Will UNITE HERE split open up rifts in CLC?

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While doing a google search, I came upon this comment about Unite Here and this website.  After reading each and everyone's response, I just had to register and add my own "2 cents".  Just to let you know alittle about myself first.  I am a unionized worker and a member of Unite Here.  Before the merger of the two unions, I was a member of H.E.R.E.  I am letting you know this so all of the readers can accertain whether I have direct or indirect interests in writing here and if I have a prejudicial or alterior motive in my comments.  I would like to think that I have neither of the afore mentioned.

A union was created to protect the employee's from maybe a few employers who did not realize that their prioty task is to take care of the employee's first and to let the employee's do the job task at hand.

There are some businesses where management have been properly hired and trained to do their job.  When this is present, a unionized workforce is not necessary.  In St. Catharines, this may just be the case of Local 2347.  Of course, we realize that many management have not been properly schooled in this philosphy, due to the many different Unions and Locals that are present in the workforce.

I must try to keep this brief, so as not to lose anyone's interest in this subject.  I am finding this very hard to do here.  In my own personal interactions with H.E.R.E., I found both positive and negative aspects of the Union.  After the merger, I also found both positive and negative aspects of the new Union.  To list these experiences with both the old and new Unions would seem to be inappropriate.  If I myself, can see the problems that existed and still exist, then the current management team of the Union have failed to run this marriage properly for whatever reasons they may or may not have.  However the battle being currently staged ends up, the worker will still be the loser and won't benefit until these problems that exist are corrected.  Before the merger, I noticed that the unionized employee's needs were not being addressed fully and to their own satisfaction.  Time lines were not being met.  After the merger, I noticed that the unionized employee's needs were finally being addressed, union stewards were being trained and meetings starting to be created more often.  The employee's finally had more to say in the Union that they, themselves created.  The new Union looked to be growing and learning from each other.

Now, as a very special man once said, "Now you know the rest of the story", here it comes.  And I know I must be careful in my words here.

There may already be individuals for Unite and for H.E.R.E., that are engaged in the divorce of Unite Here.  You know who you may be.  You may of failed to protect the rights and future of the workers that did not speak or could not speak for themselves.  You may have taken upon your own agenda to prosper at the cost of others and in the process, may of hurt the very workers you were put there to protect.  Take a moment, and reflect back upon the things you may have said or done.  When the next meeting or negotiation comes to fruition, THINK!  Think of the worker.  You, and only you, may be able to make a difference.  For if you cannot see this, then marriage or divorce, it won't matter in the end.  You will walk away from this without learning and we all lose.  There is no magical "undo" arrow where you can erase the past but there is still the future which has not been written.

Good Luck,

Unionized Worker


To Rogerk why do you mention St Catharines and Local 2347. If you're from Niagara and especially the Falls you should know the fear of lay off and no recall if you talk Union.....St Catharines is a bump in our road and not the only place we organized as a Local..Today a first contract is being negotiated....We have had successes maybe not thousands organized but quite sure it was more then Local 75 has organized and in fact I keep reading about Local 2347 and St Catharines and yet nothing about  Local 75. How many properties have they lost ...Or lack of organizing done by them.....

Getting back to the fear factor it is real and does exist. One tourism operator I worked for threatened to shut the restaurant down if we tried to get a union in. Another hotel I worked at in Niagara Falls fired a person and yes said they fired him for trying to organize a union....Yes they paid him....

I don't believe Local 2347 is the only Local or Union for that matter that hasn't run into this bump in the road.....As I said we do have successes and you never know St Catharines may very well turn out to be a success..If not Local 2347 unionized by any Union at least .....

It's a shame there isn't a magic undo button....Quite sure Local 75 would have used it last year to leave Ontario Council.........

stop raiding

"An SEIU 'invasion'?"



Excerpt re SEIU spokersperson commenting on their involvement:

"They do, however, "have some organizers on the ground in Pennsylvania to defend some of the bargaining units there from attacks from HERE," she said. In particular, she said, they're defending the units from attempts to decertify them -- that is, push them out of the larger union, adding that at least some of those units work with SEIU under Service Workers United agreements. [HERE's Weiss disputes that last assertion, which Ringuette says the issue may not have been decertification, but said that their goal is only to "maintain the status quo" and defend the UNITE side."

stop raiding

Let's hope that SEIU Canada does not attempt to "defend the Unite side" by allocating resources and thus further exacerbating the relationship between SEIU and UNITE HERE.

As unionfriend poignantly stated in the initial post to this thread that:

Stewart must know that if SEIU Canada is seen as raiding, or assisting to, raid a CLC affiliate it will provoke calls for SEIU’s expulsion from the CLC. Other unions, especially the CAW, would probably be more than happy to see SEIU lose the anti-raiding shield of the CLC.

It would be a sad irony that after rebuilding from the raids of the late 90’s SEIU Canada could see itself facing the same charges that it leveled against the CAW. The difference this time is that if removed from the CLC, SEIU would undoubtedly face raids from CLC affiliates interested in gaining members from SEIU.


It's a bit...crass? but a very detailed, and often funny, blog that covers both the UHW situation and the emerging SEIU interference in the UNITE HERE internal debate: http://www.perezstern.blogspot.com/  

 To date SEIU Canada and its Ontario locals have had nothing to do with this, as far as I know.  After all, they've taken a leadership role against raiding.


@ Vivienne

It sounds like you really don't like Local 75 of UNITE HERE. I'm interested to know why this is such a big deal, since your Local is under the Ontario Council. You obviously have a lot of anger towards Local 75, but I'm wondering why there's a problem if you're no longer under that Local. In fact, it sounds like by moving to the Niagara Local, your own personal concerns with your old Local 75 were addressed pretty well! Where is the dictatorship or favourtism there?

IMO this isn't divorce fight, where two side want to split up and are fighting over resources. Rather, there is a minority faction of the union, led by a small inner circle of leaders, who are trying to peel away members, assets and resources in order to join with what they perceive to be a larger, more powerful union. I am concerned that your unsubstantiated accusations and claims are undermining the importance of this discussion. 

For instance, you wrote: "The night before the Conference Nick Warhaug had made changes to the by laws, on his own..One being anyone can leave Ontario Council. That was a violation. And let me inform you that Unite members decided this on their own. The meeting did continue and HERE was going to hold a VOTE till they were questioned about quoram....Like they didn't know they couldn't meet quoram, yet were going to continue with the vote....." I count at least four factual claims you've made there, with ZERO proof. It's one thing to offer your opinion on this thread, but another to seemingly make stuff up.

You also wrote, "How many members were lost in Toronto to decerts?" I'm not sure. How many members have the Ontario Council lost to decerts? You also wrote, "We have had successes maybe not thousands organized but quite sure it was more then Local 75 has organized and in fact I keep reading about Local 2347 and St Catharines and yet nothing about  Local 75. How many properties have they lost ...Or lack of organizing done by them..." If you're so interested in numbers, I'd like to see some for both sides of the UNITE HERE internal fight.

Also, why the constant comparison to Local 75? I'm not sure if it just hasn't come across clearly in this discussion forum, but is Local 75 trying to attack your Local? Have they released attack material or leafleted your shops making wild and unsubstantiated allegations? Are they calling your members at home? You clearly have a lot of problems with Local 75. I'm just not sure this fact has any bearing on the larger discussion regarding the UNITE HERE internal fight and a small UNITE faction's attempt to leave the union.

Finally, if you want to read some interesting stuff on Bruce Raynor's leadership of UNITE HERE's Amalgamated Bank, read 'Activist credibility gap' at Pensions & Investments online: http://www.pionline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090309/PRINTSUB/303...


@ November5

Thanks for posting the link to the Meyerson article - very interesting reading.







Meanwhile, back at the ranch...[Oh, I think not.  Post removed, people can read it at your link if they want to read unsubstantiated gossip. - Michelle]

Username Removed

nice post November 5th.

its great to see union activism amongst union staff. 

I heard that HERE is very much like a CULT and is very anti-union, and often times union busts its own staff.  I've also heard that HERE staff, most of them - those who drink the Kool-Aid often are anti-union, and believe in self sacrafice. 

In fact, wasn't there an organizing drive by COPE 343 in Ontario of the UNITE HERE staff, and HERE IU organizers and researchers, who work with Local 75 - ran a devisive anti-union, union busting campaign?

Username Removed

I think Viv's concerns are valid.

According to sources since the merger HERE Local 75 has had a net loss in membership - of over 400 workers at the Sheraton-Gateway and the Park Hyatt.  Those hotel workers are now members of the Steelworkers, and they are very happy.


HERE was nearly bankrupt before the merger, and now they are trying to get away with highway robbery - they are nothing but Bank Robbers.  They have no sense of integrity or any sense of financial stability, and have showed no results for all the resources they've drained from the former UNITE.



"You agree, through your use of this service, that you will not use this discussion board to post any material that is knowingly false and/or defamatory. You agree to avoid personal insults, attacks and mischievous antagonism (otherwise known as "trolling"). You will not post material that is inaccurate, abusive, hateful, harassing, obscene, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy or otherwise violative of any law. You understand that racist, sexist, homophobic, classist (e.g. poor-bashing) and other excluding language is not appropriate on babble. This policy applies to both public and private messages." 


November5's referal to the rules of rabble are a bit thick, given that November5 is posting stuff directly from an anti-Stern/anti-SEIU staff site that in its own disclaimer says it is a "labor union related gossip site which publishes rumors, speculation, assumption, opinions and conjecture in addition to accurately reported facts." 

When the accurately reported facts are the afterthought in the disclaimer, it tells you a lot about the source.  November 5 should consider the glass house right about now.


Just a note - I'm keeping an eye on this thread.  Please do not post scurrilous, unsubstantiated rumours and gossip on our web site.  If you want to link to this Perez Stern thing, fine, I suppose, but we don't need it reprinted here.

It's one thing to post your own experiences (as long as you're not posting defamatory stuff like unsubstantiated allegations of specific wrongdoing against individuals) but it's something else entirely to post heard-it-through-the-grapevine character assassinations.  Let's try and remember that although we have huge differences with each other that we're all on the same side overall as workers.


T W I joined this and stated my experience with my former Local being 75 and my new Local being 2347. You then posted 5 questions which I answered including 2. What proof have you been given regarding HERE's alleged financial irresponsibility? It's a pretty major accusation, and if I were you I'd want to see something in writing and not just take Alex Dagg's word for it. Implying that I only get my information from Alex Dagg. When in fact it's public knowledge. Then I mention to truth will out that we have had 123 success in organizing and then asked the question how many decerts had local 75 had. That was answered by JJ Fusser Marky 400 members...I then ask rogerk why only St Catharines was mentioned with Local 2347. Yes I asked about Local 75 again because so far I haven't read anything about their successes.....You claim you count 4 factual claims I made with zero proof.....My question to you is how would you know what proof I have???????

You lastly asked if HERE is calling our members at home. Yes our members were called at home including me and were told they were doing a survey, they beat around the bush a bit with  questions about working part time full time and then got to Union questions one being how I felt my National Union was working for me, I asked who my national Union was and was told it was HERE. So if it wasn't HERE why would they say they were my National Union???

 The fact also remains that last year Local 75 wanted to leave Ontario Council......So to constantly accuse a small faction of UNITE trying to pull their members out, that's what Local 75 wanted to do.

I fail to see where answering and asking questions is constant  comparing...How else do I answer question or ask them???

To set the record straight I have no problem with Local 75 now as I did when I was a member. I in fact believe if this isn't about UNITE'S assets why not just demerge go our separate ways, take what each side brought in, let members decide what side they want to go to and build our Unions.

Username Removed

well said Viv.

this fight is over UNITE's assets - and thats what the merger was about as well.  My question is - if HERE claims to have so many more members then the former UNITE, how come they are bankrupt? How come Local 75 was $2million dollars bankrupt? What does the former HERE do with its members' dues? It is a well known fact that the former HERE had rampant corruption and was mobbed up, there was actually a story in Chicago about a mobbed up lawyer working for HERE.  

 the sole reason HERE wants does not want understand the merger is over - because they understand without UNITE - they will again become bankrupt.  i trully hope HERE members will rise up and take over there union, and ensure that dues are not drained by HERE top executives.


On March 9, 2009, UNITE HERE General President Bruce Raynor wrote a refreshingly honest memo to UNITE HERE Int'l Union staff in which he placed into a historical context his effort to lead some former-UNITE affiliates out of UNITE HERE:

"This schism is unprecedented in our union but it has historic parallels such as the secession of a large portion of the membership of the United Electrical Workers to form the IUE in 1949 and 1950."

This was a telling historical comparison. According to a UE-related website, the IUE split "was a tool used by leading sections of the labor movement, big business and the government in a union busting effort aimed at UE" in the U.S. (see www.ranknfile-ue.org/uen_iue.html).

Just after World War II, the UE was "the third-largest CIO union with more than a half-million members. UE represented more than 90 percent of all GE and Westinghouse workers." In 1946, the UE participated in the largest wave of strikes in U.S. history, with over 2 million American workers striking in one year.

However, not long after the UE leadership refused to sign affidavits swearing that they were not members of the Communist Party, the CIO expelled the UE as a "communist union" and granted a charter for a new union - the IUE - to former UE President James Carey. Although the IUE had no members, CIO President Philip Murray "met with the heads of GE and Westinghouse to discuss the details of how to eliminate UE" and replace it with the IUE.

The corporations then used new rules under the Taft-Hartley Act to call for elections in their plants - claiming to the National Labor Relations Board that the UE no longer represented its employees. The UE was often not even allowed on the ballot for having refused to sign the anti-communist affidavits.

The vicious onslaught against the UE that followed included a deluge of employer-called elections, Congressional anti-communist hearings at which UE shop-floor leaders were ordered to testify, terminations of workers who refused to cooperate with the hearings, threatened and actual deportations of UE leaders, and an anti-UE public relations campaign by newspapers, clergy and politicians aimed at portraying the UE leadership as a threat to national security.

This brutal anti-union campaign took a serious toll on the UE, which lost many elections to the IUE throughout the 1940s and 1950s, especially as the infamous McCarthy hearings intensified in Congress.

What, then, is the legacy that Raynor is claiming as UNITE's own? Was the IUE split a genuine rank-and-file movement, or a company-sponsored union-busting campaign on a continental scale? Are the mass mailings and thousands of phone calls to UNITE HERE members implying corruption by former-HERE leaders a part of the IUE legacy? The original IUE had no members yet used the combined power of the largest employers and the U.S. government to claim that it was the democratic voice of the workers. By comparing himself to the IUE, what is Raynor really telling us?

JJ Toronto

My name is JJ, I work with UNITE HERE's hotel program in Toronto.  I've been a member of the union for 12 years now.  Someone is impersonating me on this blog by using a barely mispelt version of my name.  I do not share the views of the person calling themselves "JJ Fusser" on this site.  I am publicly asking you to stop impersonating me. 

This phenomenon (ad hominem attacks from a source/sources who cloak their identity) has become such a common occurance in the UNITE HERE secession attempt that I worry we've gotten accustomed to it.  But it's actually doing real, daily damage to the labour movement.    And it's distracting everyone from some urgent and real questions about what it means to be a union member today, and how our movement should grow.  

Speaking personally, there's a few things keeping me going during this generally ugly and disappointing time.  In Toronto, we have a city-wide program involving thousands of members -actively, not passively- in a fight against pre-emptive layoffs in the hospitality sector.  Unionwide, our organizing continues.  In Vancouver, 700 Local 40 food service members walked out on Aramark and had a noisy, exuberant picket line yesterday. About a week ago, 800 people showed up to support non-union workers organizing in two San Francisco hotels with Local 2.  Airport concession workers rallied last week at La Guardia in New York.  These are members, not consultants, not lawyers, not press secretaries. And we are winning over and over and over again.




JJ, as someone who knows nothing about this fight and nobody involved, but wants to ensure that this discussion stays fair, it would be great if you could e-mail me at

michelle AT rabble DOT ca

and tell me privately why you feel you've been impersonated by the other "JJ" on this thread.  (Since I don't know your real name, and you are under no obligation to disclose that publicly, it's hard for me to judge whether or not this person has attempted to impersonate you.)  I will be happy to investigate and take appropriate action if I agree with your assessment.


[url=http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-unite-here14-2009mar14,0,5672881.s... Times: UNITE HERE Board votes to leave Change to Win, Rejoin AFL_CIO[/url]


3to1majority wrote:

However, not long after the UE leadership refused to sign affidavits swearing that they were not members of the Communist Party, the CIO expelled the UE as a "communist union" and granted a charter for a new union - the IUE - to former UE President James Carey. Although the IUE had no members, CIO President Philip Murray "met with the heads of GE and Westinghouse to discuss the details of how to eliminate UE" and replace it with the IUE. [...]

By comparing himself to the IUE, what is Raynor really telling us?

Good question.

Without wanting to intervene in this very interesting thread (because I know nothing about the internal challenges facing UNITE HERE), I thought I'd add a historical note. In Canada, several of the unions thrown out of the CLC (or more properly its predecessor Trades & Labour Congress) during the Cold War McCarthyite era - such as the United Electrical Workers, the Mine, Mill, Smelter Workers, and the United Fishermen and Allied Workers - ended up merging with the CAW in the 1990s.



Okay, it's been brought to my attention that the person using "JJ Fusser Marky Hollinson" as their screen name (which I've changed to "Username Removed") was too close to the other JJ's real name in this thread to have been a coincidence, and I agree. And apparently the second two names is similar to the name of someone else who isn't posting here either.

I've removed the name, and locked the account.  We will not tolerate such behaviour here.  If you want to post here, great, please do.  But you will not impersonate other people involved in the dispute (or mock them by using close approximations of their names) here.


In a memo dated March 13, 2009, Raynor continued his Cold War-era terminology when he referred to recent anti-secession votes by the majority of the UNITE HERE General Executive Board as "Soviet-style democracy."

What does Raynor's positioning himself as an anti-communist union leader reveal about the UNITE HERE internal dispute?

What does 21st century red-baiting cover up?

Why does Raynor place UNITE's efforts on the same historical team as the company-sponsored, government-backed IUE raid against the UE - then one of the strongest, most progressive unions in the U.S.?


Looks like a part of the membership in Canada has also voted to leave UNITE HERE. http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/March2009/16/c9237.html  As I've said before, I don't really know Raynor or Wilhelm and the interesting history lesson is cool, but this seems to really be a question of what the members of this union want.  Seems like they are voting and signing petitions (if anyone has seen one, it would be interesting to read it) and saying they want to leave.   To 3-1 majority I'd answer your question simply with I don't care what Bruce Raynor thinks or if he is positioning this or that.  I care about what the members think. A distinct group of them wants to leave.  They've voted to leave.  They're signing they want to leave.  They should be able to determine their union for themselves.   I don't know many workers who want to debate red-baiting and the what not, especially when they are worried about losing their jobs as too many are today.  In that very real world, workers want unions that work and I think it is obvious a group of them think UNITE HERE is not working.  


I'd be really interested in your honest opinion, Willow.  Is it going to be Buzz or Andy?  Can't be both...


November5 I don't understand the question completly but I suspect this is speculation in the labour soap some folks want to make this whole thing where personalities mean more than members.  I honestly have little time and even less interest in that kind of inside baseball.

I believe in democratic trade unionism and letting the members decide for themselves their current and future representation and leadership. In my honest opinion, that is all that really matters.

stop raiding


Could you define democratic trade unionism? What members get to decide - the majority? a majority of a minority? anybody? At what point does the will of the majority enter in to the equation - if at all? At what stage is it acceptable to disregard a collectively agreed upon Constitution?

Are you suggesting that any individual or group can separate/disaffiliate from their union, regardless of due process, whenever they like? What if a minority of members decide they don't like union's or being represented by unions? Can they just exercize their democratic right and leave?


The petitions were signed by members....The members were told what they were signing and in fact the petition stated the reasons. For anyone to bring up the Constitution now is kind of lame. Especially since no-one from HERE mentioned the Constitution last year when Local 75 wanted to leave Ontario Council..And yes I spoke to Local 75 members last year who signed something but they didn't know what it was for.....That was Local 75 petitions to leave Ontario Council......It wasn't explained to all the members what they were signing....Every member who signed our petitions did so knowing what they were signing and agreed to sign.....

 Delegates were angered that a faction of the international union, led by
former HERE President John Wilhelm, had voted to revoke the charter of the
Ontario Council at a General Executive Board meeting on Friday, March 13th.

Was that Constitutional of President Wilhelm to revoke the charter of the Ontario Council???????

As I've said if this isn't about the money each side needs to take what they brought into this merger and leave so the members can be represented fairly and properly....Easy as pie.....Unless of course you're the majority without any money..


I think Vivienne dealt with the Constituion of convenience issue so I won't go into that stopraiding but your issue on the minority/majority is quite interesting.

Very bad things have been done in the name of majority rights and I confess I get a little chill down my spine when I hear people talking about not respecting minority rights though I'm sure that isn't what you mean stopraiding.

In this case, it seems clear that 150,000 members of this union want to leave.  Since the union has about 400,000 members according to an AP piece I read yesterday, that is a sizeable minority.  It is also clear that this is more about a merger of two unions not working. Some might not like the marriage analogy but it seems to work here.  One partner might not want to accept the marriage is done but when the other leaves them, the marriage is over and the rest is just about the details of the divorce.

I get that the complete failure of this merger is hard to accept for some people, especially those on this discussion who clearly work for one side or the other.  But stuff happens and ultimately, the members are the ones who need to be served and listened to and that is my pretty simplistic definition of democratic trade unionism stopraiding.

stop raiding

"Service Employees Union Joins Move to Break Up UNITE HERE"



"The votes to secede were cast by around 1,000 delegates nationwide, who are elected in some regional boards and handpicked in others. In Philadelphia, 14 of the 21 voting delegates were paid staff. At the Pennsylvania-wide meeting, however, hundreds of elected delegates voted unanimously to leave UNITE HERE."


Great thread.

And oh BTW -- that bank that UNITE owns? Is no microbank. Holy crap:


Raynor is insisting on dissolving the "marriage” and has filed court suits to support his right to remove his 150,000 members from the organization. At the same time, he has made a deal with Andy Stern to join the SEIU, bringing along UNITE’s ownership of the Amalgamated Bank, the only labor bank in the United States, with assets of five billion dollars and valuable property. As part of the deal, Stern is expected to charter a new union to challenge Wilhelm in the hotel industry.




I've seen that "assets of five billion dollars" figure bandied around before but I have to ask how current it is? A lot of banks are worth a lot less now than they used to be.

stop raiding

 Out of the pan and into the fire.



 The Shocking SEIU-CNA Alliance


"Finally, Andy Stern and SEIU have gotten some of their worst publicity in recent months over a variety of incidents. These range from corruption in their Los Angeles local, to the trusteeship of UHW and its still nasty aftermath, to the union’s controversial intervention into the internal affairs of UNITE-HERE.

These events have left the Change to Win labor federation, initiated by Stern, in tatters. Prior to this agreement, SEIU was increasingly perceived as divisive, and unable to work collaboratively with other unions."


Looks like UNITE HERE has split into its two original parts and that Danny Glover has come out on the side of UNITE. 


UNITE HERE! now uniting separately

UNITE HERE! - the result of the 2004 merger of two unions, UNITE, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, and HERE, the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Workers - wasn't so united after all.

After a five-year unhappy "marriage," one-third of the merged union, which had represented 440,000 members, left to create a new organization called Workers United, the new union announced yesterday in Center City.

Lending his support and celebrity to Workers United was actor, film director and political activist Danny Glover, whose parents were active in the postal workers union and the NAACP.

"I chose this side because of their fresh ideas and meaningful response to the work of union organizing," said Glover, who joined UNITE in 2002 and fought for immigrants and other workers' rights in textile, hotel, laundry and food industries here and around the world.

The entire UNITE HERE! Philadelphia membership of nearly 9,000 joined the new union, said Lynne Fox, manager of the Philadelphia Joint Board of the new Workers United.

"It just didn't work out," said Fox, who gave up her seat as an international vice president of UNITE HERE! "We had just big philosophical differences between the two unions.

Their differences included how to spend money, how to organize and how to treat staff, Fox said.

Sniping between the two unions reached a fever pitch recently, prompting two union heavyweights to plead for their separation in the interest of the union movement.

"When a merger doesn't work, it is in the best interests of the members to break it up," according to a Mar. 13 letter from United Steelworkers and the United Auto Workers Union and sent to UNITE HERE! leaders. *




Willow wrote:
From the linked article:

"It just didn't work out," said Fox, who gave up her seat as an international vice president of UNITE HERE! "We had just big philosophical differences between the two unions.

Their differences included how to spend money, how to organize and how to treat staff, Fox said.

It lends a whole new meaning to "philosophy".

Workers need selfless leaders who forget about organizational sectarian loyalties and administrative trivia. There is no reason, ever, for workers united in a single trade union to divide into separate parts (with the exception, of course, of situations where national sovereignty is required to avoid foreign control).

All these differences, whether huge or trivial, should be sorted out through democratic debate and consensus (or majority rule, when consensus fails).

These raids, counter-raids, and splits make as much sense as different parts of a city disaffiliating from each other.

At least, that's my opinion, having been through more than enough of all of the above over my lifetime.

Jumping Janice

I don't understand - the larger labour movement is saying the merger is over, but why does HERE still believe its not? Perhaps, perhaps, its about money.  HERE was bankrupt before the merger, and UNITE had all the money, assets, property, and the bank.  Seems like HERE is trying to STEAL and robb UNITE of all its assets.



Growing Chorus of Labor Leaders and Independent Observers Call for End to Unite Here Merger

Join 150,000 workers in calling for split

NEW YORK, March 18 /PRNewswire/ -- After months of infighting and years of disappointing results, labor leaders and insiders have told the Presidents of former UNITE (Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees) and HERE (Hotel Employees Restaurant Employees), in no uncertain terms that the merger should end. Five international union Presidents, from both Change to Win and AFL-CIO allied unions have indicated their support of dissolution of the merger that created UNITE HERE.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070817/CLF013LOGO)

"When a merger doesn't work it is in the best interests of the membership to break it up. The continuing public escalation of your internal battle, when there are reasonable alternatives, threatens members' interests and reforms that would benefit the entire labor movement."

-- United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard and United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger, letter dated 3/13/09


"In speaking with colleagues in the United States it is evident that this merger, despite best of intentions, has clearly failed."

-- President of National Union of Public and General Employees (Canada) James Clancy, letter dated 3/16/09

"I am saddened that the merger has clearly failed. I made the best case I could, along with others of you, at our December Public Review Board meeting, encouraging the two presidents to try harder to find a path to reconcile the differences between them and the two unions. Developments since December have now made it clear that no such path has been found, nor is it likely that such a path will be found"

-- Reverend Nelson N. Johnson of the UNITE HERE Public Review Board, letter dated 2/8/09

United Food and Commercial Workers President Joe Hansen and well known labor mediator Larry Fox have both led mediation sessions between the two sides of the dispute, and now agree that a split is the only workable solution. President Hansen proposed a split in the most recent mediation session he held, and Fox indicated that a divorce was the only possible resolution when he ended his mediation back in November. Teamster's President James Hoffa also called for an end to the merger in a recent letter to UNITE HERE leadership.

These leaders join over 2,500 elected leaders representing 150,000 union members who voted to disaffiliate from UNITE HERE. With these actions, delegates representing nearly 40% of the union's membership indicated their desire to leave UNITE HERE and go their own way, including nearly 40,000 former HERE members. In an unprecedented display of rank and file union democracy, 75,000 workers have personally participated in the process through votes at their workplace or by signing petitions, with more joining each day.

Despite the will of the workers and the growing chorus of labor leaders, former HERE President John Wilhelm and his faction have refused to recognize that the merger is over, and instead have tried to punish these affiliates and to take the treasuries and buildings their members built over the last hundred years. They have challenged the actions in court, as well as threatening to take control of local unions away from their elected leaders and to seize their assets.

"Even as many of our members are leaving our union, I know that it could take years to sort out how to separate and restore our individual unions if we leave it to the courts or an acrimonious internal process," says Bruce Raynor, General President of UNITE HERE. "Wilhelm has shown no interest in my opinion, the opinion of the former UNITE HERE Vice Presidents who asked for an end to the merger, or the opinion of more than 75,000 of our own members who have signed petitions or voted in support of an end to the merger. But I am hopeful as more and more people who care about the labor movement and working people indicate their desire to see us settle this situation, we can move past this moment and on to a better future for both of our unions."


www.amalgamatedbank.com  Here is information on the bank and really what difference does it make what it may be worth.....There is a reason HERE doesn't want this demerge to happen and it certainly isn't about what the member's want....President Wilhelm's push to revoke the Charter of Ontario Council, this he was doing in America not Canada. We at Ontario Council are humans we do exist and will continue to exist, but here he was voting to dissolve us and our MEMBERSHIP like we didn't MATTER OR EXIST. Tell us who was going to represent us, when in fact HERE doesn't want us at Local 2347 and a few other Locals back. And trust me the feeling is mutual. How is this Democratic. Him voting in America to revoke a Canadian Council without concern for what the MEMBERS thought or what the MEMBERS might want. I know I wasn't asked by him if I wanted Ontario Council revoked.....So once again I'll say, if this isn't about money and Wilhelm doesn't want the Ontario Council to exist why not just take what assets he brought into this merger, let the member's decide who they want to be represented by and dissolve the merger not just Ontario Council.

stop raiding

It has become painfully obvious that  there are those shelling for the UNiTE leadership faction that are continuing to try and appropriate identities of real people or are attempting to ridicule those individuals as they resurface in various identities in this thread. It is quite obvious that "jumping janice" is the same individual that was admonished by michelle recently and had their username removed. More importantly this speaks to the infantile and gutter like approach that has been an all too common a component of the UNITE campaign.


note similarities in the below postings:   

"username removed" previously named as jj fusser before michelle removed their username wrote: 

"HERE was nearly bankrupt before the merger, and now they are trying to get away with highway robbery - they are nothing but Bank Robbers.  They have no sense of integrity or any sense of financial stability, and have showed no results for all the resources they've drained from the former UNITE."


"usename removed" previously named as jj fusser before michelle removed their username wrote:

"the sole reason HERE wants does not want understand the merger is over - because they understand without UNITE - they will again become bankrupt.  i trully hope HERE members will rise up and take over there union, and ensure that dues are not drained by HERE top executives. "


Jumping Janice (initials JJ) just wrote:

"HERE was bankrupt before the merger, and UNITE had all the money, assets, property, and the bank.  Seems like HERE is trying to STEAL and robb UNITE of all its assets."


Unless she's actually impersonating someone, she's not breaking babble policy.  Deal with the substance of her posts, not who you think she might be.  Attempting to out people's real identities is not allowed on babble.

stop raiding


You repeatedly refer to the democratic rights of the members and that this is your primary concern. You attempt to position yourself as someone who is impartial, an outsider looking in, that only wants what is best for the members and the labour movement.

Therefore are you not concerned about the fact that only 1000 delegates are determining the fate of 150,000 members or the fact that many of those delgates were paid staff? You refer to the 150,000 members who want to split when even Raynor concedes that they only have upward of 75,000 names on petition. What about the other 75,000 UNITE side people that haven't signed? Also considering some of the sleazball tactics being used why wouldn't you question the authenticity of the 75,000 signed as possibly being inflated - if you are indeed impartial? There are numerous allegations about the authencity of these petitions and how the signatures were acquired.

On my question of the adherence to the Constitution you deferred to Vivienne as sufficient evidence that it needn't be adhered to as it had previously been violated. Your burden of proof seems to be easily attained. It only requires one source.

Also there seems to be a lot of backroom negotiating going on between Stern and Raynor long before any votes or petitions were signed. Why are you not indigant about the obvious topdown conspiring that is going on? Where is your concern for the will of the members as Stern and Raynor plot the future of these members in isolation?

People on this website have been quite clear on who they support and why - including myself. That includes commenters like TW, Vivienne and others who are clearly conveying where they stand. Although I don't agree with Vivienne on many of her posts I respect her as she is at least not pretending that she is neutral and solely interested in "democratic trade unionism" - she is openly fighting for the faction that she is part of.

I find your postings to be disingenuous and they are consistent with misrepresentation tactics being utilized by the UNITE faction. I also note that you have only posted to this thread and you have no history of posting to other threads. That is the case of many of us on this thread but we came here and have made no bones about admitting that we are here because we believe in a particular model of trade unionism and a desire to see UNITE HERE remain a single entity or those who came specificially to this thread to promote a demerger.

Also, if you are so concerned about the democatic rights of union members why have you never posted in the 7 years you have been a babbler to any of the other threads - it seems a little odd?  Just come clean and let's get on with the debating - there is a lot at stake for the the members in question and the larger labour movment on both sides of the border.

stop raiding wrote:

"Service Employees Union Joins Move to Break Up UNITE HERE"



"The votes to secede were cast by around 1,000 delegates nationwide, who are elected in some regional boards and handpicked in others. In Philadelphia, 14 of the 21 voting delegates were paid staff. At the Pennsylvania-wide meeting, however, hundreds of elected delegates voted unanimously to leave UNITE HERE."


stop raiding wrote:

Although I don't agree with Vivienne on many of her posts I respect her as she is at least not pretending that she is neutral and solely interested in "democratic trade unionism" - she is openly fighting for the faction that she is part of.

I'm saving this gem.


stop raiding

Here is Wilhelm's Statement that preceded the Raynor release posted by Willow earlier today. Posted in the interest of balance. It is from Politico.com and can be found in its entirety at:


"Bruce Raynor’s splinter group is holding what it calls a convention this weekend in Philadelphia. With the open backing of Andy Stern, who is the featured speaker at the meeting, this is little more than an attempted hostile takeover by SEIU. Without Stern’s backing, the Raynor splinter group would go nowhere.

To wit, the splinter group represents fewer than one third of UNITE HERE’S total membership and is taking this action in blatant disregard of the law and the Union’s Constitution. Local Unions representing more than 2/3 of UNITE HERE want no part of this SEIU takeover. Significantly, a number of former UNITE Joint Boards, and former UNITE Locals affiliated with Joint Boards, have refused to participate in this charade. Raynor’s claim that tens of thousands of members have voted to secede is bogus by any objective measure. There has been no rhyme or reason, let alone constitutional process, to Raynor’s voting methods. For example,

· In some Locals advance notice of votes was given to members; in others no notice was given.

· In some Locals, votes were held on outdoor sidewalks.

· In other Locals, petitions were circulated rather than votes held.

· In some Locals, the written advance notice of membership meetings said the agenda was contract negotiations; when members arrived they were asked to sign a petition to disaffiliate.

· In still other Locals, no votes of any kind were ever held.

This is not democracy. This is electoral fraud.

The real hand guiding this activity is SEIU and Andy Stern. He has seized upon the inherent weakness of the splinter group as his opportunity to reach into UNITE HERE’s hotel, gaming and food service jurisdictions. Stern plans to swallow Raynor’s followers into his union and take the Amalgamated Bank in the bargain. We’re not going to let this happen.

It is now well documented that SEIU has a history of mounting brazen onslaughts against other unions in the hope they will surrender to his crushing direct mail, robo-call, and mud-slinging tactics. Since 2000, Stern has employed these undemocratic tactics against the Engineers and Architects Association (EAA), New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), California Nurses Association (CNA), Federacion Maestros de Puerto Rico (FMPR), United Domestic Workers (UDW), and the Security Police Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA).

While he poses in public as a champion of “free choice” for workers seeking to unionize, he tramples workers rights behind the scenes with the same tactics used by anti-union employers: intimidation, mudslinging, and threats.

Today, Stern’s prey is UNITE HERE. But every day, more and more members and Local Unions in UNITE HERE are withdrawing from the Stern/Raynor splinter group - members and Local Unions that Raynor falsely counts as part of his splinter faction. These Locals include Local 688 in Bay City Michigan; Local 1481 in Northfield, Minnesota; Local 634 in Philadelphia; Local 631 in Phoenix,; Local 24 in Detroit; Local 17 in Minneapolis; Local 21 in Rochester, Minnesota; the Chester, Pennsylvania Gaming Local; Local 353 in Dallas; Local 75 in Toronto; Local 25 in Washington, D.C.; Local 27 in Washington, D.C.; and Local 7 in Baltimore.

These locals are sticking together with locals representing more than two-thirds of the members of UNITE HERE in rejecting this charade."

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

When you're all done with your dispute here, you might want to visit some other threads and realize our way of life faces the same threats.


Good luck to all.  Treat each other well.  Management is the enemy. Solidarity.

stop raiding


 i've got a feeling a few things will be biting me in the butt.


RevolutionPlease wrote:

When you're all done with your dispute here, you might want to visit some other threads and realize our way of life faces the same threats.

Good luck to all.  Treat each other well.  Management is the enemy. Solidarity.

Thank you, RP. Couldn't have put it better.



At Ontario Council AFTER Wilhelm's vote to revoke Ontario Council we the MEMBERS not STAFF represented our members who signed the petitions. Had we taken bus loads of members to Toronto to sign these petition the UNITE faction would have been accused of wasting money on buses....Had STAFF gone to all our workplaces to get signatures the same accusation would be made...

To Stop Raiding, thanks for the respect, to get something straight I am fighting for FAIR REPRESENTATION of our member's. My first experience with a Union was with HERE Local 75 had the merger not happened I would have gone on with another displacement. Since I wasn't sure what I was doing with the first displacement but did learn then where I went wrong...Instead HERE merged with UNITE and we finally got proper representation. So for the 10 years I have been in a Union the first 5 there was no representation, no grievances filed, no meetings, no education. We didn't even know that 20 minutes down the road was another Local 75 shop the Niagara Parks Commission, or around the corner from there was CNH another Local 75 shop....That's mighty sad....Since the merger and us in Niagara forming our own Local we not only know every shop in our local but have met many members from all over Ontario through educationals. Members coming down to our 1st and 2nd Labour day march. Supporting members on different strike lines. These things did NOT happen during my first 5 years as a member. If that makes me an obvious supporter of the UNITE faction so be it. To me it makes me a supporter of members rights to fair representation which we as dues paying members are entitled to.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Unionist wrote:
RevolutionPlease wrote:

When you're all done with your dispute here, you might want to visit some other threads and realize our way of life faces the same threats.

Good luck to all.  Treat each other well.  Management is the enemy. Solidarity.

Thank you, RP. Couldn't have put it better.



Meh, I have some decent mentors I pay heed to even when I disagree.


Hey stop raiding

Just want to clarify a few things.

1) I didn't post Raynor's statement - I don't much like the posting back and forth of press releases, since, like the real JJ mentioned, this shouldn't be about waring press secretaries.  I posted an article, from a newspaper, that I thought would be of informative to this discussion. Newspapers are partisan but rarely to any part of the house of labour, so I thought that was you know, fairer.  Plus I thought that Danny Glover thing was interesting.

2) On my recent babbling status, I have been a reading babbler for many years now, as you noted.  As you also noted, I have not been a babbling babbler till now, but I confess that yours and a number of other clearly partisan commentators signing on to obviously wage this war here on rabble (as Hammerhead noted so long ago in this thread) drove me to active babbling.  Thanks for that.  I've never been comfortable writing outside essays and this new medium is hard to adjust to (sorry to all for not getting those hyperlinks right) but I am enjoying the chance to express myself all the same.

3) As for democratic trade unionism, I think Vivienne is pretty well showing you what it means.  She says she and other members are going around, talking to their coworkers and getting signatures on petitions.  If they've gotten 50% of the people signed on so far (75,000 of 150,000), in the short time this has been going on then I say, that is impressive considering it is members, who also work other jobs, doing the work.  Good work Vivienne and I say keep it up.  It may not seem like this in these dark times, but the work you're doing now, talking to members, empowering them to take action in the determination of their own union will make your union ---whatever it may end up being --- stronger in the end.  It is the foundation of democratic trade unionism, whether folks like stop raiding know it or not. 

 4) As for the Raynor/Stern thing I must confess I don't get it stop raiding. You have ample evidence, from members just like Vivienne, that this division is deep, at all levels of the union and yet you cling to this idea that it is just about these American, male, union leaders, pulling everyone else's strings.  I don't get a puppet vibe from Vivienne or the other rank and file leaders of this union I've known from around the labour movement for years who also clearly want this merger to end. 

Finally, on the bank stuff folks are talking about now, I'm with triciamarie with the wholly cow, these guys own a bank and it is worth what?  Boggles the mind and an impressive feat since it was built by garment workers, who years ago didn't make a lot of money.  Even you stop raiding must admit, an impressive feat by those UNITE folks and their predecessors.  It will be sad if this thing gets nastier and even more public just because of money but I'm not optimistic that the better angels of all involved in this will prevail.

Like many on this post, I'll be searching the net tomorrow for articles about this convention. 




Thomas Walkom, [url=http://www.thestar.com/News/Insight/article/605197]"A union divided,"[/url] Toronto Star, March 21, 2009.

On Monday , one of the most ambitious attempts in Canada to organize non-union workers quietly fell apart. A year ago, UNITE HERE was a media darling. The new union's efforts to organize Toronto's poorly paid hotel workers – many of them recent immigrants and women – were widely publicized. Even its name inspired hope among union fans. UNITE HERE was itself an example of workers getting together, a merger between a long-established garment workers organization, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE) and the newer Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union (HERE). But on Monday, with the decision of locals representing 9,000 Ontario workers to withdraw from the enterprise, the marriage was effectively dissolved. Coming just as the country is spiralling into recession and unemployment, it was a most inauspicious sign.


Is this an expression of self-determination or a set-up for a raid?  If I were a gambling man, I would put all my money on the raid.  

Pete deMay, an "organizer" drumming up support for secession, tells Labour Notes: “We’re not relinquishing that jurisdiction,” said DeMay. “You can call it raiding if you want—call it what you want to call it.” http://labornotes.org/node/2141 

So Raynor finds himself facing a convention and not having the votes.  Suddenly, he pronounces the merger a failure, tries to break off with the remaining light manufacturing workers who have been the mainstay of the ILGWU and ACTWU (plus the hospitality workers who are embedded in the joint boards), find, as one former UNITE HERE staffer called it, a "big brother," and try to re-enter through the back door. "Call it what you want to."  

In his haste, though, Raynor has been taking shortcuts.  Shortcuts in procedure - "· In some Locals, votes were held on outdoor sidewalks.  In other Locals, petitions were circulated rather than votes held," (see full text posted by Stop Raiding) - and shortcuts in organizing (see the venom spouted by "username removed" for an example).  These kinds of shortcuts weaken the seceding membership - there is considerable doubt whether this heist will succeed as planned, their numbers are small and isolated, and they've been subjected to organizing that will weaken rather than strengthen their faith in unions.  This is the last thing that manufacturing workers need in this economy.  Meanwhile, thousands of hospitality workers (Vivienne excepted here) are trying, and succeeding, in peeling off from this undertow every day to secure their home in the union that represents most of the hotel and food service workers in North America. 

 So yes, Willow, I think it's important to think about what else may be going on.


RevolutionPlease wrote:

When you're all done with your dispute here, you might want to visit some other threads and realize our way of life faces the same threats.

You're right, and to my mind, this dispute is tangled up in other disputes that have occured over the last decade in Ontario.  Unionfriend's original post commented on some of these connections, which I think it's time to re-introduce.

Unionfriend: "Already in Toronto and Ottawa there are accusations that the recently formed Canadian Hospitality and Entertainment Workers Union is one such front. While the leaflets, which have been handed out at Hotels organized by HERE, have a picture and statement by Buzz Hargrove on them, it is believed that it is front for the UNITE end in Canada. The reason for these rumors is that organizers for this new union (which has no members) have been showing up on HERE members doorsteps and have remarkably accurate membership lists – suggesting a high degree of inside help – presumably from UNITE in Toronto." 

Where have we seen something like this before?

"In February, the CAW advanced one million dollars to the newly-created Canadian Construction Workers Union (CCWU) led by deposed Local 183 Business Manager Tony Dionisio.

The CCWU used the money to hire other former Local 183 officers and staff who began attempts to raid their former union. After two months of effort, they have persuaded only one group of eight Local 183 members to move to their CAW-funded union. Even that certification is on hold as the Ontario Labour Relations Board has only given the CCWU conditional status as a legitimate trade union.

“The Autoworkers’ leadership, especially Buzz Hargrove, have somehow lost their minds,” says Joseph Mancinelli, LIUNA’s Director for Central and Eastern Canada.

“They attacked our union without the slightest provocation or rationale. They allied themselves with people who for years betrayed the trust of their own members in an astonishing number of ways. With all the challenges now facing the CAW in the auto industry, it is incredible that they would spend so much of their members’ money trying to destroy another union in an entirely different industry, one in which they have zero experience.”

“A million CAW dollars and what have they gained? Eight new members, maybe.”

Mancinelli says that three years of independent investigations and hearings, including numerous decisions of Ontario courts and the Labour Relations Board “prove beyond any doubt, except to the willfully blind,” that Dionisio and his ruling circle in Local 183 were guilty of numerous unethical practices that severely violated Canadian trade union values."


[I will pause here and tip my hat to Lewenza for his determination to steer the CAW, a good and strong union, back to its roots.]

Scroll forward to Toronto, January 2009.  After investigating this attempted raid, UNITE HERE found that it was staffed by employees of the Direct Organizing Group, a "hire-an-organizer" outfit that  SEIU has used "to assist on multiple union-takeover campaigns, including SEIU’s campaigns against the SPFPA, the Engineers and Architects Association, and the California Nurses Association." (Growing Pains, 3/12/09).  

Now Hargrove's infamous "Framework for Fairness" deal with Magna sounds like the same kind of approach that some commentators have identified with SEIU's Stern (what Harold Meyerson has called "let's make a deal" unionism).  See http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071030.wcolabour30/BNStory/specialComment/home

But I doubt enough time has passed for SEIU to forget that it lost around 20,000 members in Ontario working in the health care sector to a CAW raid (under Hargrove's leadership). http://labornotes.org/node/1364/print

Anyone want a trojan horse? 


Jumping Janice

HERE Pink Sheeting and Cult 

HERE is nothing but a small cult in the labour movement. 

HERE practices something called "pink sheeting", and there is currently a legal case against HERE from former staff and members regarding the practice of pink sheeting.  

Essentially pink sheeting is when HERE Management forces staff and members to tell them about deeply personal matters including family dysfunctions, health and financial troubles, spousal abuse, addictions, and childhood traumas.  These conversations are then written on an HERE pink sheet and it is used to manipulate the staff or member.  If you do not share these personal stories you are FIRED.

This is a quote from a former HERE organizer who was pink sheeted:

"I was forced to share things that had been painful for me in one-on-ones with my supervisor Brendon Walsh and also group staff meetings where I was pushed until I broke down in tears.  I was forced to tell people about my struggles with depression.  Yet I was still told that wasn't deep enough.  My supervisor kept insisting that I must resent my parents, that there must be some dirty family secret I wasn't sharing, that I must have something more personal and diffiucult to share" - Amelia Frank-Vitale, Testimony to Vice President of UNITE HERE

This invasive practice is coercive, despicable, and intolerable.  The BOSSES within HERE Local 75 have been identified to craft and practice this method.  They infact practice pink sheeting on a daily basis in there offices and this is now going to be taking place at the OFL building.  Those of us working at the OFL building should go and investigate this illegal practice of pink sheeting.  


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