Impending Strike Threatens In-Flight Meals For Travelers Departing Pearson Airport

Underpaid and overworked, over 800 workers at airline catering company Gate Gourmet have voted 98.8% in favour of strike action.

Toronto, April 9, 2024 – Over 800 workers at Gate Gourmet in Toronto could go on strike as early as Tuesday, April 16, according to Teamsters Local Union 647. The workers are tasked with cooking, packing and delivering meals, snacks, beverages, and other supplies to planes for in-flight service.

A strike at the company could mean no food and beverages on many flights out of Toronto Pearson Airport this month.

“We are in a cost-of-living crisis, but Gate Gourmet is ignoring their employees’ families’ basic needs and won’t agree to pay workers a living wage. We’re going on strike unless this company steps up to the plate and finally acknowledges how expensive life has gotten,” said lead union negotiator and president of Teamsters Local Union 647, Martin Cerqua.

Workers at Gate Gourmet in Toronto are paid well below industry standards. The union is seeking to close the gap.

The company also slashed staffing levels since the pandemic, leading to a rise in workplace accidents as employees struggle to maintain productivity levels. At least seven hi-lift truck drivers have been injured in the past three months, and many more since the change.

“Our members like their jobs and want to work, but not at any cost. Safety and dignity are paramount,” added Cerqua. “Gate Gourmet thinks they can put profits over people, with no consequences. But their corporate greed means passengers might go hungry.”

Gate Gourmet is by far the largest airline catering company operating out of Toronto. Airlines affected by a potential strike include Air Canada, West Jet, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, Air India, Aero Mexico, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, and Jetlines.

Teamsters Local Union 647 represents approximately 3000 food industry workers across Ontario.

At over 125,000 members, Teamsters Canada is the country’s largest transportation and supply chain union. They are affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which represents over 1.2 million workers in North America.

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Media requests:

Christopher Monette
Director of Public Affairs, Teamsters Canada
Cell: 514-226-6002
cmonette@teamsters.ca

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