WASHINGTON — Fifteen local boards of UNITE HERE, representing about 150,000 union members, voted on Saturday to break with the international parent union.
The move to disaffiliate occurred as leaders of the two predecessor unions that joined to form UNITE HERE in 2004 — the Union of Needletrades, Industrial & Textile Employees and the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees International — struggle for control over the union’s future.
“This vote was an important step that takes our union in the right direction,” said Edgar Romney,manager of the New York area metropolitan joint board and executive vice president of UNITE HERE. “Our joint board’s elected leaders voted to end our affiliation with UNITE HERE. In so doing, we can move ahead toward forming a new union that better serves its members and empowers those who do not yet have a union.”
A spokeswoman for John Wilhelm, president of UNITE HERE’s hospitality division and the former leader of HERE, did not return calls for comment.
Bruce Raynor, general president of UNITE HERE and former leader of UNITE, could not be reached for comment by press time.
The struggle between UNITE and HERE leaders over the direction of the union has been brewing for several months. Raynor lead a 25-member group that voted in January to dissolve the merger. A majority of general executive board members, including Wilhelm, opposed the split and voted to stay unified. The disaffiliation votes are the latest salvo in the dust-up. Four lawsuits have been filed recently by UNITE and HERE in Manhattan and New Jersey courts to stop the disaffiliation vote.
UNITE HERE’s general executive board will meet on March 13, said supporters of Wilhelm’s drive to keep the union unified. The joint boards’ next step could not be learned by press time.
Romney last week said the disaffiliation votes could eventually extend to 19 joint boards. UNITE HERE represents 400,000 workers in the apparel, textile, hotel and restaurant industries. “Our members deserve a union that’s better than the one they have been in for the past five years,” he said. “We have a moment right now to move in a new direction.”
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty