Thursday, February 26, 2004

Restaurant Workers, UNITE Unions to Merge

WASHINGTON (AP)--Two unions representing hotel and restaurant employees and retail, textile and laundry workers are merging to create a single labor organization with more than 500,000 members.

The Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees, called HERE, and the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, known as UNITE, are scheduled to announce the merger Thursday, several union sources said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

UNITE officials would not comment on the merger Wednesday night. A spokesman for HERE was not available.

The partnership pairs two similar unions that represent a large number of minority and immigrant workers in the growing service sector. It also spells opportunity: UNITE's organizing focus on laundry and retail distribution workers fits nicely with HERE's hotels and restaurants and their need for linens and uniforms.

More here.