Labor unions have been a real force for good in the life of my family, and in so many other families like mine. I am who I am, and who I have been able to become, in large part because of the strength and resources my parents and aunts were able to gather from their unions.
That is why I have used my celebrity to support unions and organizing drives, pro-union political candidates and Employee Free Choice. I will always be a union activist, and I am proud of that.
What I am not proud of is what the fight between UNITE HERE and Workers United/SEIU is doing to this movement I care so much about. I stood side by side with UNITE HERE throughout the merger, but it was obvious even from the outside that that organization was not reaching its potential. I supported Workers United members when they decided to go their own way. But now, even after the formation of that new union the fighting has not stopped.
I was just in Niagara Falls, Canada with workers who finally won their union, but now can't get a contract because their employer has gotten wrapped up in this intra-union battle. That is unacceptable and I raise my voice and add to the others that are calling for a quick and fair end to the UNITE HERE merger which ends all this infighting. The stakes for folks like these hotel workers in Canada are too high to let this drag on.
I call on President Wilhelm to accept President Raynor and President Stern's offer to enter into binding arbitration. The sooner the better.