November 4, 2004: Gate Gourmet, whose 10,500 employees provide food services to airlines and railroads, is trying to break our union. The current contract expired June 1. Management is demanding big wage and benefit cuts that they know workers will not accept.
Under the company proposal, wages would be cut by as much as $5.02 an hour. Members’ pension and 401(k) would be eliminated. The company contribution to members’ health insurance would be capped at $100 a month. High seniority workers would lose two weeks of vacation a year.
Gate Gourmet workers are jointly represented nationwide by the Teamsters and another union, UNITE HERE. IBT Western Region Warehouse Director Steve Vairma has led negotiations.
Gate Gourmet tried to weaken workers’ bargaining position earlier this year by creating a spin-off company, Gate Serve. They voluntarily agreed to recognize the IBT and UNITE HERE.
The unions, in turn, agreed to a contract with much lower wages and benefits than Gate Gourmet.
Demands Were Predicted
When our union made this bad deal, TDU predicted that management would demand these same concessions from Gate Gourmet Teamsters. Now they are. The concessionary contract Gate Gourmet is proposing is almost exactly the same as the one our union already agreed to at Gate Serve.
Concessions won’t stop a ruthless employer. The IBT and UNITE HERE need a coordinated plan to take on Gate Gourmet. Members are willing to fight.
“They are taking the food off of our families’ tables,” says Los Angeles Gate Gourmet worker Ana Miranda. “We need to stop them. Local 572 organized a rally here recently, and it’s a start. We need more action.”