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Sky Harbor concession workers strike amid Thanksgiving rush

Travelers passing through Sky Harbor this Thanksgiving may see picket lines outside the airport. Hundreds of concession workers are on strike.

The company SSP America employs about 400 servers, bartenders, baristas, cooks and other workers across many Sky Harbor restaurants and concessions. Workers have become concerned their employer is shifting toward self-serve kiosks and QR codes.

“SSP America is attempting to automate jobs, and we’re worried that that takes away work opportunities and tip opportunities from workers,” said Victoria Stahl, a spokesperson for Unite Here Local 11, the union representing the workers. "Workers just want to be respected, they want their jobs to be secure and protected."

Stahl said workers plan to continue striking at Sky Harbor through the holiday weekend.

SSP America did not respond to a request for comment.

Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.