UNITE-HERE Civil War Sets Up AFL-CIO vs. SEIU Confrontation

Like the Cold War-era Third World civil wars in which the superpowers would fight each other by proxy, the increasingly bitter row within  UNITE-HERE appears to have blown up into a confrontation between the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which disaffiliated from the former in 2005, taking other unions with it to form a new labor federation, Change to Win.

UNITE-HERE, formed from a 2004 merger between the Union of Needletrades, Industrial & Textile Employees (UNITE) and the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees (HERE), now seems like an unstable structure.

This week, the union’s textile industry segment led by Bruce Raynor (head of UNITE before the merger) voted to disaffiliate from UNITE-HERE, while th ehospitality industry segment led by John Wilhelm (head of HERE before the merger) voted to rejoin the AFL-CIO, which UNITE-HERE had left in order to join the new Change to Win labor federation, which was founded under the auspices of SEIU.

The new Raynor-led union has chosen to join SEIU. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this.

For more on SEIU, see here.