HMSHost employees at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport marked their fourth day of being on strike on Thursday, and organizers said workers are prepared to do so "indefinitely" until their demands are met.
The vote to authorize the strike was held last week, with 97% of employees voting in favor of the measure after four years of negotiations with HMSHost.
Workers began striking on Monday in search of a contract with "fair raises, affordable health insurance, a company-paid retirement contribution, protections for workers' tips, and strong contract language for equal opportunity and protection from discrimination," according to a Thursday news release from Unite Here Local 11, the labor union representing the airport's HMSHost employees.
Workers continued to picket and chant at the airport on Thursday and were also expected to have a program to "give thanks to each other and for the solidarity of the community" in honor of Thanksgiving, the union said.
It comes one day after the union called for a federal investigation into alleged racial pay gaps.
'Incredibly difficult': Sky Harbor Airport concessions worker discusses decision to strike
The union said it filed a 13-page complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging in part that Black workers on average made 67% of the total earnings of white workers in 2019 and that Latinx workers took home on average 78% of the total earnings of white workers.
The calculations were made based on company data for employees whose race or ethnicity and compensation information was provided, the union said, adding that additional disparities were found and "have continued during the pandemic."
HMSHost did not return The Arizona Republic's request for comment on Wednesday but provided a statement on Thursday saying it "categorically denies the union's claim."
"Our wages are determined by the collective bargaining agreement," the company said. "HMSHost pays the wages agreed to and voted upon by the union."
Unite Here Local 11 said the ongoing strike would affect travelers arriving and departing from Terminals 3 and 4.
Sky Harbor spokesperson Heather Shelbrack said Thursday marks the "least busy day of the Thanksgiving travel period." As of 12:45 p.m. the wait time for all security checkpoints was under eight minutes, she said.
"The strike activities continue to affect less than 10% of the restaurants that would normally be open," Shelbrack said, adding that one Starbucks store in Terminal 3 and another in Terminal 4 remained closed on Thursday.
Earlier in the week, HMSHost said passengers could expect more prepackaged foods and self-pay kiosks as the company does "whatever it takes to minimize any inconvenience over this busy holiday travel time."
Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral today.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: HMSHost employees' strike at Sky Harbor continues into Thanksgiving