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IN BRIEF / California

Union Says Worker Fired for Criticism

June 25, 2002|Nancy Cleeland

Union representatives said a worker was fired from an airline catering job in retaliation for criticizing his employer in a Los Angeles Times story on the hazards of accelerated production. Officials with LSG Sky Chefs, the largest in-flight meal producer in the world, did not return calls for comment.

Jorge Gamboa, who worked in the company's Inglewood kitchen for 13 years, was fired when he reported on time for his 2 a.m. shift Monday. He said a company official said the dismissal was for tardiness.

Gamboa said he arrived 30 minutes late a week earlier, and 43 minutes late in May, but otherwise had a good record. He said he called both times to say he would be delayed.

Within hours of the firing, Noel Rodriguez, a local representative of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees union, and 35 employees met with managers of the Inglewood kitchen to demand Gamboa's reinstatement, but said they were told he would not be rehired.

Rodriguez said he will file a grievance. The union has been in contract negotiations with Sky Chefs for two years.

In the June 19 article, Gamboa said he had been threatened with dismissal for failing to keep up with what he called unrealistic production goals of filling 180 meal trays an hour. He said he strained his elbow trying to maintain the speed and had to take pain relievers to continue working. The company denied the claims.

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Nancy Cleeland

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