Letter from Airline Catering Workers to CEOs of American, Delta and United Airlines

Dear Mr. Doug Parker, CEO, American Airlines, Mr. Jeff Smisek, CEO, United Airlines and Mr. Richard Anderson, CEO, Delta Airlines:

We proudly cater food for the hundreds of millions of passengers who fly your airlines. We work very hard, but our families and your business are at risk.

Quality healthcare is just a pie in the sky for us airline food workers. Most of us make less than $20,000 a year. We can’t afford the health insurance offered to us by airline food companies as it costs anywhere between $100 and $500 a month to insure ourselves and our families!

Those of us who do enroll in health care coverage are forced to purchase the cheapest plans, which have exorbitant out-of-pocket deductibles—up to $15,000 each year. This means we face huge medical bills before even a cent of coverage kicks in, and we’re often forced to make extremely difficult decisions: Should we pay for insurance, or rent? Do we have enough to pay for our children’s immunizations? Can we afford treatment for our injuries or other medical conditions?

Come January, we will be forced to pay the Obama Care Income Tax Fine for declining to purchase this unaffordable insurance. In the years to come, the fine will only grow, until some of us are paying the equivalent of an entire month’s pay—or more—in fines. We feed your crew and passengers, but we’re too poor to pay for even lousy insurance. We’re too poor to pay penalties, too. As a result, our medical bills pile up and drive our families further into poverty.

You, “the Big Three” American airlines, can take the lead in changing this situation. This year, your industry made record high profits in addition to receiving continued public subsidies and tax breaks. Simply by earmarking one nickel per passenger ticket, you could ensure that we have more affordable and better healthcare options. Airline food workers could secure the kind of insurance our jobs and families greatly need. We know you have the power to make this change.

Neither you nor we can afford for airline food workers to be unhealthy. No one wins when we, the tens of thousands of workers who cater your aircraft, come to work sick. We implore you to support the affordable and quality healthcare that we and our families need. We deserve it.

Sincerely, UNITE HERE Airline Catering Committees of:

  • Locals 1 and 450 Chicago O’Hare Int’l Airport (ORD)
  • Local 2 San Francisco Int’l Airport (SFO)
  • Local 5 Honolulu Int’l Airport (HNL)
    Kahului Airport, Maui (OGG)
  • Local 7 Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall Int’l Airport (BWI)
  • Local 8 Portland Int’l Airport (PDX)
    Seattle-Tacoma Int’l Airport (SEATAC)
  • Local 11 Los Angeles Int’l Airport (LAX)
  • Local 17 Minneapolis-St. Paul Int'l Airport (MSP)
  • Local 19 San Jose Int’l Airport (SLC)
  • Local 23 Austin-Bergstrom Int’l Airport (AUS)
    Charlotte Douglas Int’l Airport (CLT)
    Dallas/Ft. Worth Int'l Airport (DFW)
    Denver Int’l Airport (DEN)
    Dulles Int’l Airport, D.C. (IAD)
    George Bush Intercont’l Airport, Houston (IAH)
    Hartsfield-Jackson Int’l Airport, Atlanta (ATL)
    Reagan Washington National Airport, D.C. (DCA)
    Salt Lake City Int’l Airport (SLC)
  • Local 24 Detroit Wayne Int’l Airport (DTW)
  • Local 26 Boston Logan Int’l Airport (BOS)
  • Local 30 San Diego Int’l Airport (SAN)
  • Local 57 Pittsburgh Int’l Airport (PGH)
  • Local 100 JFK Int’l Airport, New York City (JFK)
    LaGuardia Airport, New York City (LGA)
    Newark Int’l Airport (EWR)
  • Local 226 McCarran Int’l Airport, Las Vegas (LAS)
  • Local 274 Philadelphia Int’l Airport (PHL)
  • Local 362Tampa Int'l Airport (TPA)
    Orlando Int’l Airport (MCO)
  • Local 355 Fort Lauderdale Int’l Airport (FLL)
    Miami Int’l Airport (MIA)
    Palm Beach Int’l Airport (PBI)
  • Local 631 Phoenix Sky Harbor Int’l Airport (PHX)
  • Local 868 Ted Stevens Anchorage Int’l Airport (ANC)


Download a pdf of the letter