Press Release: BREAKING – YVR Airport Food Service Workers Vote Overwhelmingly in Favour of Strike Action

Possible airport disruptions during spring break and easter weekend travel rush

Richmond, BC – Food service workers at YVR Vancouver International Airport voted 85% in favour of strike action yesterday. The workers – represented by UNITE HERE Local 40 – are employed by one of YVR’s largest food service operators, SSP Canada Food Services. After months of bargaining, over 200 low-paid SSP workers could walk off the job in their fight to earn Metro Vancouver’s living wage.

The workers serve travelers at dozens of food outlets located in the airport’s domestic and international terminals. Job actions would disrupt daily airport operations as the spring break and Easter weekend rush approaches, with over 1.1 million passengers projected to travel through YVR Airport in the next few weeks.

Recent Union data shows the average food service wage at the world-class airport to be only $18.27 – well below Metro Vancouver’s living wage of $25.68. Meanwhile, YVR Airport generated $492 million in 2022 and is on track to exceed that figure in 2023. In a survey of YVR food service workers conducted last month by the Union, 89% are struggling to keep up with bills or housing costs. 92% of these workers have had to cut back on other expenses to get by each month including nearly 40% stating they are buying less fresh food, and 52% who are not able to support family members as they have previously.

Of the workers at YVR Airport who do not earn a living wage, 78% of those surveyed are women, and most are immigrants. A large majority of SSP food service workers are racialized women. SSP food service worker demographics are in stark contrast to YVR’s own staff, who earn a living wage and are majority male, 65% white.

In addition to standing united for a living wage, the workers are fighting to have their transit reimbursement program reinstated by SSP. This program covers Uber and taxi rides for all SSP food service staff who work outside of SkyTrain hours. Currently, the workers are expected to spend hundreds of dollars on ride costs each month in order to work their scheduled shifts at the airport.

With this strike vote, food service workers send a strong message: end wage discrimination at YVR. Picket lines could go up after workers issue 72-hour strike notice.


Media Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-710-1693,