United Continental catering workers vote to join union


Catering employees at United Continental Holdings Inc. have voted to join the Unite Here union, marking the last group of front-line employees at the carrier to seek labor representation. The vote was announced by the National Mediation Board, with 72 percent of those eligible to vote supporting the effort.
Overall, Chicago-based United has about 2,900 catering employees who work at kitchens in four United hubs—Denver, Houston, Newark, New Jersey and San Francisco—as well as in Cleveland and Honolulu. Almost 2,200 workers were eligible to participate and more than 1,700 voted, according to a union spokeswoman.
United acquired the work group in its merger with Continental Airlines; other US carriers have outsourced their on-board catering functions to contractors such as Gate Gourmet International AG and LSG Sky Chefs.
United also uses such companies for some of its catering needs. About 80 percent of United’s 88,000 employees are represented by a union.
United said it’s “committed to treating all of our employees with dignity and respect, and the outcome of this election does not change that.” The company added that it has “a strong track record” of working closely with unions.
During the organisation drive, Unite Here and the airline both filed complaints with the National Mediation Board alleging improper actions by the other side. The board rejected both parties’ allegations.

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