Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

UNITE HERE Raids Its Own Benefit Fund to Protest Benefit Cuts

In October 2009, UNITE HERE hotel workers in San Francisco voted to go on strike against several hoteliers. The workers organized ostensibly because they don’t feel the hotels are doing enough for them to cover health care costs.

But the hotels aren’t the only ones supposedly depriving them of benefits. UNITE HERE was caught diverting money from a union benefit fund to spend on their strikes:

After the National Labor Relations Board brought a legal case against Unite Here Local 2, which represents 12,000 hotel employees in San Francisco and San Mateo counties, the union agreed to reverse its actions and restore the monies to the proper funds with interest, hotel spokesman Pete Hillan said in a written statement.

In May, the Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency complained about the practice to the NLRB, and the agency subsequently intervened, Hillan said. Before the union redirected the funds, the money had been going to fund child care and elder care.

“One million dollars is a lot of money to chase business away from San Francisco,” San Francisco Grand Hyatt General Manager David Nadelman said Tuesday at the first of two dueling news conferences at the Union Square Grand Hyatt.

The employees are striking primarily over a reduction in health benefits. Organized labor has reacted with outrage when states don’t fully fund their benefit funds. Alleged attempts to “raid the Social Security and Medicare funds” have also elicited dramatic responses from unions.

There can only be one solution. In order for UNITE HERE to be consistent, it has to go on strike against itself. Any business or government willing to raid its employees’ benefits for cynical purposes must be taught a lesson. That’s their talking point, right?

Image courtesy of Marshall Astor.

Categories: Anti-Corporate CampaignsCenter for Union FactsUNITE HERE