ARIZONA NEWS

Phoenix airport workers file discrimination complaint against employer

Dec 8, 2023, 11:44 AM | Updated: 11:44 am

woman stands in street during protest...

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport food service industry workers on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2023, filed a discrimination complaint against their contractor. (Facebook Photo/Unite Here)

(Facebook Photo/Unite Here)

PHOENIX — Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport food service industry workers filed a discrimination complaint against their contractor on Wednesday.

The complaint filed by Unite Here Local 11 alleges Black and Latino workers make substantially less compared to white workers at SSP America, a company contracted by the city of Phoenix to operate concessions at the airport.

SSP America employs cashiers, cooks, dishwashers, bartenders and servers at Matt’s Big Breakfast, Dunkin’ Donuts, Four Peaks Brewing Co. and Pita Jungle.

What are the details of the complaint against SSP America?

The complaint states white employees are likely to report over $1,000 each week in gross earnings, while Latino and Black employees are more likely to report less than $800 each week, according to a survey conducted by the Grand Canyon Institute.

It also describes how white workers are often employed in better paid and tipped positions and a large amount of workers of color, specifically Black workers, hold the lowest-paid jobs.

For example, as of September, 81% of the company’s bartenders were white (39 out of 48), and there were no bartenders employed who identified as Black, according to the complaint.

The workers also allege a “tap on the shoulder” approach to promotions, citing instances where management appeared to go out of its way to encourage white employees to apply for certain promotions but discouraged several Black workers from applying to those same positions.

“The company relies upon subjective criteria, lacks uniform standards, and fails to draft written policies or justifications for promotional decisions,” according to the complaint.

What’s next after the airport worker complaint has been filed?

Following the allegations, Unite Here Local 11 requested an investigation into SSP America’s pay, hiring and promotion practices.

SSP America did not respond to a request for comment regarding the complaint.

Unite Here Local 11 represents over 32,000 workers employed in airports, hotel, sports arenas and convention center in Arizona and Southern California.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

(AP Photo)...

KTAR.com

Northbound Loop 101 on-ramp at Shea Boulevard to close for 2 months

The northbound Loop 101 on-ramp at Shea Boulevard in Scottsdale is scheduled to be closed for approximately 60 days, starting Monday.

2 hours ago

Hildale, Utah, is pictured sitting at the base of Red Rock Cliff mountains, with its sister city, C...

Associated Press

Guilty plea by leader of polygamous sect near the Arizona-Utah border is at risk of being thrown out

A guilty plea by the leader of an offshoot polygamous sect near the Arizona-Utah border is at risk of being thrown out.

4 hours ago

Picture of the Mitsubishi Montero that Phoenix police suspect hit an 11-year-old girl in a crosswal...

Damon Allred

Hit-and-run suspect sought in Phoenix after injuring child walking in crosswalk

Officers are searching for a hit-and-run suspect who hit an 11-year-old girl walking in a school crosswalk on Friday, Phoenix PD said.

7 hours ago

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...

KTAR.com

2 men die, another critically injured in south Phoenix shooting

Detectives are investigating a shooting that left two dead and another seriously injured in south Phoenix, police said.

9 hours ago

Rattlesnake activity...

Nick Borgia

Warmer temperatures leads to increased rattlesnake activity in the Valley

The Banner Poison and Drug Information Center has seen an increase in rattlesnake activity in the Valley due to warmer weather.

11 hours ago

Housing program...

Nick Borgia

Gov. Katie Hobbs announces new $13M housing program

Gov. Katie Hobbs and the Arizona Department of Housing (ADOH) announced a new housing program on Friday, called "Arizona is Home."

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Phoenix airport workers file discrimination complaint against employer