Author Archives for Ann Kammerer

MSNBC: Federal subcontractor gives emotional plea to lawmakers: “Do something before it’s too late.”

January 24, 2019 6:16 pm Published by Leave a comment

Watch Pablo’s interview on MSNBC

Furloughed federal subcontractor Pablo Lazaro, a cook at a Smithsonian museum and a member of UNITE HERE Local 23, implores Congress to take action and do their jobs.

Trump’s shutdown has hurt over 800,000 workers in the United States who have been working without pay for weeks. But for subcontracted workers, there’s another abysmal side effect: they currently aren’t eligible for back pay. Workers like Pablo and their families aren’t set to receive a dime in the wages they’ve lost, which is why it’s imperative that Congress doesn’t just reopen the government, but pass a law giving back pay to all workers affected by the shutdown.

Watch Pablo’s interview on MSNBC

Statement by D. Taylor, UNITE HERE President, on Massacre at Synagogue in Pittsburgh

October 29, 2018 8:35 am Published by Leave a comment

In a most horrific act, anti-Semitism showed its face at the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We grieve with the families and the Jewish community in Pittsburgh and across the United States in the face of this murderous act. Our hearts are broken.

Today we grieve but we are also called to action. Anti-Semitism is not something new. Sadly there has been an increase in incidents of anti-Semitism in this country recently. We all remember the images of neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the President’s moral equivalency in the face of that. UNITE HERE members oppose anti-Semitism in every form.

The President said yesterday “the scourge of anti-Semitism cannot be tolerated.” We at UNITE HERE agree and we re-commit ourselves as a union to eradicate wherever it shows its face. We also demand that our political leaders, especially our President, cease and desist from fanning the flames of fear and hate in our country by their divisive rhetoric. Their words have consequences.

How can we console the Jewish community in Pittsburgh and across America today? What comfort for the families who have experienced such terrible loss? What words of reassurance and encouragement can we offer young Jewish children in America today so that they know they are loved and valued and secure

Today every one of us must become “repairers of the breach” (Isaiah 58:12). We must all work together to protect the human dignity of every person. We must call out all acts, and even words, of anti-Semitism, racism, bigotry. We must challenge even an iota of moral equivalence.

UNITE HERE will continue to fight for the dignity of every man and woman and child. Together with people of good will across this country let us begin the work of “repairing the breach.”

UNITE HERE Remembers and Honors those Lost on September 11

September 11, 2018 8:42 am Published by Leave a comment

commemOn the 17th anniversary of September 11, 2001, UNITE HERE remembers all those who lost their lives on that tragic day. We hold especially close the memory of our 43 sisters and brothers from UNITE HERE Local 100 who died while working at Windows on the World, a restaurant located at the top of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

In memory of our fallen brothers and sisters at Windows on the World:

  • Sophia Buruwa Addo
  • Shabbir Ahmed
  • Antonio J. Alvarez
  • Telmo Alvear
  • Manuel O. Asitimbay
  • Samuel Ayala
  • Ivhan Luis Carpio Bautista
  • Jesus Cabezas
  • Manuel Gregorio Chavez
  • Mohammed S. Chowdhury
  • Jose De Pena
  • Nancy Diaz
  • Henry Fernandez
  • Lucille Virgen Francis
  • Enrique A. Gomez
  • Jose B. Gomez
  • Wilder Gomez
  • Ysidro Hidalgo Tejada
  • John Holland
  • Francois Jean-Pierre
  • Eliezer Jimenez Jr.
  • Abdoulaye Kone
  • Victor Kwarkye
  • Jeffrey Latouche
  • Lebardo Lopez
  • Jan Maciejewski
  • Manuel Mejia
  • Antonio Melendez
  • Nana Akwasi Minkah
  • Martin Morales
  • Blanca Morocho
  • Jerome Nedd
  • Juan Nieves Jr.
  • Jose R. Nunez
  • Isidro Ottenwalder
  • Jesus Ovalles
  • Victor Paz Gutierrez
  • Alejo Perez
  • Moises Rivas
  • David B. Rodriguez Vargas
  • Gilbert Ruiz
  • Juan Salas
  • Abdoul Karim Traore

The families and coworkers of those mostly immigrant workers talk about their loss, their dreams, and their challenges in the movie “Windows.”

Huffington Post: The Las Vegas Union That Learned to Beat The House

June 12, 2018 10:05 am Published by Leave a comment

“The union’s success is a ray of hope for unions elsewhere, as state and federal policies become more hostile to organized labor. Previously the domain of the South and West, right-to-work laws have spread rapidly in recent years, even to Midwestern union bastions like Michigan and Wisconsin. They are now on the books in 28 states. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is poised to decide a potential landmark case in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, which could make the entire U.S. public sector right-to-work and deliver a severe blow to public employee unions.

If unions hope to endure in such an inhospitable climate, they will have to look a lot more like the Culinary.”

Read the full story.

Want To Carry On Martin Luther King Jr.’s Work? Join A Union.

April 9, 2018 11:31 am Published by Leave a comment

via Huffington Post–Fifty years ago this week, Martin Luther King Jr. went to Memphis, Tennessee, to march with the city’s striking black sanitation workers. Wages were bad, and conditions were so unsafe that workers were seriously injured or even killed while using the trash compactors of their trucks. The city of Memphis, their employer, refused to do better; city officials refused to act to improve their wages or safety. So they took matters into their own hands and went on strike, demanding basic dignity and civil rights on the job.

In the final years of his life, King shifted his work to focus on improving work and pay conditions for people regardless of the color of their skin. Half a century after he was assassinated in Memphis following his march with those sanitation workers, the fight for civil rights continues to intersect with the struggle for workers’ rights.

Organizing a union is still one of the most powerful ways for workers of color to win respect at work. I know this because I am organizing a union, and it’s for the same reason the workers in Memphis did: I Am A Man.

I work full time for United Airlines in catering operations at Newark Liberty International Airport. I’m a driver, which means that I drive lift trucks to cater United’s planes. I also unload and dispose of international waste. My co-workers in United’s catering kitchens in Newark, Houston, Denver, Honolulu and Cleveland are overwhelmingly people of color and immigrants, and we do a very important job for United. If we don’t cater the planes, they can’t take off ― but we’ve been left behind. Unlike pilots, flight attendants and ramp workers, catering workers are the only frontline United employees who don’t have a union, but we’re working hard to change that. We know we deserve the equality, safety and respect of a union job.

I grew up in Elizabeth and Plainfield, New Jersey, which are outside of Newark in the New York City metro area — one of the most expensive in the country. United doesn’t pay enough for me and my co-workers to keep up with the cost of living ― some United catering workers earn as little as $10 per hour ― and we have to make hard choices because of that. I live with my mother in a small Elizabeth apartment where the rent is almost half of my monthly pay. When you add that to my other basic expenses, I don’t have much left. I work for an airline that reported $2.1 billion in profits in 2017, and I can’t save. I can’t pay for education. I want to further my options in life, but the low pay I earn at the airport makes that impossible.

Before you ask why I don’t simply find a job that pays more, let me tell you: In my community, there aren’t many options for work outside of the local mall and Newark airport. United is my best option, and it needs to be better. And I’m not alone: There are many young black workers in United’s catering kitchens, and we’re organizing for the security of having a good career — not the low-wage, dead-end jobs that exist now.

By organizing a union, workers of color have a chance to change the lopsided power dynamics in both our company and our country. Today, the higher up you get on the corporate food chain, the fewer people of color you see. But we’re taking the power back and putting it into the people’s hands. That’s how we’ll uplift and empower our communities, and make the space for the youth mentorship programs, better after-school programs and arts programs that we need. It starts with recognizing our value, paying us accordingly and respecting our family time. And, we know it works.

Across the hospitality industry in jobs traditionally held by workers of color, we’ve seen how unionizing has advanced basic human rights. Through collective bargaining, workers have won anti-discrimination language in their contracts, secured groundbreaking health benefits for workers living with HIV and AIDS and enshrined cutting-edge protections against sexual harassment at work. Union housekeepers in several states, including Illinois and California, have won wages of more than twice the national median pay, turning low-wage jobs into real careers. And just a few weeks ago we learned that in New York and New Jersey, airport workers like me are on our way to securing the $19 per hour minimum wage that we’ve been fighting for.

Too often, King’s legacy is twisted to be safe and marketable, but his work was anything but that. Working to advance civil rights in America has never been “safe.” When I was young, I watched footage of dogs attacking people, and of police getting away with brutalizing those taking action for civil rights. I wondered then how they could get away with it, but as I got older I realized that, in many ways, not much had changed. There’s still police brutality. Workers can still be stuck at the bottom, disrespected. But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to fight for change. Civil rights and workers’ rights continue to be bound together.

As a kid, I was intrigued by King and Malcolm X. I wanted to learn everything I could about them. I watched movies about why they marched, and now this is my opportunity to do something in King’s footsteps. That’s why I was in Memphis on April 4, along with over 2,000 UNITE HERE union members, to celebrate King’s life and his legacy of solidarity with workers. I was proud to march this week. I’m even more proud to walk the walk at home, as I fight for a union ― for myself, for my co-workers and for my community.

Lindell Lawrence works as a catering operations driver for United Airlines at Newark Liberty International Airport. He lives in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

2018 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Commemoration

March 22, 2018 8:49 am Published by Leave a comment

1March 25, 2018, is the 107th Anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York’s Greenwich Village. This tragedy took the lives of 146 young immigrant garment workers and galvanized a reform movement to raise standards for workers.

At UNITE HERE’s headquarters in New York, staff and members will gather to remember the victims with a reading of their names and testimony from one of the survivors. The ceremony will be accompanied by a special display in the union building lobby at 275 7th Avenue, located in the heart of New York’s Garment District.

To learn more about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, visit Cornell University’s Kheel Center.

This incident has had great significance to this day because it highlights the inhumane working conditions to which industrial workers can be subjected. To many, its horrors epitomize the extremes of industrialism.

“It is by remembering our past that we prepare to fight for our future. We are measured by how we protect the most vulnerable and ensure their health and safety to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, that is our guiding light.”

—D. Taylor, President, UNITE HERE

The tragedy still dwells in the collective memory of the nation and of the international labor movement. The victims of the tragedy are still celebrated as martyrs at the hands of industrial greed.

The fire at the Triangle Waist Company in New York City is one of the worst disasters since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. The Asch Building was one of the new “fireproof” buildings, but the blaze on March 25th was not their first. It was also not the only unsafe building in the city.

On the corner of Greene Street and Washington Place, fire fighters struggle to save workers and control the blaze. The tallest fire truck ladders reached only to the sixth floor, 30 feet below those standing on window ledges waiting for rescue. Many men and women jumped from the windows to their deaths. Photographer: unknown, March 25, 1911.


An officer stands at the Asch Building’s 9th floor window after the Triangle Fire. Sewing machines, drive shafts, and other wreckage of the factory fire are piled in the center of the room. Photographer: Brown Brothers, 1911.


In the April 5th funeral procession for the seven unidentified fire victims, members of the United Hebrew Trades of New York and the Ladies Waist and Dressmakers Union Local 25, International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, the local that organized Triangle Waist Company workers, carry banners proclaiming “We Mourn Our Loss.” Photographer: unknown, April 5, 1911.


The Triangle Fire Memorial to the six unidentified victims in the Evergreens Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY, was created in 1912 by Evelyn Beatrice Longman. The six bodies were all recently identified by Michael Hirsch, who worked tirelessly to recognize the names of the unidentified victims.
The victims names:

• Lizzie Adler, 24
• Anna Altman, 16
• Annina Ardito, 25
• Rose Bassino, 31
• Vincenza Benanti, 22
• Yetta Berger, 18
• Essie Bernstein, 19
• Jacob Bernstein, 38
• Morris Bernstein, 19
• Vincenza Billota, 16
• Abraham Binowitz, 30
• Gussie Birman, 22
• Rosie Brenman, 23
• Sarah Brenman, 17
• Ida Brodsky, 15
• Sarah Brodsky, 21
• Ada Brucks, 18
• Laura Brunetti, 17
• Josephine Cammarata, 17
• Francesca Caputo, 17
• Josephine Carlisi, 31
• Albina Caruso, 20
• Annie Ciminello, 36
• Rosina Cirrito, 18
• Anna Cohen, 25
• Annie Colletti, 30
• Sarah Cooper, 16
• Michelina Cordiano, 25
• Bessie Dashefsky, 25
• Josie Del Castillo, 21
• Clara Dockman, 19
• Kalman Donick, 24
• Nettie Driansky, 21
• Celia Eisenberg, 17
• Dora Evans, 18
• Rebecca Feibisch, 20
• Yetta Fichtenholtz, 18
• Daisy Lopez Fitze, 26
• Mary Floresta, 26
• Max Florin, 23
• Jenne Franco, 16
• Rose Friedman, 18
• Diana Gerjuoy, 18
• Molly Gerstein, 17
• Catherine Giannattasio, 22
• Celia Gitlin, 17
• Esther Goldstein, 20
• Lena Goldstein, 22
• Mary Goldstein, 18
• Yetta Goldstein, 20
• Rosie Grasso, 16
• Bertha Greb, 25
• Rachel Grossman, 18
• Mary Herman, 40
• Esther Hochfeld, 21
• Fannie Hollander, 18
• Pauline Horowitz, 19
• Ida Jukofsky, 19
• Ida Kanowitz, 18
• Tessie Kaplan, 18
• Beckie Kessler, 19
• Jacob Klein, 23
• Beckie Koppelman, 16
• Bertha Kula, 19
• Tillie Kupferschmidt, 16
• Benjamin Kurtz, 19
• Annie L’Abbate, 16
• Fannie Lansner, 21
• Maria Giuseppa Lauletti, 33
• Jennie Lederman, 21
• Max Lehrer, 18
• Sam Lehrer, 19
• Kate Leone, 14
• Mary Leventhal, 22
• Jennie Levin, 19
• Pauline Levine, 19
• Nettie Liebowitz, 23
• Rose Liermark, 19
• Bettina Maiale, 8
• Frances Maiale, 21
• Catherine Maltese, 39
• Lucia Maltese, 20
• Rosaria Maltese, 14
• Maria Manaria, 27
• Rose Mankofsky, 22
• Rose Mehl, 15
• Yetta Meyers, 19
• Gaetana Midolo, 16
• Annie Miller, 16
• Beckie Neubauer, 19
• Annie Nicholas, 18
• Michelina Nicolosi, 21
• Sadie Nussbaum, 18
• Julia Oberstein, 19
• Rose Oringer, 19
• Beckie Ostrovsky, 20
• Annie Pack, 18
• Provindenza Panno, 43
• Antonietta Pasqualicchio, 16
• Ida Pearl, 20
• Jennie Pildescu, 18
• Vincenza Pinelli, 30
• Emilia Prato, 21
• Concetta Prestifilippo, 22
• Beckie Reines, 18
• Louis Rosen (Loeb), 33
• Fannie Rosen, 21
• Israel Rosen, 17
• Julia Rosen, 35
• Yetta Rosenbaum, 22
• Jennie Rosenberg, 21
• Gussie Rosenfeld, 22
• Emma Rothstein, 22
• Theodore Rotner, 22
• Sarah Sabasowitz, 17
• Santina Salemi, 24
• Sarafina Saracino, 25
• Teresina Saracino, 20
• Gussie Schiffman, 18
• Theresa Schmidt, 32
• Ethel Schneider, 20
• Violet Schochet, 21
• Golda Schpunt, 19
• Margaret Schwartz, 24
• Jacob Seltzer, 33
• Rosie Shapiro, 17
• Ben Sklover, 25
• Rose Sorkin, 18
• Annie Starr, 30
• Jennie Stein, 18
• Jennie Stellino, 16
• Jennie Stiglitz, 22
• Sam Taback, 20
• Clotilde Terranova, 22
• Isabella Tortorelli, 17
• Meyer Utal, 23
• Catherine Uzzo, 22
• Frieda Velakofsky, 20
• Bessie Viviano, 15
• Rosie Weiner, 20
• Sarah Weintraub, 17
• Tessie Weisner, 21
• Dora Welfowitz, 21
• Bertha Wendroff, 18
• Joseph Wilson, 22
• Sonia Wisotsky, 17

Congresswoman Jacky Rosen to Attend State of the Union with Nevada TPS Recipient, UNITE HERE Culinary Worker as Guest

January 30, 2018 6:38 pm Published by Leave a comment

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tonight, Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (NV-03) will attend the State of the Union with Nevada Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipient and Culinary Workers Union Local 226 member Nery Martínez. Mr. Martínez fled to the U.S. from El Salvador in the 1990s and lives in Las Vegas. Mr. Martinez works as a bar apprentice at Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino. Martinez’s wife is also a TPS holder from El Salvador, and he is the father of two children who are U.S. citizens. Earlier this month, the Trump Administration announced plans to end TPS for about 200,000 Salvadorans.

“Nery came to the U.S. years ago and has worked tirelessly to build a better future for himself and his family in Nevada,” said Rosen. “I’m honored to have him as my guest for the State of the Union. The President and this Congress need to be reminded that his callous and misguided decision to end the TPS program will have very real consequences, destroying thousands of families like Nery’s who have played by the rules and contributed so much to our communities and our economy.”

“My contributions to the United States and Nevada are not temporary,” said Martínez. “I pay into social security benefits, pay taxes, and provide for my family. I hope casino companies will stand up for their TPS employees who work hard every day and will not be silent while we are at risk. Nevada is our home and we are here to stay.”

Read the rest of the release >>

Statement from D. Taylor, International President of UNITE HERE, on the Senate’s failure to address DACA or TPS in its short-term budget deal

January 23, 2018 9:55 am Published by Leave a comment

“Today American immigrants saw once again that both major political parties continue to fail them and their families​. The Trump administration precipitated the current crisis for both TPS and DACA by ending protections without a plan to pass legislation with his own party, which controls both houses of Congress. Rather than holding the line and forcing a resolution to this humanitarian crisis for hundreds of thousands of American families, Democratic Senate leadership chose today to once again sell out the Dreamers and TPS workers.

“Both Democratic and Republican Senators vowed today to protect Dreamers, yet in missing this opportunity, they clearly failed to do so. UNITE HERE will continue leading the fight to save TPS and lifting up the voices of 270,000 workers – including tens of thousands of TPS residents and other immigrants – to hold politicians accountable to that pledge and the values of our nation. UNITE HERE and the larger American labor movement will not forget the Democrats’ failure today to stand with immigrant workers. Congress must immediately move forward with legislation to protect more than a million ​immigrants living here legally under DACA and TPS, building their American dream and contributing to our communities, workplaces and nation.”


UNITE HERE has been a leading force in the American labor movement on immigration, particularly regarding TPS. The union represents tens of thousands of immigrant workers, including thousands of TPS workers who are the backbone of the hospitality industry. In addition to organizing in key battleground swing states across the country around TPS extension throughout 2017 and 2018, UNITE HERE partnered with IUPAT, UFCW, the Bricklayers, and the Ironworkers to form the AFL-CIO backed Working Families United labor campaign for TPS, powered by a nearly $1 Million budget.