The governing body of UNITE HERE, the union of hospitality workers in the U.S. and Canada, has elected D. Taylor as its President. John Wilhelm, who had served as the President of UNITE HERE since 2009, retired on November 29 at the meeting of the UNITE HERE General Executive Board. Wilhelm was previously the President of UNITE HERE's Hospitality Division, and before that was the President of HERE, one of the two unions that merged to form UNITE HERE in 2004.
From left to right: Secretary-Treasurer Sherri Chiesa, President D. Taylor, and Retiring President John Wilhelm
Taylor is the leader of UNITE HERE's largest affiliate, Local 226 in Las Vegas (also called the Culinary Workers' Union). Representing 60,000 workers, Local 226 is widely recognized for leading the transformation of hospitality-industry jobs from law-wage, insecure work to stable, middle-class occupations. The housekeepers, restaurant workers, beverage service workers and bell staff who make up the membership of Local 226 are also recognized as a powerful political force in Nevada and national politics. UNITE HERE was the first international union to endorse Barack Obama for President in 2008, and Local 226 has been credited with leading the transformation of Nevada from a red state to a Democratic stronghold. This year the union again led a major political program, particularly among Latino voters, contributing to President Obama's victory in Nevada.