PHILADELPHIA — Workers United, a new union composed of hundreds of former UNITE HERE members, has announced an affiliation with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The agreement creates the Workers United Conference of SEIU.
“Through this affiliation, we make a big, strong union even bigger and stronger,” says Edgar Romney, president of Workers United. “And now a whole new group of workers in the garment, textile, laundry, distribution, foodservice and hospitality industries will be able to harness the incredible power of SEIU as they seek to improve their jobs and their lives. With this affiliation, we will have the support of SEIU, and there is no question that we will be stronger together.”
SEIU and affiliates of Workers United are working together through a campaign to organize foodservice workers. Under the idea that workers in each union’s core jurisdictions (laundry, building services and foodservices) are all employed by the same multiservice companies, the campaign has brought together nearly 20,000 workers in support of this cause, according to Workers United.
“Though there are cities in the U.S. and Canada where a majority of workers in the high-end, full-service hotels are organized, millions of hotel, hospitality and gaming workers in other geographic areas and types of properties have been left to fend for themselves,” says Romney.
“Now, as these industries change and consolidate, property services workers and hospitality workers share many managers and owners,” he says. “These changes demand the unification of Workers United and SEIU to embark on new initiatives to achieve together what they have done on their own in the past — transform an entire industry.
“This agreement positions the unions to work together more closely, while also maintaining the autonomy and constitution of Workers United.”