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Airline Catering Workers with UNITE HERE Local 11 Allege Violations of Living Wage Ordinance Potentially Worth Tens of Thousands of Dollars for Hundreds of Workers

Latest in series of administrative complaints that include unfair labor practice charges and allegations of workplace safety violations

The City of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Contract Administration is investigating a living wage complaint against Flying Food Group (FFG). The most recent complaint alleges that FFG is failing to provide a “total economic package” of $23.81 to hundreds of its workers. If true, the estimated value of the violations is tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of workers, with damages continuing to accrue. The Living Wage Ordinance (LWO) requires employers to pay a $18.04 minimum, with an additional healthcare portion of the wage set to $5.77 per hour.

“I cannot live on these poverty wages and feed my family,“ said Norma Reyes, who currently earns $18.04 and sets up equipment for the catering company. “We have filed complaints alleging FFG’s treatment of us violates the law. This company must change how they treat us.”

The complaint under the Living Wage Ordinance is the latest among a series of complaints filed by FFG employees. In recent months, workers have additionally alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act, Cal/OSHA regulations concerning access to emergency exits, the state’s return-to-work (or “recall”) law, and state law protections against sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

Workers allege that on February 2, 2023 management locked multiple exit doors, including by screwing at least one door shut with a metal plate, on a day when workers planned to hold a picket line protest outside the facility. To date, six unfair labor practice charges have been filed against FFG alleging surveillance, unlawful interference with union activity and threats of discipline for participating in protected activities.

On March 15, Flying Food Group workers voted 99% in favor of authorizing a strike. Workers cited their need for significant raises to keep pace with the cost of living and their many allegations that FFG engaged in unfair labor practices as their motivations to authorize the strike.

Flying Food Group employs more than 350 workers at LAX who provide in-flight meals to the airplanes of more than a dozen major airlines, such as Singapore Airlines, Air France and Lufthansa. Last year, Flying Food Group earned $46 million in revenue.

Airline catering workers’ collective bargaining agreement with FFG expired last June, and a six-month extension produced little progress during negotiations.

UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union representing more than 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona that work in hotels, restaurants, universities, convention centers and airports.


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