More than 50 unionized catering workers were arrested at American Airlines headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas on Tuesday as hundreds rallied to protest poverty wages and meager benefits.
"American Airlines profits soar, but workers who generate its wealth by catering its planes struggle with poverty wages and unaffordable healthcare."
Unite Here, the union that represents the protesting workers, said in a report released ahead of the demonstration that "wages for catering workers at American's most profitable hubs are among the lowest in the country."
"Airline food workers serving American flights in Dallas make as little as $9.85," the report found.
As Tuesday's demonstration kicked off, Unite Here tweeted: "American Airlines profits soar, but workers who generate its wealth by catering its planes struggle with poverty wages and unaffordable healthcare. Airline catering workers are in Dallas this week to tell the airline one job should be enough!"
For @AmericanAir, profits take off yet airline catering workers earn poverty wages. We stand with airline catering workers participating in today’s nonviolent civil disobedience in Dallas! #1job #airportstrikealert pic.twitter.com/IWhLxBihJ0
— UNITEHERE Central FL (@UNITEHERE_CFL) August 13, 2019
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, applauded the catering workers for standing up and "challenging corporate greed" in a tweet on Tuesday.
"In recent years American Airlines has made billions in profits," said Sanders. "It is unconscionable that their workers cannot afford good healthcare or get reliable raises."
In an act of civil disobedience, workers sat down and blocked the road leading to American Airlines' HQ:
We don’t back down.
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Not when our health care is at stake.
Not when our families are on the line.
Not when @AmericanAir is making billions while we work two or three jobs and struggle to survive.
— UNITE HERE Local 2 #1job (@UniteHereLocal2) August 13, 2019
The protest comes just weeks after thousands of airline catering workers voted to authorize a strike as they bargain for better wages and benefits.
Tane Stover, an LSG Sky Chef employee who was arrested during Tuesday's protest, told the Dallas WBAP, "We don't want to go on strike, but we will if that's what it takes for American Airlines to know that one job should be enough."
"We're going to continue to fight until one job is enough," she said.