PRESS INQUIRIES

For Press Inquiries:
Maria Hernandez, Communications
(623) 340-8047 (mobile)
mhernandez {at} unitehere11 {dot} org

For Arizona Press Inquiries:
Rachele Smith, Communications
(623) 670-9889 (mobile)
rsmith {at} unitehere11 {dot} org

Some of the following press releases have been shortened and edited to avoid redundancy.

UNITE HERE Local 11 Backs Christy Holstege For State Assembly

UNITE HERE LOCAL 11 BACKS CHRISTY HOLSTEGE FOR STATE ASSEMBLY

Palm Springs Outgoing Mayor Endorsed by UNITE HERE Local 11 in Assembly District 42 Contest

PALM SPRINGS, CA – In a powerful indication of her support from working families in the race for Assembly District 42, today outgoing Palm Springs Outgoing Mayor Christy Holstege secured the endorsement of UNITE HERE Local 11.

UNITE HERE Local 11 represents over 32,000 hospitality workers employed in hotels, casinos, restaurants, airports, sports arenas, and convention centers throughout Southern California.

The hospitality workers’ union has a long history of organizing in the Coachella Valley, and is the hospitality local for Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.  In 2004, UNITE HERE leader Ada Briceño, who is today Co-President of Local 11, was arrested alongside United Farm Workers hero Dolores Huerta in an act of civil disobedience at a protest in downtown Palm Springs highlighting the working conditions of casino workers.

“At this crucial moment for labor, it’s critical that we have more leaders in Sacramento who have a record of delivering for working people,” said Briceño.  “That’s why UNITE HERE Local 11 is thrilled to support Christy Holstege for Assembly District 42. With her impressive record of uplifting workers’ rights as a civil rights attorney and on the Palm Springs City Council, we are confident that Christy will deliver good middle-class jobs and a fair economy for all in the State Legislature.”

​​Holstege also released the following statement reflecting on the influential endorsement:

“I’m deeply honored to have the support of the working families that make up UNITE HERE Local 11. They give a voice to the many voiceless working people in our communities fighting for better treatment and higher wages. As a civil rights attorney and local elected official who has fought to defend worker rights throughout my career, I am profoundly grateful for their support of my campaign for Assembly and look forward to working with UNITE HERE Local 11 to uplift working families in Sacramento.”

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UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union representing over 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona who work in hotels, restaurants, universities, convention centers, and airports.

BREAKING: HMS Host workers at Sky Harbor Announce Their Return to Work After 10-day Strike

Airport food workers will return to their jobs—and the negotiating table

PHOENIX, AZ –  On day ten of an indefinite strike, HMS Host workers at Sky Harbor airport announced their intention to return to work tomorrow, December 2, and to return to the negotiating table. 

Workers initiated their strike to highlight their demand for a new, comprehensive contract with fair raises, affordable health insurance, a company-paid retirement contribution, protections for workers’ tips, and strong contract language for equal opportunity and protection from discrimination. Workers with UNITE HERE Local 11 have been in negotiations with HMS Host since 2017. 

“Our intention with our strike was to bring more attention to the company’s stinginess after four years of negotiations, and to do it at a time when the company would be forced to recognize the value of our labor most—Thanksgiving,” said Victoria Stahl, barista in Terminal 4. “We did that and now we are ready to go back to the negotiating table.”

“It’s disgusting that I have to go to Mexico for medical care because the health insurance through the company doesn’t cover my treatment,” said Lucia Salinas, cook at Cowboy Ciao. “HMS Host saved more than $4 million on their rent during the pandemic thanks to rent relief from the City of Phoenix, but my family doesn’t get anything like that. Because we went on strike, now everyone can see what kind of company HMS Host is.” 

Over the course of the strike, the union filed numerous unfair labor practice charges against their employer for allegedly violating the workers’ rights to organize and strike. The charges, filed with the federal National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), allege that the company has interfered with workers’ federal labor rights by, among other conduct, questioning workers concerning whether they would be supporting the union and going on strike,  limiting speech in the workplace, and surveilling workers’ protected activity. 

“We want to thank the community for all of the support they showed us while we’ve been on strike,” said Beatriz Topete, organizing director with UNITE HERE Local 11 “The tweets from travelers, the thumbs up from other airport workers, the daily deliveries of food and drinks all kept us going. The generosity of our labor partners, especially the UFCW Local 99 and the Arizona AFL-CIO, made this Thanksgiving one we will remember for the rest of our lives. Solidarity means everything.”

HMS Host workers make up the largest group of food concessions workers at the Phoenix airport. HMS Host is the single largest concessionaire at Sky Harbor Airport, employing hundreds of workers in all Starbucks coffee shops at the airport and popular restaurants such as Barrio Cafe, Chelsea’s Kitchen, and SanTan Brewery. 

Along with issues like affordable healthcare and retiring with dignity, strikers plan to return to negotiations with a focus on ensuring equality at work on the basis of race, gender, age, and sexual orientation. On November 18, the union formally asked the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to investigate the company’s pay and promotion practices. In a complaint filed with the EEOC, the union alleged that during 2019 Black/African American workers were paid on average only 67% of the total earnings of white workers, taking home on average $9,539.49 less per year than white workers. Several individual HMS Host workers at Sky Harbor have also filed pending sex and age discrimination complaints with the EEOC. 

Click here to learn more about the strike and hear worker testimonials. 

 

As Indefinite Strike Rages On, UNITE HERE Local 11 Workers at Sky Harbor’s HMS Host File Federal Unfair Labor Practice Charges

Workers allege the company has engaged in coercive conduct in violation of labor laws
and asked the National Labor Relations Board to investigate

PHOENIX – On day five of an indefinite strike, HMS Host workers at Sky Harbor airport announced their union has filed unfair labor practice charges against their employer for allegedly violating the workers’ rights to organize and strike. The charges, filed with the federal National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), allege that the company has interfered with workers’ federal labor rights by, among other conduct, questioning workers concerning whether they would be supporting the union and going on strike, limiting speech in the workplace, and surveilling workers’ protected activity.

HMS Host workers make up the largest group of food concessions workers at the Phoenix airport. HMS Host is the single largest concessionaire at Sky Harbor Airport, employing hundreds of workers in all Starbucks coffee shops at the airport and popular restaurants such as Barrio Cafe, Chelsea’s Kitchen, and SanTan Brewery.

The pending charges filed this week and prior to the strike include allegations that:

  • The company has instructed certain workers that they are not allowed to speak about union-related issues at work.
  • The company has surveilled, or created the appearance of surveilling, workers’ federally protected union activity.
  • The company has threatened workers that participating in a strike without prior notice could result in discipline.
  • During the ongoing strike, management has instructed workers to retrieve their paychecks in person at a new location and then questioned the workers whether they would be going on strike.
  • The company instituted a new mobile ordering system at Starbucks that has increased the workload of baristas without providing the union with notice or an opportunity to bargain.

Workers are demanding a new, comprehensive contract with fair raises, affordable health insurance, a company-paid retirement contribution, protections for workers’ tips, and strong contract language for equal opportunity and protection from discrimination. Workers with UNITE HERE Local 11 have been in negotiations with HMS Host since 2017. Delays in settling a contract mean delays in wage increases and official COVID safety protocols during a global pandemic. On November 18th, after almost four years of negotiations and no contract, workers voted overwhelmingly to authorize the strike.

This June, UNITE HERE Local 11 filed an unfair labor practice charge alleging that Host management directed two Starbucks baristas to remove their “Black Lives Matter” masks, which workers had decided to wear as part of an effort to advance racial equity at the company. After a regional office of the NLRB investigated, Host agreed to settle the charge by pledging to employees that it will not prohibit workers from wearing Black Lives Matter masks.

Concerns about racial justice have featured prominently at HMS Host. On November 18, the union formally asked the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to investigate the company’s pay and promotion practices. In a complaint filed with the EEOC, the union alleged that during 2019 Black/African American workers were paid on average only 67% of the total earnings of white workers, taking home on average $9,539.49 less than white workers. In 2020, UNITE HERE issued a report alleging a $1.85 median hourly wage gap between Black and white baristas at Starbucks facilities operated by Host at airports across the country. Several individual HMS Host workers at Sky Harbor have also filed pending sex and age discrimination complaints with the EEOC.

ADVISORY: Indefinite Strike by Sky Harbor HMS Host Workers Will Continue Through Thanksgiving

Solidarity with strikers continues to grow as HMS Host remains obstinate 

Phoenix – On a day many reserve for gratitude and gathering with family, HMS Host workers will continue to picket, chant and hold a drum line at Sky Harbor. Workers have been on strike since Monday when they announced their indefinite walkout. The strike will impact travelers arriving and departing from Terminals 3 and 4. 

Thanksgiving Day, workers will have a special program to give thanks to each other and for the solidarity of the community.

ADVISORY: Sky Harbor HMS Host Workers’ Indefinite Strike Reaches Day 3

Airport concessions worker strike continues into busiest travel day of the year

Phoenix – HMS Host workers’ indefinite strike will reach its third day just one day before Thanksgiving, reportedly the busiest travel day of the year. Striking workers will continue to picket, chant and hold a drum line in protest of HMS Host’s unwillingness to agree to their demands for a fair labor contract. The strike will impact travelers arriving and departing from Terminals 3 and 4. 

On Tuesday, striking workers were joined by State Senator Martin Quezada (LD29) and State Representatives Reginald Bolding (LD27) and Melody Hernandez (LD26) on the picket line. 

Monday, workers walked out and joined an energized picket line and rally outside Terminal 4. Workers were joined by local community groups, labor allies, and elected officials

Tuesday Marks Day 2 of Sky Harbor HMS Host Workers’ Indefinite Strike

Days before Thanksgiving holiday, airport concessions workers remain firm: no agreement, no work 

Phoenix – After a successful walkout on Monday, HMS Host workers at Sky Harbor Airport will remain on an indefinite strike Tuesday. The strike continues to impact travelers arriving and departing in both Terminals 3 and 4.

HMS Host workers make up the largest group of food concessions workers at the Phoenix airport. HMS Host is the single largest concessionaire at Sky Harbor Airport, employing hundreds of workers in over two dozen restaurant and coffee shop outlets.

Host operates all Starbucks coffee shops at the airport and popular restaurants such as Barrio Cafe, Chelsea’s Kitchen, and SanTan Brewery.

Workers are demanding a new, comprehensive contract with fair raises, affordable health insurance, a company-paid retirement contribution, protections for workers’ tips, and strong contract language for equal opportunity and protection from discrimination. Workers with UNITE HERE Local 11 have been in negotiations with HMS Host since 2017. Delays in settling a contract mean delays in wage increases and official COVID safety protocols during a global pandemic.

BREAKING: Sky Harbor HMS Host Workers Begin Indefinite Strike Monday 

Phoenix airport concessions workers announce walkout ahead of the busiest travel week of the year 

Phoenix – HMS Host workers at Sky Harbor Airport will strike early Monday morning. The strike will impact travelers arriving and departing in both Terminals 3 and 4.

HMS Host workers make up the largest group of food concessions workers at the Phoenix airport. HMS Host is the single largest concessionaire at Sky Harbor Airport, employing hundreds of workers in over two dozen restaurant and coffee shop outlets. 

Host operates all Starbucks coffee shops at the airport and popular restaurants such as Barrio Cafe, Chelsea’s Kitchen, and SanTan Brewery. 

Workers are demanding a new, comprehensive contract with fair raises, affordable health insurance, a company-paid retirement contribution, protections for workers’ tips, and strong contract language for equal opportunity and protection from discrimination. Workers with UNITE HERE Local 11 have been in negotiations with HMS Host since 2017. Delays in settling a contract mean delays in wage increases and official COVID safety protocols during a global pandemic. 

After almost four years of negotiations and no contract, workers voted overwhelmingly to authorize the strike Thursday. 

Workers are prepared to strike indefinitely until HMS Host agrees to settle a contract that meets their demands. 

 

STRIKE ALERT: Ahead of Busy Travel Season, Sky Harbor HMS Host Workers Vote 97% to Authorize Strike

BREAKING NEWS: 11/19/2021

Phoenix airport concessions workers may announce an indefinite walkout any day following overwhelming vote in favor of strike

Phoenix: HMS Host workers at Sky Harbor Airport voted 97% Thursday in favor of authorizing a strike. The authorization comes just one week before the Thanksgiving holiday, after almost four years of negotiations and no contract. Workers have not yet announced a date for the strike to begin.

HMS Host is the single largest concessionaire at Sky Harbor Airport employing hundreds of workers in over two dozen restaurant and coffee shop outlets. A strike would impact travelers arriving and departing in both Terminal 3 and 4.

“We are ready to do whatever it takes for however long it takes to win what we deserve: fair raises, health insurance that we can actually afford, and a pension,” said barista Victoria Stahl. “There is no reason that HMS Host cannot do these things. It’s disrespectful of the hard work that my coworkers and I have put in through the pandemic. They’ve rejected our proposals at the bargaining table and if this is what we need to do for them to listen, we’re ready.”

Workers are demanding a new, comprehensive contract with fair raises, affordable health insurance, a company-paid retirement contribution, protections for workers’ tips, and strong contract language for equal opportunity and protection from discrimination. Workers with UNITE HERE Local 11 have been in negotiations with HMS Host since 2017. Delays in settling a contract mean delays in wage increases and official COVID safety protocols during a global pandemic.

“I voted yes to authorize a strike because I have worked for HMS Host for 27 years and I still don’t have a pension,” said cook Santos Mojica. “I want to know that I will be able to afford to retire in dignity when I can no longer work.”

“I voted yes to authorize a strike because I spend over $350 a month for health insurance and my medication. It isn’t fair that I have to go to Mexico for medical treatment that the company insurance plan won’t cover. Host still hasn’t agreed in bargaining to make health insurance affordable for us and our families. I don’t want to see my raises spent to keep up with the rising cost of my insurance. That isn’t right,” said Lucia Salinas, a cook for 17 years with HMS Host.