A group of SFO food workers, who have banded together to campaign for better pay, gathered outside SFO Terminal 3 on Friday, where they were joined by SF supervisors and state politicians.
On July 1, 2022, the minimum wage in San Francisco rose to $16.99/hour, which is a far cry from the $28/hour that financial experts agree is the bare minimum to get by in SF, assuming you are both single and childless.
Want to guess how much the average fast food worker makes per hour at SFO? $17.05.
#SFOAlert 🚨On Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. there will be a free speech event in front of the departures level of Terminal 3. If you wish to drop off or pick up during this time, we recommend using the Terminal 3 Arrivals level.
— San Francisco International Airport (SFO) ✈️ (@flySFO) 09/16/2022
That’s just $0.06 above the city’s minimum wage. Worse, members of Unite Here Local 2, the union that represents the estimated 1,000+ fast-food workers at SFO — a union that includes baristas, waiters, chefs and bartenders — had no updated contract or none for three wage increase years.
It’s no wonder the overwhelming numbers of these unionized workers have had enough and are gathering at the SFO on Friday afternoon to demand better pay.
Dozens of food workers gathered at the airport outside Terminal 3 on Friday afternoon, according to the Chronicle. The planned action blocked traffic near the airport between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., prompting passionate remarks from participants whose hourly wages didn’t even cover a single one meal at the international airport.
“I have to work two jobs to support my family and I’m exhausted from four hours of sleep a day,” Lucinda To, a lounge attendant at the United Club and a waitress at Cat Cora’s Kitchen, told the newspaper. “I make $16.99 an hour, even though a meal at the airport costs at least $20. I hope this protest will show people that SFO workers need a change and we are ready to strike for it.”
District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar was present and confirmed that “[SFO] Workers deserve fair wages and fair treatment – and to know that elected officials have their backs.”
Signs saying “One job should be enough” waved up and down; the protesters also shouted “Whose airport? Our airport”.
But because the group was obstructing traffic, 41 of the protesters were arrested for sitting in the street and disobeying traffic officials’ instructions. According to the Chronicle, those arrested included “Connie Chan and Gordon Mar, San Francisco bosses, State Assembly Member Ash Kalra, State Senator Josh Becker, Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, a former State Assembly member and California Union Chairperson Labor Federation, and Honey Mahogany, a candidate for district 6 supervisor, according to Unite Here Local 2, which organized the protest.
All of the protesters were cited before they were all released; potential charges to be determined by the San Mateo County Attorney’s Office, according to Russell Mackey, SFO’s airport operations manager; No injuries or operational delays were caused by the protest…despite prior concerns the rally could disrupt travel plans
Although no strike has been officially sanctioned, Unite Here Local 2 said that in August 99.7% of workers voted overwhelmingly to go ahead with a strike, with wages and contract negotiations stagnant – meaning it could start at any time.
Photo: Courtesy of Twitter via @honeymahogany