Miami International Airport Workers Won't Strike For The Holidays

Dec 23, 2014

Unite Here Local 355 members rallying outside of Miami International Airport on Dec. 12.
Credit Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

Miami International Airport restaurant workers settled on a contract with their employer Monday after a majority of union members voted to go on strike on Dec. 12.

The vote came about because employees were taking on more of their health care costs.

Wendi Walsh is treasurer for the union "UNITE HERE Local 355." She says the workers wanted to secure guaranteed wage increases for the next few years.

"The cost of health care continued to go up while the workers wages don't keep pace with that," she said.  

The strike would have meant 28 of MIA’s restaurants and bars -- Burger King, Starbucks, Heineken Bar and others -- would be shut down for the holidays.

UNITE HERE Local 355 hasn’t gone on strike in over 30 years. 

But after seven months of negotiating for better wages and health care benefits, the union reached a tentative agreement with its members' employer HMSHost. 

Negotiations took place at a hotel near the airport for about eight hours.

"Every body walked away feeling very good and that we can move forward in a really positive way," Walsh said. 

Employees will vote on the new contract at the airport Dec. 30, but Walsh feels very confident it will pass.