ARIZONA NEWS

Restaurant workers at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport vote to authorize strike

Nov 19, 2021, 2:53 PM | Updated: 7:17 pm
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport)...
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport)
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport)

PHOENIX – With Thanksgiving a week away, some Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport restaurant workers are prepared to go on strike “at any point” after union members overwhelmingly voted in favor of a work stoppage.

Unite Here Local 11 said a strike was authorized Thursday by a 97% vote as workers push for a deal to improve pay and benefits from HMSHost, the largest concessions operator at the state’s largest airport.

“The dates for the strike have not yet been determined, but [it] could happen at any point,” Rachele Smith, a spokeswoman for the union, said in an email Friday.

HMSHost runs Starbucks coffee shops and multiple restaurants at Arizona’s largest airport.

The union said it is seeking increased staffing, fair raises, affordable health insurance, a company-paid retirement contribution and tips protection. Negotiations for a new contract have been going on since 2017.

“There is no reason that HMSHost cannot do these things,” barista Victoria Stahl said in a press release. “It’s disrespectful of the hard work that my coworkers and I have put in through the pandemic.

“They’ve rejected our proposals at the bargaining table, and if this is what we need to do for them to listen, we’re ready.”

HMSHost said it is offering a “generous compensation package” and accused the union of using the upcoming holiday travel season as leverage in the negotiations.

“We are offering substantial wage increases and enhanced benefits, including paying 90% of our associate’s health care costs, and contributing into a hospitality training fund to directly benefit our staff,” an HMSHost spokesperson said in a press release.

HMSHost said Local 11 members make up less than half of the company’s hourly workers at Sky Harbor.

“It’s unfortunate that Unite Here Local 11 is planning to inconvenience passengers during a time when people are looking forward to finally gather with family,” the company spokesperson said.

HMSHost operates 12 concessions brands at Sky Harbor, including Starbucks, Chelsea’s Kitchen, Olive & Ivy, SanTan Brewing and Zinburger.

Local 11, a union for hospitality workers in Arizona and Southern California with more than 32,000 members, staged a one-day walkout at the airport in September over staffing shortages, mainly at Starbucks locations.

HMSHost said it’s been aggressively trying to hire more staff through job fairs, community outreach organizations and other methods.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Photo Courtesy of Taylor Dintzner)...
Danny Shapiro

ASU fraternity raises more than $60K for TGen, shaves heads in honor of former member

An ASU fraternity has raised over $60,000 for a former member who used to work for TGen in Phoenix before his 2020 death.
5 hours ago
(File photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)...
KTAR.com

Arizona Thanksgiving holiday DUI arrests down slightly from last year, up from 2019

DUI arrests over the Thanksgiving holiday this year fell slightly from 2020 but was higher than 2019, the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety said Monday.
5 hours ago
(Facebook photo/City of Phoenix, AZ USA)...
Torrence Dunham

Maricopa County ranked No. 1 in talent attraction for second consecutive year

The annual Talent Attraction Scoreboard by labor market analyst EMSI has Arizona being No. 1 in talent attraction for the second consecutive year and fourth time in the last six years.
5 hours ago
(Pexels photo)...
KTAR.com

Home warranty company agrees to $150K settlement in Arizona over fake reviews

More than 1,300 Arizonans who purchased home warranty services from a company accused of misleading consumers will get restitution as part of a consent judgment, Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s Office announced Monday.
5 hours ago
(File photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)...
Kimberly Silverio-Bautista I Cronkite News

Arizona’s ‘QAnon Shaman’ gets new lawyer, sets up likely appeal of Jan. 6 guilty plea

Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man who pleaded guilty to his role in the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, switched attorneys Monday, laying the groundwork for a possible appeal of his plea and 41-month sentence.
5 hours ago
Maricopa County flag...
Kevin Stone

7 finalists revealed for vacated Maricopa County Board of Supervisors seat

Seven finalists have been selected for the interview stage in the process to replace Steve Chucri on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
PNC BANK

How your family can explore the Musical Instrument Museum

Whether you want to spend a day with family, do crafts with kids at home, or have an adult night out, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix has options. As the world’s only global musical instrument museum, MIM offers interactive and immersive exhibits to foster an appreciation of different cultures and their instruments. “A visit […]
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Why fall maintenance is important for your heating system and A/C

It’s easy to ignore your heater and air conditioner when they’re working but the moment something breaks, you will likely regret not keeping up with maintenance. After all, if something goes wrong, you may be stuck with a repair that will take longer and be more expensive than simple maintenance.
...
PNC Bank

How one organization supports early childhood literacy for the most vulnerable

Nearly two out of every three children in low-income communities don’t own a single children’s book, a fact that ultimately could have profound impacts even before entering kindergarten, according to Arizona nonprofit Southwest Human Development.
Restaurant workers at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport vote to authorize strike