PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Workers for one of the largest concessionaire companies are deciding Thursday on whether they'll walk out ahead of the busiest travel season of the year. 

HMS Host workers are seeking a new contract with the company. Union employees say they're seeking out fair raises, affordable health insurance, and protections for workers' tips. "We're just sick and tired of being disrespected, and not heard. To us, going back to work unless we're treated the way we should be isn't an option," said Victoria Stahl, a Starbucks barista.

The vote on whether to authorize a strike comes just two months after workers conducted a one-day strike focused on what they called an understaffing crisis. UNITE HERE Local 11 previously said they had been working with the City of Phoenix, which owns the spaces used by HMS Host, to solve the staffing problem. "It's frankly insulting, that they don't want to make these honestly minor concessions that would go a long way to taking this job to a really great job for the working people that do it," said Ari Berriong-Huber, a Barrio Cafe restaurant host. "There are folks at my restaurant that have been here three to four decades of their life. The idea that after 40 years, we don't have a retirement fund, it's ridiculous."

In a statement to Arizona's Family, a spokesperson for HMS Host said that they are offering a "substantial" wage increase and increased benefits, including covering 90% of a worker's health care costs. HMS Host says they're offering a 12% wage increase and paid out an "appreciation bonus" of up to $800 per employee. The company also says they offering positions all of their employee who had been laid off because of the pandemic.

"Their actions will only hurt an already strained workforce," the company said. HMS Hosts adds that local union members only make up less than half of hourly employees working at Sky Harbor's concession stands.

HMS Host told Arizona's Family that they have already held multiple jobs fairs and partnered with Works for Warriors and Youth Academy graduates in an effort to keep concession stands staffed. "I would expect that any type of resolution is not going to be a total win, that whatever they are going to come to the table and resolve, that it's still going to leave employees wanting a bit," said Joshua Black, an employment attorney.

UNITE HERE Local 11 has not announced a strike date should workers vote in favor of the strike. Ballots are being cast until 5 p.m. Thursday.


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