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UNITE HERE Local 2 March
by Brooke Anderson
Tuesday Feb 24th, 2009 11:03 PM
UNITE HERE Local 2, hotel workers from across the region, and their supporters in the community marched tonight through the streets of San Francisco to call for justice for workers at Le Meridien and the Hyatt Fisherman's Wharf.
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by Brooke Anderson Tuesday Feb 24th, 2009 11:03 PM
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Comments  (Hide Comments)

I'm a former bartender and waiter and i think those often very exploited workers need a strong fighting union . But i have real questions about Local 2 . First looking at the stage a longtime local 2 member commented '' How many on the stage actually work in the industry ? They're all hired staff ! "'A bit of a exagerration but not by much. Most of the stage were young hired staffers and a couple of full time officials . A pro-Union leadership worker challenged the woman who commented about the stage saying that Mike Casey isn't staff , he's our president . I asked her what was his previous job , Desk clerk, Bartender, Room service waiter, Maintenance etc. and where did he work before he was elected ? She had no idea .
That's a problem . A true union '' that's ready to fight , damm right ! '' has to be democratic and controlled by rank and file workers . Not officials who maybe didn't even work in the industry and 20 something staff members half the age of many of the workers..
also what about the restraunt workers ? I heard that only a couple of hundred are unionized out of tens of thousands in the Bay area .. does the HERE have any perspective towards organizing them ?
by union guy
Thursday Feb 26th, 2009 4:35 PM
Actually, on the stages (both at the plaza and on the flatbed in front of the hotel) were dozens of workers from both the Hyatt hotel and the HEI hotel that are being organized, also workers from each hotel spoke at both parts of the rally. Yes there were staff members there to help run the event, but it is worth noting that many Local 2 staff, including some elected leaders are former hotel workers, who came out from their respective shops (or are still on a leave of absence) and now work for the union. Also on stage were supporters such as politicians, religious leaders and representatives from large community organizations.

Regarding the "democratic controlled rank and file" all Local 2 leadership was elected by members, including the executive board, which is completely rank and file. And yes there are "young" folks amongst the staff, any union would be foolish not to mix their staff with both rank-and-file and non rank-and-file activists, the same way they would be foolish not to mix young with old, black with white, Chinese with Latino, immigrant with non-immigrant, etc.
by Raging Bull
Monday Mar 2nd, 2009 5:57 AM
non-rank-and-file "activists" = piecards, a.k.a. professional unionists, often with no work experience in any sector

AFL-CIO = corporate-structured, top-down business unionism

IWW-style organizing = bottom-up, rank-and-file-run, industrially organized union (no piecards allowed)

This is a no-brainer, but which style is most conducive to class consciousness? Toward working class self-activity and militancy?

In this crisis, what's not needed is professional union negotiators cutting deals with bosses "on behalf" of the workers behind closed doors (think Andy Stern's autocratic SEIU), but the workers themselves taking the initiative and leading their own struggles.

If that means violating Taft-Hartley and wildcatting, so be it. More power to rank-and-file initiative from below!







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