PARIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Representatives of US labor union UNITE HERE and a delegation of US airline catering workers are in Paris to renew their calls for Air France executives to address the treatment of workers at Flying Food Group, Air France-KLM’s affiliate partner in 5 US catering operations and the supplier of airline meals to Air France flights from major US airports including Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Chicago and San Francisco.
UNITE HERE, the labor union that represents the majority of unionized airline catering workers in the US, and Flying Food Group workers from the United States will be attending Air France-KLM’s annual general meeting on May 21, 2015 as shareholders. The workers intend to ask why Air France-KLM subsidiaries have denied requests to review employment conditions at the mostly non-union Flying Food Group, a company with which it has had a financial and operational partnership for over 25 years, including joint ownership of 5 U.S. kitchens.
Though Air France-KLM has publicly pledged to uphold responsible employment practices among both subsidiaries and suppliers, and despite an estimated 40% or more of Flying Food’s U.S. workforce being employed in kitchens co-owned by Air France and co-branded with Servair, executives from both subsidiaries have refused requests by UNITE HERE to discuss evidence of non-compliance with local living wage ordinances and substandard health and safety practices at some Flying Food Group operations.
In January 2015, 9 Flying Food workers in Los Angeles filed a class action lawsuit against their employer for allegedly not paying the living wage, claiming that the company has engaged in widespread violations of the municipal wage ordinance. UNITE HERE has also recently reviewed payroll records from early 2015 calling into question the company’s compliance with the living wage requirements at its Miami kitchen, which is co-owned and co-branded with Air France’s catering subsidiary, Servair.
In interviews and surveys with non-union Flying Food workers in Los Angeles, where both Air France and KLM are major clients, and at two Flying Food Servair joint ventures in Miami and Seattle, UNITE HERE found workers at all three sites who report relying on government anti-poverty programs to afford food and healthcare.
Workers in Los Angeles have complained of having to repeatedly work overtime hours—with some employees spending 12-hour shifts in refrigerated rooms—which prevents them from providing needed support to their families and loved ones. Others have described operating incinerators and ovens without masks or adequate protective gloves, while still others say malfunctioning drains leave them working in pools of water.
UNITE HERE first contacted Servair CEO Michel Emeyriat and Air France CEO Frederic Gagey in early February citing concerns about employment standards at Flying Food Group and highlighting the alleged wage violations at its Los Angeles kitchen.