Hit by a pandemic-related slowdown in business, airline catering company Get Gourmet plans to lay off 536 California employees next month, including 247 at Los Angeles International Airport.
Those cuts, along with another 289 at San Francisco International Airport, are due to take effect November 19.
Get Gourmet’s move follows similar layoffs by LSG Sky Chef, which is laying off an estimated 576 workers at airports in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Ana.
In a recent notice sent to the state’s Department of Employment Development, Jose Nunes, a business unit leader with Get Gourmet’s LA operations, said the company still faces COVID-19 related challenges.
He added that the summer travel season managed to rebound, but the airline catering industry is still “far behind other sectors of the larger airline ecosystem.”
“Government funding that has been instrumental in supporting additional employment beyond our business needs is running out,” he wrote, adding that the company can no longer maintain current employment levels at LAX.
The layoffs will affect a variety of Gate Gourmet positions at the airport, including 69 setup staff, 74 food prep staff, 20 lead porters, 46 dish-room attendants, 12 cooks, 17 storeroom helpers and two sous chefs.
All except six of the staff are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 572.
According to the collective bargaining agreement between Get Gourmet and Teamsters, laid-off union workers will have no right to displace other employees of lesser seniority, nor are they guaranteed to be called back to work after a certain period of time. .
“We never welcome layoffs,” said Jaime Villanueva, business representative for IBT Local 572. “But given the time we are in, the work is not there yet. We are still feeling the effects of COVID-19.”
Villanueva said some of the Gate Gourmet employees at LAX have relocated to other states where the company has opened new kitchens.
Headquartered in Switzerland, Get Gourmet serves more than 700 million passengers a year from 200 locations in more than 60 countries and territories around the world, according to the company’s website.
Data from Statistica shows that the number of passengers traveling to or from the US fell to 67 million in 2020, down 26.5% from the 253 million who flew in 2019. Passenger volume reached 106 million through July this year.