Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union

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Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union logo.jpg
Full nameHotel Employees and Restaurant Employees and Bartenders International Union
Date dissolved2004
Merged intoUNITE HERE
AffiliationCLC, AFL-CIO
Key peopleEdward T. Hanley, John W. Wilhelm
Office locationWashington, DC
CountryCanada, 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. Other major employers that contracted with this union included several large casinos (Harrah's, Caesars Palace, and Wynn Resorts); hotels (Hilton, Hyatt and Starwood), and Walt Disney World. HERE was affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

Female participation and leadership[edit]

Female membership in HERE grew from 2,000 in 1908 to 181,000 in 1950.[1] The rise in women membership reflected the feminization of the hotel and restaurant industry and the increase in the performance of waiting work by women. Women's 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 in the 1920s. 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]


The Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Martin P. Catherwood Library at Cornell University holds numerous collections of archival material generated by HERE at a national level.

The Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan houses an archival collection detailing the history of HERE Local 24 from 1914-1976, including numerous photographs.


  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.
  • Matthew Josephson, Union house, union bar; the history of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees and Bartenders International Union, AFL-CIO (New York: Random House, 1956).
  • Dorothy Sue Cobble, "Organizing the Postindustrial Work Force: Lessons from the History of Waitress Unionism," Industrial and Labor Relations Review (April 1991): 419-436.