U.S. airline kitchen workers protest for better pay, healthcare at Seattle airport

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SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- More than 100 airline kitchen workers staged a funeral-like protest Tuesday night at the Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) International Airport in Washington state to demand higher pay and better health care, a workers' union said.

The protesters carried coffins to march in the procession to ask for a minimum 16 U.S. dollars an hour and are employees of Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines, the two largest airlines at the Sea-Tac airport, via contracts with their employers, LSG Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet, the Seattle Times reported.

Unite Here Local 8, a hospitality workers union of the U.S. Northwest that represents workers of hotels, food and airport services, expressed strong support for the protesting catering workers.

"Airline catering workers who provide food & beverage aboard commercial flights departing from Sea-Tac are out to send a message to airlines such as @AmericanAir that they can't wait any longer for better wages & health care!," it tweeted.

"Healthcare is a human right! Medical debt & unaffordable health care shouldn't be the reality for any worker in the billion-dollar airline industry," added the union.

It said many food workers can not afford expensive employer health care plans and have to look for one more job to support them and their families.

"We depend on airline catering workers to get our flights out on time. They should earn a living wage & affordable healthcare w/o having to protest at airports," the union said.

The demonstration, which is part of a nationwide protest called by airline catering workers two days before Thanksgiving Day, which falls on Nov. 28 this year, was timed with one of the busiest air travel days of the year.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration estimated early this month that about 2.7 million people would pass through airports around the Thanksgiving holiday this year. Enditem

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