Boston Globe: Hospitality Union Recruits African-American Workers

The training program is the central component of an effort by Unite Here Local 26, the hospitality workers’ union, to reach out to the African-American community to fill jobs that offer good wages and benefits. The initiative aims to expand the diversity of hotel workforces, increasingly dominated by immigrants, and meet the growing demand in the industry for employees who are fluent in English. Local 26 is taking a progressive approach to dealing with the economic disparities facing African-Americans, said Tito Jackson, a Boston councilor who used his connections with the black community to recruit trainees for the program.

“There is a very long history of African-American workers in that industry, but as of late we have seen a lot less,” he said. “This program is a workforce development and job-preparedness program that really gives people the skills, the confidence, as well as the opportunity to open the doors of jobs where they can take care of their family.”


Boston Passes Strong Trust Act

The Greater Boston Labor Council worked closely with a number of its affiliated unions and a host of Boston-based immigrant rights advocates in lobbying the Trust Act ordinance through the Boston City Council, which unanimously passed the Boston Trust Act in August.

Brian Lang, the president of UNITE HERE Local 26, whose union helped spearhead the effort to protect immigrant workers, praised Walsh and the Boston City Council.

Local 26 Supports the Trust Act

The following is testimony from Local 26 Secretary Treasurer Henry Green given at a Boston City Council hearing on the Trust Act. The Trust Act would limit the Boston Police Department’s ability to detain immigrants for ICE.

Hello my name is Henry Green. I live on Gallivan Blvd in Dorchester and I am the Secretary – Treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 26.

I am here to urge City Council to pass the Trust Act but first to amend it to only hold people with open criminal warrants.

Immigrant rights are civil rights and Boston needs to join the growing national movement of cities, counties and states across the country that are refusing to unconstitutionally detain individuals without criminal warrants. The members of Local 26 are overwhelmingly Boston residents and overwhelmingly immigrants. They work hard to ensure that Boston runs smoothly. They are ambassadors for the city, greeting visitors in our hotels, welcoming them to Boston and making sure their stays are smooth and enjoyable. Our members pay taxes in the City, they are productive citizens and as a result of earning decent wages our members help ensure the economies of Boston’s neighborhoods are strengthened. They support local businesses and are active in their communities. Yet some of our members are undocumented and some of their family members are undocumented. All are trying to gain documentation, but while they wait through the gridlock in DC, they have to live in fear in Boston.

Please support strengthening Boston’s communities and the workers who help make Boston strong. Please support passage of the Trust Act with amendments to only hold people with open criminal warrants. Thank you for taking the time to hear my testimony today.