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Logan food workers vote unanimously to authorize strike

(David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)

Workers who prepare food for passengers on American, United, and dozens of other airlines at Logan Airport voted unanimously Thursday to authorize a strike if their employer, LSG Sky Chefs, doesn’t agree to a $15 wage floor and more affordable health care coverage. This follows a vote by Gate Gourmet workers at Logan earlier this week unanimously authorizing a strike.

Like other railroad and airline workers, the workers would have to first be cleared to strike by the National Mediation Board, which is far from certain.

In all, more than 20,000 workers at airports in 21 cities are voting this month on approving a work stoppage at Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet, the biggest airline catering companies in the country. It is thought to be the largest vote of its kind in the history of the US airline catering industry. The final vote takes place on June 20 in Chicago.

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It’s unclear if the Republican-controlled mediation board would approve a strike, but even if workers don’t walk off the job, they have the ability to disrupt the national air travel system as the summer travel season kicks into high gear. The workers could adopt a tactic used by other transportation unions in which they only perform work required by their contract and adhere precisely to safety regulations — taking care not to cross the line into an illegal job action. This could slow down the process of getting food and drinks onto planes and have a ripple effect on the airlines’ carefully orchestrated schedules.

In Boston, 345 workers are employed by Sky Chefs, represented by Unite Here Local 26, and 300 work for Gate Gourmet, represented by Teamsters Local 25.


Katie Johnston can be reached at katie.johnston@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @ktkjohnston.