Sunday, March 8, 2009

De- UNITE and no longer HERE

By Terry Bankert, 3/8/08

Posted First to Blogging for Michigan

UPDATE ON “UNITE HERE” VOTE, some will be left here and others will unite elsewhere, possibly SEIU.

I found little coverage for possibly the most important vote in organized big labor this year. I will run with the press release today. I have archives parked at-

15 UNITE HERE Joint Boards Vote to Disaffiliate from the International Union

NEW YORK, March 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Thousands of union members, representing 150,000 workers, gathered today to vote on disaffiliation from the UNITE HERE International Union. Delegates and elected leaders represent workers in the apparel, textile, laundry, food service and hospitality industries, including nearly 40,000 members of the former HERE.
"This vote was an important step that takes our union in the right direction," said Edgar Romney, Manager of the New York Metropolitan Area Joint Board. "Our joint board's elected leaders voted to end our affiliation with UNITE HERE. In so doing, we can move ahead toward forming a new union - one that better serves its members and one that empowers those that do not yet have a union."
"Our merger with the former HERE was a total failure. Their way of operating was authoritarian, secretive, and undemocratic. John Wilhelm and his faction worked to disenfranchise the workers on the UNITE side of the union and gain control of the resources those workers helped to build," said Cristina Vazquez, Manager of the Western States Regional Joint Board.
"For years, our shop was neglected and our contracts weren't negotiated properly. Since we affiliated with the PA Joint Board, all that has changed. Our members are now organized and involved and together we won our best contract ever. We need to protect what we have achieved and keep moving forward," said Joyce Gromley, a member of Aramark Local 57, based in Pittsburgh.
"I want to get back to what we should be doing. We want to work as hard as we possibly can to ensure that our members get good contracts that put food on the table. We also want to be a part of the movement to organize more workers than ever before and bring the benefits of union membership to any worker who seeks them. Today is part of a much larger effort to grow and empower the middle class," said Lynne Fox, Manager of the Philadelphia Joint Board.
Today's vote was the largest and broadest in the union's history, involving workers across the nation. The process is democratic, and embodies the spirit of what the labor movement is working towards -- giving workers a bigger voice in choosing their destinies.
"Our members deserve a union that's better than the one they have been in for the past five years. We have a moment - right now - to move in a new direction. We can fight for good wages and a secure retirement. We can fight for safe workplaces. And we will work with the Obama administration, the new Congress, and others to pass the Employee Free Choice Act and other legislation that helps working people," said Romney.

SOURCE New York Metropolitan Joint Board SEE

Posted Here By Terry Bankert 3/8/09
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