts send money to corporations with no protections for workers. If corporations are going to receive assistance with taxpayer dollars, they must be required to provide paychecks and protect jobs,” said Vairma. “This bill also places limits on executive pay and forbids dividend payouts to shareholders, which were union demands as well.”
“We also want to thank our allies in the labor movement and in Congress, especially Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, for the solidarity they showed in working with us to get this bill passed,” said James P. Hoffa, Teamsters General President.
“We are proud of our members and the work they do every day,” said Vairma. “It is the working class of America that keeps the country moving, provides essential services, and creates profits for corporations. Working people should always be the top priority when it comes to protecting our industries and our communities.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information.