230317 Fair Contract, Healthy Jobs & Dignity at Work: Airline Catering Worker to Worker Campaign

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 11:15 AM - 11:30 AM

Pamela Vossenas, MPH , Health & Safety Program, Unite Here, New York, NY
Pam Tau Lee, BS , Labor Occupational Health Program, UC Berkeley/School of Public Health, Berkeley, CA
Airline catering workers are invisible employees within the service sector. While they perform a variety of tasks to provide the airlines and travelers with packaged food and do so on a tight schedule, they are nowhere to be seen nor are their working conditions. Over 8,500 members of the union Unite Here are employed by the two giants of airline catering. In early 2010, workers at multiple sites of both companies completed surveys about workplace conditions in order to obtain a fair contract, improved health and safety language, and better working conditions. The Health Jobs Survey also included questions about dignity at work. Unite Here members mobilized to conduct hundreds of surveys in five languages in numerous cities in North America using a worker to worker method. Survey results will be presented to include issues of speedup, working in extreme hot or cold temperatures, food safety concerns, and pushing, pulling and lifting excessive loads among other work hazards. This initiative involved the partnership of Unite Here staff with staff from UC Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program including train the trainer program models and survey design. Obstacles and successes in bargaining and their relationship to mobilization actions will be discussed. Input from rank and file workers, health and safety allies and union representatives will be incorporated into the presentation.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
1. Define job tasks and identify hazards including fight for respect, of airline catering workers. 2. Discuss the effectiveness of the worker to worker survey approach on workers' ability to communicate job hazards to the employer and other parties of interest. 3. Evaluate the outcomes of the survey and other actions in relation to improvements in working conditions.

Keywords: Social Justice, Union

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Health and Safety Specialist for Unite Here and am knowledgeable about this topic.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.