On July 2, Gate Gourmet workers held an assembly at O’Hare Airport to win respect and a fair contract at work. While the airline industry has recovered from the economic recession, workers who prepare the food and beverages travelers receive while flying are still making sacrifices.
Gate Gourmet workers received a wage cut in 2005 due to the financial toll the economic recession took on the company. In 2002, a cook, for example, made $10.00 an hour. Today, they make $9.50 an hour. Additionally in 2002, a dishwasher made $8.45 an hour. Today, they make $8.50 – just minimum wage. Workers have not had raises since December 31, 2011.
“Gate Gourmet’s business is coming back, but it seems like they want me and my coworkers to be locked into the recession,” said Bryana Cato, utility worker at Gate Gourmet. “We’re tired of being disrespected – now it’s time to speak out.”
The union, which represents 900 Gate Gourmet workers in three different kitchens at O’Hare Airport, has been negotiating with the company since May 2012. Their last contract became amendable on December 31, 2012.
UNITE HERE Local 1 members throughout Chicago — from Chicago Public Schools, Westin River North, Park Hyatt, Chicago State University, Hudson News at O’Hare and Midway Airports, and more — came out to support their Gate Gourmet brothers and sisters.