Nick Worhaug has been with UNITE HERE and its predecessor union, Hotel Employees, Restaurant Employees (HERE) for more than a quarter century, rising to the position of Canadian Director of UNITE HERE at its merger convention in 2004. Nick's work as Canadian Co-Director includes coordinating programs, activities and collective bargaining for UNITE HERE locals across Canada.
From a working class family, Nick began his union career on the shop floor, working as a hotel dishwasher as a teenager and then moving into the logging industry where he immediately joined the union as a shop steward. A well-known advocate for workers in the hospitality sector, Nick has served as the co-Chair of the Canadian Tourism Human Resources Council, Director of Tourism British Columbia and as a Director of the Working Opportunity Fund. Nick was re-elected as a Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress in 2008 and is the trustee for Health and Welfare and Pension plans for UNITE HERE members.
Secretary Treasurer/Business Manager, Local 261 (Ottawa-Gatineau-Kingston)
International Vice President, UNITE HERE
Karen Grella has served as Secretary Treasurer of the Hospitality and Service Trades Union Local 261, affiliated with UNITE HERE, since 1997. Local 261 represents over 2500 workers in the hospitality and service sectors in the Ottawa-Kingston area.
Born and raised in Ottawa, Karen grew up in a remarkable union family. Her father, Frank Grella, emigrated from Germany in the early 1950s; he got involved in the union after he was fired from his bartending job for organizing one of the first hotels to be unionized in the Ottawa area. Karen joined the staff in 1986, and has increasingly played a leadership role in Local 261, UNITE HERE and its Industry Councils. She was elected an International Vice President of UNITE HERE in November 2009.
Local 261 today is the leading union for hotel and food service workers in Canada’s Capital Region. The Local has a strong tradition of organizing, and its members enjoy some of the highest standards in Canada. Major employers include food service units at Ottawa University, the National Arts Centre, and the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and major hotels, including the Marriott, Delta and Crowne Plaza.