UNITE HERE Local 11, currently representing over 30,000 hospitality workers in southern California and Arizona, has a long history in Los Angeles. Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees (HERE) Local 11 brought together previously separate locals for waiters, waitresses, bartenders, cooks, and other hotel workers. In the 1970s and 1980s, the predominantly Spanish-speaking membership of Local 11 fought for fuller participation in their union against a largely Anglo leadership. In 1989, María Elena Durazo became the first Latina to lead a major Los Angeles union. She began reorienting the local towards greater membership participation and a more assertive stance with employers. Durazo and Local 11 helped launch what would become the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) in 1993, and the two organizations collaborated with other unions on many later campaigns, notably the Los Angeles Living Wage Campaign. Local 11 merged with locals in Santa Monica and Long Beach, and later moved into Arizona. Its parent union took the name UNITE HERE in 2004.
The UNITE HERE Local 11 Oral History Project features interviews with rank-and-file leaders, local union staff, and national union officials. They document the transformation of internal union culture, and the experiences and perspectives of union activists from a variety of workplaces. Long-time organizer and former Local 11 and LAANE staff member Vivian Rothstein led the project with the assistance of current Local 11 staff member Danielle Wilson. Karen Brodkin (UCLA Anthropology), Virginia Espino (UCLA Labor Studies and Chicano/a Studies), Antonio Mendoza (Local 11), Mar Preston (former LAANE community organizer), and Gaspar Rivera Salgado (UCLA Labor Center) each helped conduct interviews. The UCLA Institute for Research on Labor & Employment (IRLE), Labor Center, Department of History, and the Library Department of Special Collections supported the project. For information contact the IRLE: https://irle.ucla.edu/.