These Two Union Bigs Really, Really Don’t Like Each Other

09 hendrik lgl These Two Union Bigs Really, Really Dont Like Each OtherUnion bigs Bruce Raynor and Peter Ward really, really, really don’t like each other.

Their mutual distaste spilled into the pages of The New York Times on Monday morning, with a report that Mr. Raynor’s Sidney Hillman Foundation has decided to relocate its annual journalism award dinner from the Hudson Theater at West 44th Street, a theater serviced by workers belonging to Mr. Ward’s union, because they refuse to wait on a man they are convinced misallocated $15 million from their union to his, the apparel workers’ union:

“We would prefer that Mr. Raynor not conduct his events in hotels where we represent the workers,” said Peter Ward, the president of Local 6 of the hotel workers’ union. “Our union and our members don’t want to serve this guy.”

..In February, Unite Here’s public review board asked federal prosecutors to investigate Mr. Raynor’s transfer of $15 million from that union to apparel union locals that later quit Unite Here.

Mr. Raynor’s defenders say he was merely moving money that the apparel workers had taken with them into the merger.

But Mr. Ward, the Local 6 president, said: “As far as we’re concerned, his behavior has damaged our members irreparably. We don’t think he’s a legitimate labor leader.”

Mr. Raynor has some prominent supporters, including judges for the Hillman Foundation awards, which reward social-justice journalism. Among them is New Yorker editor Hendrik Hertzberg, who told New York Times reporter Steven Greenhouse (an award recipient) that, “The Hillman Foundation has its roots in the needle trades unions, but it’s independent, and why anyone who believes in the value of the trade union movement would want to spoil this party is a profound mystery. The Hillman Foundation ought to be sacrosanct to everyone in the trade union movement.”

Read the article here.

Read more about Mr. Raynor and the disputed $15 million here.

drubinstein@observer.com