WASHINGTON — In the latest twist in the infighting between the two factions of UNITE HERE, the HERE faction has filed a lawsuit against UNITE as some joint boards and locals begin holding votes to disaffiliate.
Some of UNITE’s 19 joint boards and several locals have already voted to disaffiliate with HERE, and the votes will continue across the country over the next two weeks, according to Edgar Romney, executive vice president of UNITE HERE and manager of the New York area metropolitan joint board. UNITE HERE represents 400,000 workers in the apparel, textile, hotel and restaurant industries.
Romney said HERE has filed a court action seeking to block the disaffiliation process. A spokeswoman representing John Wilhelm, president of UNITE HERE’s hospitality division, confirmed a lawsuit was filed on Friday but declined to comment on its substance.
Wilhelm went on the defense on Monday with the release of a nine-page white paper, rebutting many of the accusations the UNITE faction, led by general president Bruce Raynor, has made in two federal lawsuits, particularly those relating to alleged failures in increasing membership.
UNITE, formerly the Union of Needletrades, Industrial & Textile Employees, and the larger HERE, the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees International, combined in 2004 with the goal of creating a well-funded and growing labor organization. But the two unions have been embroiled in a tense power struggle for the past several months between Raynor and Wilhelm, whose faction represents the majority in the merged union.
The dustup has culminated in three lawsuits — two filed in federal court by executives of the UNITE faction and the latest filed by HERE — as well as a minority vote by 25 members of the union’s general executive board approving a resolution to dissolve the merger.
Raynor’s group alleges in one lawsuit seeking dissolution that HERE has acted in a fraudulent and deceitful way and has hijacked financial resources and exerted undue control over the union. Wilhelm’s group has denied the allegations and claimed the UNITE faction is “shunning the democratic processes” of the union and violating its constitution.
Romney said he doesn’t believe HERE’s Wilhelm will be successful in the attempt to “prevent the UNITE side from disaffiliating.” Romney is a former executive of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, which combined in 1994 with the Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union to form UNITE.
He said there have been discussions on the UNITE side, which claims to represent 150,000 of the union’s 400,000 members, about becoming a division of the Service Employees International Union, which has some two million members, if the breakup and dissolution is successful.
“The constitution very clearly prohibits secession from the union,” said Wilhelm’s spokeswoman. She said UNITE HERE has a “very open democratic process” and a convention in June that will serve as a forum to address UNITE’s issues.
In the white paper, Wilhelm defended the union’s organizing drives and said he expects significant gains in the gaming industry in the near future. He also raised questions about Raynor’s ability to organize workers on a large scale in the industrial laundry industry and his record of managing union funds.
Wilhelm alleges Raynor ran up a $328 million operating deficit from 1999 to 2003, liquidated $59 million in union real estate to finance the deficit and spent $427 million during the five-year period, for which he was forced to sell the ILGWU’s real estate assets.
Wilhelm also denied the accusation in a UNITE lawsuit that HERE was “in perilous financial condition” before the merger.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)