NEED A UNION?

Get the facts on why and how workers organize

UNITE HERE Local 8 organizes workers in the hospitality industry. Workers organize a union to gain:

  • Respect on the job
  • Better wages and benefits
  • More flexibility for work and family needs
  • A counterbalance to the unchecked power of employers
  • A voice in improving the quality of their products and services

How do people form a union with UNITE HERE?

When workers decide they want to come together to improve their jobs, they may contact Local 8 to develop a plan for organizing. UNITE HERE Local 8 believes that workers should have the right to organize a union through a fair process and free of employer intimidation and threat. If the workers win their union, they negotiate a contract with the employer that spells out each party’s rights and responsibilities in the workplace.

Has Local 8 been successful in helping workers to organize?

Yes! Over the years, Local 8 has helped many workers join the union in Washington and Oregon, most recently at Bon Appetit at Seattle University and at HMSHost at Portland International Airport.

Does the law protect workers who want to join unions?

It’s supposed to—but too often it doesn’t. Under the law, employers are not allowed to discriminate against or fire workers for choosing to join a union. For example, it’s illegal for employers to threaten to shut down their businesses or to fire employees or take away benefits if workers form a union. However, employers routinely violate these laws, and the penalties are weak or nonexistent. Working with experienced organizers at Local 8 can help make this process easier.

How do unions help working families today?

Through unions, workers win better wages, benefits and a voice on the job—and good union jobs mean stronger communities. Union workers earn 30 percent more than nonunion workers and are more likely to receive health care and pension benefits than those without a union. In 2007, median weekly earnings for full-time union wage and salary workers were $863, compared with $663 for their nonunion counterparts. Unions lead the fight today for better lives for working people, such as through expanded family and medical leave, improved safety and health protections and fair-trade agreements that lift the standard of living for workers all over the world.

What have unions accomplished for all workers?

Unions have made life better for all working Americans by helping to pass laws ending child labor, establishing the eight-hour day, protecting workers’ safety and health and helping create Social Security, unemployment insurance and the minimum wage, for example. Unions are continuing the fight today to improve life for all working families in America.

What challenges do workers face today when they want to form unions?

Today, thousands of workers want to join unions. The wisest employers understand that when workers form unions, their companies also benefit. But most employers fight workers’ efforts to come together by intimidating, harassing and threatening them. In response, workers are reaching out to their communities for help exercising their freedom to improve their lives.

Contact us about organizing!

For more information on organizing your worksite, call or write to:

Natalie Kelly, Organizer
206-963-3637
Send an email

*Some information courtesy of AFL-CIO