Press Release: YVR Airport Concession Workers Launch Strike for $25 Living Wage

Vancouver, BC — Over 200 food workers at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) walked out on strike early this morning to demand a $25 living wage.  The workers are employed by SSP America, which operates over a dozen food outlets at YVR.

Food attendants, servers, cooks, dishwashers and others set up picket lines at 4:30AM this morning to inform travelers about the one-day strike action.  The action comes after workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, turned down the company’s latest offer in negotiations. They are negotiating their first collective agreement.

The Vancouver Airport Authority is attempting to limit workers’ attempt to picket inside the airport. The Union is asking the Labour Board to direct the Airport Authority to permit such activity, which was permitted in 2010 during a previous strike action.

Airport concession workers are among the lowest paid staff at YVR. Although YVR is a certified living wage employer, the average hourly wage for concession staff is $18.27, or $7.41 less than Metro Vancouver’s living wage.  Eighty percent of concession workers are women, many of them immigrants, according to a recent survey.  Thousands have petitioned YVR to expand its living wage policy to apply to concession staff.

SSP Group is one of the largest food operators at Vancouver International Airport and operates thirteen outlets: Freshii, Thai Hang, Urban Crave, Whistler Brewhouse, LIFT Bar and Grill, Church’s Chicken, Sal y Limón, Banh Shop, Nourish, Dirty Apron, Tru Burger, Rice Tales, and El Chiquito.

 

Contact: Michelle Travis, mtravis@unitehere.org, 778-960-9785