US Senators urge United Airlines to respect catering workers’ union decision

16th March 2018 (Last Updated March 16th, 2018 14:10)

Five US Senators of the Commerce committee have called on United Airlines to respect its catering workers’ decision and to refrain from efforts to stop them from organising a union.

US Senators urge United Airlines to respect catering workers’ union decision
A United Airlines aircraft. Credit: John Taggart.

Five US Senators of the Commerce committee have called on United Airlines to respect its catering workers’ decision and to refrain from efforts to stop them from organising a union.

The call follows after reports emerged that United Airlines managers’ anti-union campaign had interfered with the workers’ efforts.

The five members are Catherine Cortez Masto, Brian Schatz, Edward J. Markey, Richard Blumenthal, and Tom Udall. The committee has oversight of the US airline industry.

“We are aware of allegations that United Airlines managers have intimidated, questioned, and retaliated against workers engaged in protected union activities at the workplace.”

A letter written to United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz and signed by the Senators, stated: “United Airlines’ 2,700 catering workers, who are overwhelmingly immigrants and people of colour, make as little as $9.75 an hour. They are the only major group of direct non-managerial employees at United Airlines without a union.

“On 24 January 2018, motivated by the successes of other United Airlines unions, over 75% of these catering workers filed for a union election with the National Mediation Board.”

“We are aware of allegations that United Airlines managers have intimidated, questioned, and retaliated against workers engaged in protected union activities at the workplace.”

In January this year, United Airlines flight catering employees filed with the National Mediation Board to join the Unite Here union.

Labour union Unite Here has been working on the unionising effort with United’s catering employees.