UniteHere! Local 17


Twin Cities Hospitality Union


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Trump will likely pick fast-food CEO Andy Puzder as Labor Secretary. The National Employment Law Project (NELP) says it's a sucker punch to the gut of workers.

NELP's Christine Owens says it's hard to think of anyone less suited for the job of lifting up America's forgotten workers than Puzder. Owens says he's against raising the minimum wage, threatens to replace restaurant workers with machines and opposes rules that protect workers, including overtime!!

While the Fight For $15 workers movement has each other's backs, Owens says Puzder has his fellow CEO's backs, even if it breaks the backs of those at the bottom.

By federal statute, the purpose of the Labor Department is ‘to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners of the United States, to improve their working conditions, and to advance their opportunities.

Puzder is against all of that.  We are against Puzder!!!

A message from D. Taylor President of UNITE HERE!

This past Tuesday, November 8, Americans went to the polls.  This election campaign was about who we are as a nation, about who belongs, about who has a seat at the table.  People wanted change.  For most of us, however, it is not the change we wanted or anticipated.  For working people, for our union and the labor movement, for immigrant families, for women, for African-Americans, for Muslims, for the LGBTQ community, this election is a setback.

Our union is still committed to real social change: an economy that does not exclude, a country where immigrants are valued and respected, a country where Black Lives Matter, where people can worship as they please, and love and marry whom they may. A country where everybody should have the ability to have the American Dream.  We have made great strides towards this social change, and we will keep fighting for it in every way we can.   

UNITE HERE will face this challenge and fight back.  We, along with the labor movement, progressive and moral allies, must make a plan that has us confronting those who want to take us back to some of the darkest days in America.

My habit in times of uncertainty is for me to look to Dr. King.  Dr. King said:  “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.”

We will not back down, we will be in the streets, and we will overcome. 
In the weeks ahead, we will plan, we will mobilize, and we will not let them try to pick us off one by one.

In Solidarity, 

 D. Taylor


Recently in the city of Minneapolis there has been much attention given to lower wage workers and the conditions of employment under which they work. Mayor Hodges, the City Council, and a coalition of community organizations had good intentions with the goals they tried to achieve, but were met with much resistance. The Star Tribune reported that large and small businesses were vehemently against the proposal calling it unworkable and overreaching. It also reported that many workers in the Hospitality Industry, particularly servers, did not support parts of the proposal regarding “fair scheduling”.

There are real, tangible and problematic issues that exist in the hospitality, retail, grocery, building services industries, and others. So what is the best answer to address the issues of terms and conditions of employment? Collective Bargaining, as recognized in the city’s initial proposal to have a “Union Opt Out” provision. When workers get together and organize they can effectively address the specific issues at their workplace and thereby force an entire industry to raise its standards. The one size fits all approach, although honorable in its desire, was just plain old wrongheaded.

Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota definitely need to address things that they can do to improve conditions for lower wage workers—better transit, enforcement of OSHA and other safety laws and a substantial increase of inspectors at Wage and Hour to handle issues like wage theft claims. Presently there are as few as FIVE inspectors for the entire state of Minnesota. City and state officials could also address racial economic disparities in employment by looking to truly understand what all of the complex reasons are that cause these disparities to exist. Only then can we realistically work to make meaningful, well thought out approaches to try and correct those disparities.

The best answer for changing the employment conditions of lower wage workers is to organize a Union. Workers, when organized, do not need broad sweeping legislative actions to cover their conditions of employment. A Union Contract not only negotiates fair wages and better benefits such as Paid Time Off (PTO), but addresses many issues at a workplace including scheduling, staffing, and respect on the job. A Collective Bargaining Agreement codifies them in a legally binding contractual Agreement that has enforcement mechanisms enshrined in that Agreement as well as a grievance and resolution process. The elected leaders in our city and state could better put their progressive chops into supporting conditions in which workers organize a union. Minneapolis, for example, could update its “Living Wage Ordinance.” It could also broaden its “Labor Peace Ordinance” to include industries mentioned above. Changes to both of these ordinances could not only be done quickly and easily, but without all of the controversy and objections faced by the recent attempt at helping low wage earners.

Union workers nationally get 1/3 more in wages and benefits than their nonunion counterparts. In Minneapolis, we believe that the ratio is a higher figure than that. The membership of our union, UNITE HERE Local 17, is a majority of women, African Americans, other people of color, and recent immigrants. Women who are union members get the same rate of pay as their male counterparts. Union workers are 75% more likely to have affordable or even Employer paid health insurance, as many of the members of our union enjoy. Union members are part of a democratic organization in which they have a voice, while also having a voice in their workplace. Organizing workers to stand up for themselves and making their specific workplaces a better, safer and fairer place to work should be the goal.

The hospitality industry in Minneapolis is booming. There are many available jobs, and the industry needs workers. The issues presented by the City for legislative action can largely be addressed by greater Unionization of the workforce. Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.

Nancy Goldman

President, UNITE HERE Local 17

Martin Goff

UNITE HERE Minnesota State Organizing Director

The Union representing hospitality workers

More Work with Less Workers Means Increased Injury Rates

It is no secret that the hospitality industry is coming back after several difficult years, but what does that mean for the workers in this industry?

With higher workloads and fewer workers, not everyone is benefiting fully. Profits that are coming in to the hotels are coming on the backs of workers.

Click here to read full article on MN 2020
Hotel Profitability Coming at Workers’ Expense

  Minnesota House concurred with the Minnesota Senate and raised the state Minimum Wage from 6.15 an hour, one of the lowest in the nation, to 9.50 by August of 2016 making it the the fifth highest in country.

The legislation does NOT include any hospitality industry "tip penalty" or "Super Wage". UNITE HERE with it's community and faith based partners pushed back the Industry to assure that all  of Minnesota's nearly 50,000 servers will continue earn a full minimum wage in the work place. Minnesota remains one of 7 states that does not pay a sub-minimum wage.

Nearly 360,000 workers (23%) of the Minnesota workforce  will see their wages rise starting in August of this year!