Teamsters continue to fight for airline catering workers during pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a massive strain on the airline industry, as many have canceled travel plans. Those working in the industry stretches far beyond pilots and flight attendants, it includes caterers mechanics, sanitation workers and more.

International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 455 Business Agent Vince Shaw discussed how they are working to help the employees of one of the largest airline catering maintain their income amidst the pandemic on America’s Work Force Union Podcast.

Teamsters work with Gate Gourmet

Gate Gourmet, an airline catering company has about 5,000 employees who are members of the Teamsters. Shaw said the goal of the negotiations during the first stimulus package was to ensure these members continued receiving a paycheck.

He said negotiations with the company during the first stimulus package went well, as Gate Gourmet said they would keep their staff employed. Then things began to fall apart as loopholes in the first stimulus package were used to accept Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding.

The company began laying workers off, despite receiving PPP funding and holds that they are not breaking the law.

With the second round of stimulus expected to be on its way, Shaw said the Teamsters lobbying group on Capitol Hill has done a great job of working to close the loopholes that allow the exploitation of workers.

He said the new bill requires any company receiving PPP funding must keep their workforce on payroll until March or until funding is depleted. This is crucial because Shaw said Gate Gourmet did not deplete their funds from the first package, yet laid workers off.


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