Rallying together to advocate for better pay, a group of food workers at SFO convened outside SFO’s Terminal 3 on Friday, where they were joined by SF supervisors and state politicians.
On July 1, 2022, the San Francisco minimum wage increased to $16.99/hour, which is a distant cry from the $28/hour financial experts agree is the bare minimum to get by in SF, assuming you're both single and childless.
Want to take a guess on how much the average fast food worker makes per hour at SFO? $17.05.
#SFOAlert 🚨There is a scheduled free speech event Friday from 2-4pm outside Terminal 3 departures level. If you're planning to drop off or pick up during that time, we recommend using the Terminal 3 arrivals level.— San Francisco International Airport (SFO) ✈️ (@flySFO) September 16, 2022
That's just $0.06 above the city's minimum wage. Worse off, members of Unite Here Local 2, the union that represents the estimated 1,000-plus fast food workers at SFO — a working cohort that includes baristas, servers, cooks, and bartenders — have been without an updated contract or wage increase for three years.
It's little wonder why the overwhelming number of these unionized workers are fed up and rallied Friday afternoon at SFO to demand better pay.
According to the Chronicle, dozens of food workers at the airport gathered outside Terminal 3 Friday afternoon. The planned action blocked traffic near the airport between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. and saw impassioned remarks from attendees whose hourly wage couldn't even pay for a single meal at the international airport.
“I have to work two jobs to support my family, and I’m exhausted from living on four hours of sleep a day,” said Lucinda To, a lounge attendant at the United Club and a server at Cat Cora’s Kitchen, to the newspaper. “I’m making $16.99 per hour even though a meal at the airport costs at least $20. I hope this protest will show people that workers at SFO need a change, and we are ready to strike for it.”
District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar was in attendance, acknowledging that "[SFO] workers deserve fair wages and fair treatment — and to know elected officials have their back."
Very proud to stand, sit, chant, and engage in civil disobedience with @sflabor @seiu_usww @seiu1021 @unitehere @ifpte_local21 @sfbuildingtrades @local_87 @afscme_3299 and more in support of our airport workers - we’ve got that union power! #labor #sfo #superhoney pic.twitter.com/zyaGvd964P— Honey Mahogany (@honeymahogany) September 16, 2022
Signs were bobbed up and down that read "one job should be enough”; protesters also chanted “Whose airport? Our airport" during the hours-long demonstration.
But because the group was obstructing traffic, 41 of the protesters were arrested for sitting on the road and not heeding traffic officers’ orders. Per the Chronicle, those arrested included "San Francisco Supervisors Connie Chan and Gordon Mar; State Assemblymember Ash Kalra; State Sen. Josh Becker; Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, a former state assemblymember and head of the California Labor Federation union; and Honey Mahogany, a District 6 supervisor candidate, according to Unite Here Local 2, which organized the protest."
All the protesters were cited before they were all released; potential charges will be determined by the San Mateo County District Attorney, according to SFO airport duty manager Russell Mackey; no injuries or operational delays were caused by the protest... despite prior concerns that the rally could impact travel plans
While no strike has been officially authorized, Unite Here Local 2 said that in August, 99.7% of workers voted overwhelmingly to hold one amid stagnant wages and contract negotiations — so one could start at any moment.
Photo: Courtesy of Twitter via @honeymahogany