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Airline Catering Workers at DTW Join Nationwide Protest for Better Wages, Healthcare

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Organizers in Detroit are demanding higher wages and access to healthcare from Delta Airlines

Airline catering workers in red shirts carry signs outside of DTW Airport in July. Unite Here [Courtesy photo]
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Airline caterers are organizing a protest today at Detroit Metropolitan Airport amid the hectic Thanksgiving travel week. The workers and union members from Unite Here Local 24 are demanding higher wages and access to healthcare from Delta Airlines.

The demonstration at DTW, which began at 1 p.m., is part of nationwide protests this week organized by the hospitality union. Unite Here represents more than 20,000 airline catering workers. It’s just the latest in a series of demonstrations that have taken place this year. In July, the union voted in favor of a strike. Employees in Detroit work for contractor Sky Chefs, and a majority of catering staff say they make less than $15 per hour.

“They are protesting at DTW and airports nationwide to call on airlines like American and Delta to take urgent and necessary steps to fix this labor dispute,” a spokesperson for Unite Here tells Eater in a statement. “They have the power to end this today. And airline catering workers in Detroit and across the U.S. will continue to engage in actions wherever they need to bring their message to the billionaire airlines.”

Unite Here is currently in federal mediation of contract negotiations with national airline catering employers including Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet.

DTW expects to see roughly 1.6 million travelers this holiday season.

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Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW)

1 Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Romulus, MI 48242 (734) 247-7678 Visit Website