Food service workers at the San Francisco International Airport started striking Monday.
The 1,000 striking employees — including cooks, servers, dishwashers, baristas, lounge attendants and cashiers for 80-plus food and beverage outlets at the airport — are seeking higher wages, according to a press release from Unite Here Local 2, the union representing them. The strike, which they voted to authorize in August, currently has no set end date.
Unite Here Local 2 claimed most earn $17.05 hourly wages and haven't received pay increases in a few years.
California has its minimum wage currently set at $15 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees and $14 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer, according to the state's Department of Industrial Relations. Starting in 2023, they will increase to $15.50 per hour.
"My pay for a whole hour of work is less than the price of just one meal. That is so unfair," Vivian Narvarte, a food worker at the airport, is quoted as saying in the release. "I'm on strike because I want to quit my second job and have more time with my family."
The union advised air travelers to bring their own food to the airport due to the strike. It has caused some food and beverage outlets to close and others to offer limited hours and eating options, the San Francisco International Airport said in a press release.
"Staffing at newsstands is not currently affected, and these outlets will continue to offer grab-and-go food and beverages. Full-service meal availability may be limited," the airport added. "SFO apologizes for any inconvenience this causes."
The union has been negotiating with the employers for nine months, Unite Here Local 2 President Anand Singh said in a statement.
Earlier in the month, a group of dozens of food service workers and supporters were arrested and cited after blocking traffic at the San Francisco International Airport as part of a protest against current wages and health care, the union said in a Sept. 16 press release.