Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Unions: A Closer Look at UNITE HERE

Aside from a glowing endorsement to Randy Parraz's failed Senate campaign, UNITE HERE has been an active force on a national scale.

UNITE HERE is a labor union in the United States and Canada with more than 265,000 active members.  The union's members work predominately in the hotel, food service, laundry, warehouse, and casino gaming industries. The union was formed in 2004 by the merger of UNITE (formerly the Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees) and HERE (Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union).

In 2005, UNITE HERE withdrew from the AFL-CIO and joined the Change to Win Federation along with several other unions, including the Teamsters, SEIU and the UFCW.  In May 2009 union president Bruce Raynor (originally from UNITE) left UNITE HERE, taking with him numerous local unions and between 105,000 and 150,000 members, mostly garment workers. They formed a new  SEIU affiliate called Workers United.

On September 17, 2009, UNITE HERE announced that it would re-affiliate with the AFL-CIO.

Parraz was working for the AFL-CIO during the same time UNITE HERE was formed in 2004.  Parraz also has ties to the UFCW (United Food and Commerical Workers). 

New Haven, CT 2005

Phoenix 2006

Chicago 2009

San Francisco 2009

Members of UNITE HERE travelled to the state to participate in the Arizona protest of SB1070 July 29 2010 march.

Members of UNITE HERE Local 11 in Los Angeles will be among more than 550 members of Los Angeles unions, faith, and community groups, who will travel in a long caravan of 11 chartered buses bound for Phoenix on the day SB 1070 is scheduled to go into effect.

...Petra Falcon, director of Promise Arizona and one of the event's Arizona hosts, says she helped arrange the visit because "we believe it is extraordinarily important to look at the passage of SB 1070 and other similar legislation in the context of the continued struggles of all working people in Arizona, and of our state and federal lawmakers' failure to address those struggles."

As stated before, UNITE HERE contributed $20,000 to Raquel Teran and Petra Falcon's Promise Arizona en Accion (PAZ) the day that it was registered with the Arizona Secretary of State's office in September 2011.  This was after the candidate, Jerry Lewis, emerged to run against sitting Senate President, Russell Pearce.

The funds from this organization were used to "defeat Pearce" by encouraging people to vote for Jerry Lewis.