Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union

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Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union logo.jpg
Full name Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees and Bartenders International Union
Founded 1891
Date dissolved 2004
Merged into UNITE HERE
Affiliation CLC, AFL-CIO
Key people Edward T. Hanley, John W. Wilhelm
Office location Washington, DC
Country Canada, United States

The Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union (HERE), was a United States labor union representing workers of the hospitality industry, formed in 1891. In 2004, HERE merged with the Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees (UNITE) to form UNITE HERE. HERE notably organized the staff of Yale University in 1984. Major employers contracted in this union include several large casinos (Harrah's, Caesars Palace, and Wynn Resorts); hotels (Hilton, Hyatt and Starwood), and Walt Disney World. HERE and later UNITE HERE were affiliated with the AFL-CIO until September 2005, when the General Executive Board of UNITE HERE voted in to leave the AFL-CIO and join with the Change to Win Coalition.

In 2007 the union lost its bargaining certificate at Vancouver's General Motors Place. The British Columbia Labour Relations Board conducted a vote to find the employees preferred affiliation with the Christian Labourers Association of Canada

Female participation and leadership[edit]

Female membership in HERE experienced a growth from 2,000 in 1908 to 181,000 in 1950.[1] The rise in women membership reflects the feminization of the hotel and restaurant industry and the increase in the performance of waiting work by women. Women presence in leadership positions of HERE also increased. Waitress activists sat on the General Executive Board (GEB) from 1909 on and participated in various conventions, though as a minority status. Participation was highest between WWI and the 1930s. Though female participation in HERE dipped in the 1930s and 1940s, it was still disproportionately higher than in other unions.[2]

Women also enjoyed leadership positions at the local level. A national estimation written in 1926 held that 43 culinary locals had female secretaries; in 1944 California, 21 out of 75 locals had female secretaries, a prominent position in labor organizing.[3] Women were able to enjoy such success in HERE due to the separation of workers by trade which provided waitress activists "space apart from male hostility and… the development of female perspectives and leadership skills."[4]


  1. ^ Cobble, Dorothy Sue. "Rethinking Troubled Relations Between Women and Unions: Craft Unionism and Female Activism." Feminist Studies 16.3 (1990): pg 524.
  2. ^ Cobble 1990, p. 526.
  3. ^ Cobble 1990 p. 527.
  4. ^ Cobble 1990 p. 542.

Further reading[edit]

  • Shaun Richman, "Ideology vs. 'Rule or Ruin' Politics in the Downfall of the Communists in the NYC Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union, 1934-1952," American Communist History, vol. 11, no. 3 (Dec. 2012), pp. 243-264.