Good news for hungry air travelers; Tentative deal ends SFO fast-food workers strike

SAN FRANCISCO — A tentative agreement was reached late Wednesday night on a new labor contract, ending the week-long strike by food workers at San Francisco International Airport that had shuttered restaurants, bars, coffee shops and lounges located within the terminals.

The strike by nearly 1,000 unionized employees began on Monday and left the thousands of travelers who stream through the major travel hub each day scrambling for preflight food and beverages.

The strikers included cashiers, baristas, cooks, dishwashers, bartenders, servers and lounge attendants at 84 food and beverage outlets throughout SFO.  

At issue was the $17.05 per hour wage that the majority of union members earned. It had been 3 years without a raise and most workers voiced difficulty in keeping up with escalating cost of living in the Bay Area.

“I have to work two jobs to support my family and meet our needs, and it means I barely get to see my kids and grandkids,” said Vivian Narvarte, who works at both Pie Five Pizza and Ladle & Leaf Restaurant at SFO. “My pay for a whole hour of work is less than the price of just one meal.”

While not disclosing details of the new deal, the union said it contained “significant raises and free family health care.” Details of the agreement will be released to the public following a ratification vote by the full workforce on Sunday, October 2.

“This strike was so worth it to give my family a better life,” said Blanca Gay, a snack bar attendant at SFO for 30 years and member of the UNITE HERE Local 2 bargaining committee. “My son is in college, but he had to switch from full-time to part-time just so he could work. With the raises we won, I can help my son go back to school full-time.”

Workers were back on the job Wednesday and food service operations were returning to the normal levels.

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