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Hospitality workers at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport vote on whether to strike

A vote taking place Thursday could potentially impact service at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.  

One week before Thanksgiving, members of Unite Here Local 11 are being asked to authorize a strike. The cooks and food servers, bartenders and baristas work for HMS Host, which operates two dozen food and beverage outlets at the airport. The union says contract negotiations have dragged on for four years while the company has received millions in rent relief during the pandemic.

During a city subcommittee meeting Wednesday, Phoenix Aviation Director Chad Makovsky said adequate staffing remains a challenge for most restaurants and coffee shops.

“And in many cases, they’ll have a good week and bring on board a number of employees and then they’ll have a tough week where a number of employees resigned to take on other opportunities,” he said.

Makovsky said the aviation department is working to speed up the security badging process by adding temporary staff and expanding hours. Earlier this week, the airport held a job fair for more than 15 companies doing business at Sky Harbor. Makovsky had no official numbers to provide to the subcommittee but said he’d heard about 35 to 40 job offers were made.

In a press release, Unite Here Local 11 said no date has been chosen to strike.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.