Premium

Union leadership kept their pockets full as members went without

(Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP)

The pandemic hit a lot of working-class people hard, with layoffs affecting a significant portion of the country and unemployment figures skyrocketing. That was particularly true of the hospitality industry because so many hotels were cutting way back and many bars and restaurants were simply closed. That unfortunate fact brings us to the story of how UNITE HERE Local 11 handled the situation. The group represents tens of thousands of hospitality workers in California and Arizona. At the height of the COVID outbreaks, more than 90% of their members were out of work and facing financial hardships. And yet through it all, as the Free Beacon recently discovered, the union’s executives saw only a fractional cut in pay and kept up their big-spending ways in terms of political activism as if they didn’t have a care in the world. Some of the workers have noticed, and they’re not thrilled about it.

A California hospitality union spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on political campaigns and executive salaries as the coronavirus crisis ravaged its membership.

UNITE HERE Local 11, which represents more than 32,000 hospitality workers in California and Arizona, saw upward of 95 percent of its membership laid off at the peak of the coronavirus crisis. By the end of 2020, membership had declined by nearly 40 percent. Still, executives barely saw their salaries decrease in the face of the membership’s struggles, with the top three leaders taking pay cuts of around 1 percent. The union also continued to spend on political initiatives, pumping more than $431,000 into the 2019-2020 cycle.

So much for everyone being in this together, I guess. Some members were less than impressed when they learned that the union was flying people out to Georgia in December and January to campaign for the Democrats in the Senate runoff election and covering all of their expenses. The union infiltrators partnered up with Stacey Abrams’ New Georgia Project.

Throwing more fuel on the fire, UNITE HERE informed its members that they would have to continue paying their dues on schedule while laid off or their healthcare benefits would be immediately terminated. Oh, and they raised the cost of the dues also.

The Free Beacon spoke with one unemployed member who said that they had been largely unable to contact any of the leadership last year and couldn’t get answers to concerns that were raised over their healthcare benefits.

“Some members, they do wonder what the union is doing with the dues. … I don’t think [union leaders] actually care about the members,” the member said. “They care about their pockets, that’s all they care about.”

So you’re out of work for the entire year and falling behind on your bills. Meanwhile, your union bosses are collecting their paychecks without any problems. And they’re spending your dues money on political activism and campaign activity. Remind me again why you’re so hyped up on “looking for the union label?” Sounds to me like you might want to consider packing up and moving to a right-to-work state. (Unless Joe Biden and the Democrats your union is giving your dues money to succeed in wiping out those laws this year.)