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SFO airport workers end strike, win better pay and free health care

Fast food workers are on strike Monday morning at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO),according to the union representing the workers, in San Francisco, Calif., on Sept. 26, 2022. | Justin Katigbak for the SF Standard.

One thousand workers at San Francisco International Airport’s restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and lounges have won “significant raises and free family healthcare” after a strike, their union has announced.

The workers shut down much of the airport’s food and beverage outlets during the three-day strike.

The strike ended at midnight, and workers are back on the job Thursday, their union says.

A tentative deal for a new union contract was reached late last night by the hospitality workers’ union UNITE HERE Local 2 and the consortium of SFO airport restaurants; it was unanimously approved by the union’s bargaining committee of 80 airport restaurant workers, an email release from Local 2 said.

Details of the agreement will be released to the public following a ratification vote by the full workforce on Sunday.

“This strike was so worth it to give my family a better life,” said Blanca Gay, a snack bar attendant at SFO for 30 years and Local 2 bargaining committee member. “My son is in college, but he had to switch from full-time to part-time just so he could work. With the raises we won, I can help my son go back to school full-time. All the hard work and sacrifice of the strike has paid off for my family.”

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) Fast food workers started striking Monday, Sept. 26, 2022 through the airport terminals. A tentative deal for a new union contract was reached on Wednesday, Sept. 28th by the hospitality workers’ union and the consortium of SFO airport restaurants providing restaurant workers with significant raises and free family healthcare. | Justin Katigbak for the SF Standard.

“This victory shows the world that fast-food jobs can in fact be good, family-sustaining jobs, and it’s all because workers had the courage to strike,” said Local 2 president Anand Singh. “After three years without a raise, SFO’s fast-food workers were tired of working two or even three jobs just to survive – so they took their lives into their own hands and won a better future.”

The strike included one thousand cashiers, baristas, cooks, dishwashers, bartenders, servers, and lounge attendants at 84 food and beverage outlets throughout SFO.

According to Local 2, the majority make $17.05 per hour and had not seen a raise in three years. If approved, the contract would expire in August 2025.

“I am thrilled that both parties have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract,” said SFO Airport director Ivar C. Satero. “This new contract provides competitive pay and benefits, allowing our food workers to continue delivering the world-class airport experience that travelers love. I appreciate the commitment from both the union and restaurant operators that made this outcome possible.”

Joe Burn can be reached at