UNITE HERE and the Crisis: New York

On Saturday, June 18, 2011, UNITE HERE Local 100 presented a training session about the past, present and future of the labor movement. Staff members, shop stewards from cafeterias represented by the union, summer organizers and volunteers participated in the training.

We began with gaining an understanding of the economic climate of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries – the growing divide between the rich and the poor really stood out.

Local 100 organizers then recounted their experiences of the fight to bring the union to the shops where they themselves had previously been workers! These stories gave insight to the history of Local 100 and its transformations over the past forty years. It was fascinating to hear everyone’s personal story of how they had gotten involved in the union.

To demonstrate the shared struggle of workers in our industries across the country, the training also featured “One Day Longer,” an inspirational film about the Frontier Hotel strike in Las Vegas. It was amazing to see all the different pieces that allowed workers to win that fight.

Ultimately, this training emphasized the crisis of inequality, and the necessity of volunteering in the labor movement. We were inspired, and we believe that the education gained from this workshop will translate into an increased involvement of committed workers and community members in the labor movement.

-Liam, Erika and Jessica: Summer Organizers, New York City