UNITE HERE represents 50,000 workers across Canada and more than 250,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada who work in the hospitality, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, laundry, and airport industries.
We represent people who work in:
• Apparel and textile manufacturing
• Hotels and restaurants
• Distribution centers and retail
• Foodservice, airport, event and stadium concessions
• Casinos and Gaming
• Social Services
• Plastics and auto parts manufacturing
Organizing the unorganized is the top priority for UNITE HERE. Over 50% of the Union’s international budget goes toward organizing. Currently major organizing campaigns are underway across North America.
UNITE HERE has a proud history of improving working conditions, wages, and benefits across Canada and the US through successful organizing. The union is known throughout the labour movement for innovative and effective campaigns utilizing corporate campaign strategies and impressive grassroots mobilization of workers and community allies. Through organizing, UNITE HERE members have made apparel jobs in Montreal, hotel housekeeping jobs in Toronto and hundreds of thousands of other traditionally low-wage jobs into good, family-sustaining, middle class jobs.
UNITE HERE traces its history back over one hundred years in North America and boasts a diverse, majority female membership. UNITE (formerly the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees) and HERE (Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union) merged on July 8, 2004 to form UNITE HERE.
The founding convention in Chicago in July 2004 marked an historic point in the storied histories of the founding unions.
UNITE (formerly the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees) was formed in 1995 through the merger of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union and the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. UNITE represented 25,000 workers in Canada and over 200,000 workers internationally. While UNITE’s roots were in the clothing and textile industries, at the time of the merger with HERE, its members made everything from photocopiers to fibreglass.
UNITE was always well known for the diversity of its members, who came from every corner of the planet to live in big cities and small towns across Canada, with the largest concentrations in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia. Its members represented a rich diversity of cultures and work backgrounds, sharing a strong commitment to justice and democracy at work. Throughout our country's history, UNITE members have struggled to secure and maintain a decent standard of living and a just society for all Canadians.
The members of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees (HERE) included room attendants, cooks, waiters, bartenders, desk clerks, and many others. They worked in hotels, motels, casinos, restaurants, cafeterias, clubs, hospitals, schools, railroad dining cars, bars, airports, bus terminals, inflight kitchens, stadium concessions, and other hospitality, food service, travel, and tourism establishments. The membership was well known for its diversity, with high percentages of African-Canadians, Latinos and Asian immigrant workers.
The international union received its original charter from the American Federation of Labor on April 24, 1891. Historically, it was organized along craft lines, with separate local union affiliates representing bartenders, waiters, cooks, waitresses or other skilled trades. However, HERE was reorganized in 1973, and numerous local unions were merged to represent all the hospitality workers within each city or region, regardless of craft.
Prior to the merger with UNITE, HERE represented almost 25,000 workers across Canada, with the largest locals located in Ontario and British Columbia.