Statement From HMSHost After Union Abruptly Ends Strike
It is once again business as usual at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport after Unite Here Local 11 decided to abandon the picket lines as support diminished for a strike among its members.
On November 22nd United Here Local 11 called the unpopular strike against HMSHost which operates numerous restaurants at Sky Harbor. The impact of the strike was minimal as most restaurants stayed open and 88% of HMSHost associates stayed on the job. Indeed, the Union brought in picketers from California just to staff its own picket lines.
HMSHost is pleased the Union decided to end the strike so that the company and its valued employees can serve the traveling public during this busy holiday season. HMSHost has always been ready to get back to the negotiating table and conclude this process so it can give its employees the many benefits it has proposed.
In addition to raising pay to as much as $15 per hour for many positions in November, HMSHost has a lucrative offer on the table for its employees which includes additional wage increases effective as of May 2021 and reduced healthcare costs. In fact, since the union walked away from bargaining in 2018, HMSHost had already increased employee pay by 16% and reduced employee healthcare premiums without a new contract.
Regardless of the top-tier wages and benefits offered by the company, HMSHost believes wages and benefits were never the reason for the strike. Rather, the company believes the Union was trying to pressure HMSHost to abandon its popular 401(k) program that is available to all employees in favor of a California pension fund that would exclude a large portion of the company’s workforce. Unite Here Local 11 does not have a single Arizona employer in a pension fund. If HMSHost agreed to this pension, an employee must work five full calendar years for HMSHost before being eligible to receive any money from the proposed pension fund. Indeed, 60% of HMSHost associates at Sky Harbor have worked for the company for less than five full calendar years and thus stand to gain nothing from the union’s offer. Adopting the California pension plan would in reality force Arizona workers to subsidize pension participants in California.
“We are always focused on win-wins for our workers and the traveling public and we hope the Union comes to share this goal. It’s time to put all of this behind us and work together for the benefit of workers, travelers and Sky Harbor. Our hand is outstretched to the Union to help achieve this together,” said HMSHost Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer Laura E. FitzRandolph.