INGLEWOOD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement issued a citation totaling $1.2 million to Flying Food Group, alleging that the airline catering company failed to properly recall workers to their former positions at its Inglewood and San Francisco facilities, in violation of state law SB-93.
Flying Food Group workers filed complaints alleging that Flying Food Group hired new employees or recalled new employees in lieu of recalling more senior members of the workforce that were laid off on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the statute, the company was obligated to make offers of recall to qualified employees in order of their hire date. The law provides job protection to some 700,000 housekeepers, airline catering workers, cooks, waiters and other workers across the state.
“This law was intended to end the displacement of workers during the pandemic due to no fault of their own and that’s exactly what we are pursuing in this case,” said Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower. “Workers invested up to 10 years in this employer and employer failed to rehire them pursuant to the law. We will continue this case until workers are made whole.”
Sonia Ceron, a dishwasher at Flying Food Group, said, “When I heard Flying Food Group was recalling workers, I immediately went to the office, only to learn that the company had hired new workers instead of recalling me. The delay in recall was very hard on my daughter and me. I’m glad to see the Labor Commissioner stepping in to make sure our rights are protected.”
The citation represents the fourth time that Flying Food Group has been cited for violations of labor laws within the past 12 months.
Earlier this month, Cal/OSHA issued six citations to Flying Food Group for violations of worker health and safety protections. In one citation, the agency charged that Flying Food Group had failed to ensure all required exits were unobstructed in case of an emergency.
Cal/OSHA’s citation came in response to a complaint filed by four Flying Food Group workers, alleging that on February 2, management locked multiple exit doors—including by screwing at least one door shut with a metal plate—on a day when workers planned to hold a picket line protest outside the facility.
On May 3, the California Highway Patrol similarly found that Flying Food Group had violated truck licensing requirements and cited the company for its failure to properly inspect and maintain vehicles.
And finally, the Bureau of Contract Administration, which enforces the city’s Living Wage Ordinance, found Flying Food Group and its subcontractors in violation of the minimum wage on at least four occasions within the past year.
Susan Minato, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11, the hospitality workers’ union that represents the workers at the facility, said, “Flying Food Group has continued to engage in rampant lawbreaking and to treat its veteran workers like they are disposable. This kind of behavior is not only immoral, but as the agency’s massive citation shows, it can also be illegal. I commend the Labor Commissioner for conducting such a thorough investigation and showing that our worker protection laws have real teeth.”
UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union representing more than 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona that work in hotels, restaurants, universities, stadiums, sports arenas, convention centers and airports.