The UNITE HERE Student-Labor Partnership
Around the U.S. and Canada, UNITE HERE works with students and student organizations to win important changes in their communities. Hotel workers from San Francisco to Chicago, and university cafeteria workers from Southern California to New York City have built powerful coalitions with college and university students that both strengthen workers’ ability to stand up for respect, and also challenge college and university administrations to ensure that the schools are responsible and accountable employers and community partners.
Students have joined with UNITE HERE to demand fair wages, affordable health care, immigration reform and equal rights for the LGBTQ community. Through student-labor committees, union members and student activists have fostered dialogue and cooperation on both national and local issues.
Check out the Organizing Beyond Barriers website to folow more than 100 summer organizers doing exciting work throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Real Food Real Jobs (www.realfoodrealjobs.org) is UNITE HERE's partnership with students around issues in the campus food service industry, including workers' rights, sustainable food initiatives and transparency in university food service contracting.
HEI Workers Rising (www.heiworkersrising.org) is a partnership between students and hotel workers employed by HEI, one of the largest hotel management companies in the US, which is heavily funded through private equity funds raised primarily from more than two dozen university endowments.
Since the beginning of this year, hundreds of campus dining workers have organized to join UNITE HERE, and students have played an important role in supporting the right to organize and improving working conditions in their dining halls.
Workers at five college and university campuses have won union representation in recent months. In February, cafeteria workers at Dominican University in Chicago joined UNITE HERE Local 1. In March, students played a huge role in helping Georgetown University cafeteria workers organize to join UNITE HERE. Workers also joined UNITE HERE at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Stevenson University near Baltimore, and Carleton University in Ottawa.
University endowments are a major source of funding for HEI, one of the largest and fastest-growing hotel management companies in the US. Students are working to make sure their universities investments match their principles and ethical standards by standing with HEI workers who are fighting for fair treatment at work.
The campaign to make universities divest from HEI has heated up this spring on the heels of announcements by Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania that they have no plans to reinvest in the company. Student activists around the country held a National Day of Action on April 8 with events on at least 10 campuses to draw attention to the working conditions faced by employees at HEI-owned hotels.
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