Local 100’s mission has always been to organize and represent unorganized service sector workers in the middle south states of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas, and therefore allowing our members to create a vehicle to allow them a clear voice and real power in their workplace and their communities.
Founded in 1980 in New Orleans as an independent union by Hyatt housekeepers, laundresses, valets, concierges, door and bell staff who successfully organized the first union hotel since the 1930’s and by cafeteria, janitorial, and line workers at Tulane University, these lower wage workers in the hospitality industry forged the way for other workers who believed that one could organize – and win – in the south. Wade Rathke helped to organize these workers when it was the independent union in 1979, United Labor Unions, and has continued on as Chief Organizer ever since. The fight and spirit of these workers led them to affiliate with the Service Employees International Union in 1984, as Local 100. As part of SEIU, Local 100 quickly added service sector public workers particularly school support workers in East Baton Rouge and Jefferson Parishes, and now many other schools districts throughout Louisiana. In 1985 then Governor Bill Clinton granted Local 100 checkoff and representational rights for state workers, and since then Local 100’s banner has rallied hospital, homecare, and other state workers in Arkansas. In 1985 Local 100 had its first success in organizing nursing homes and now represents nursing home workers and community mental health and disability workers throughout Louisiana. In 1991 the passage of Senate Bill 92 signed by Governor Anne Richards granted checkoff rights to school support workers and Local 100 successfully organized these workers in the Houston and Dallas areas in Texas.
Local 100 has continued to break new ground – organizing garbage workers throughout southern Louisiana, winning contracts for city/parish workers in East Baton Rouge and Orleans Parishes, organizing head start workers in Baton Rouge, Corpus Christi, and several locations in Houston, organizing weather observers around the country from Alaska to Florida from California to New York, and leading efforts to pass living wage laws in Houston and New Orleans.
Now the union continues to make a priority of organizing lower wage private sector workers in the hospitality, janitorial, and other classifications in our jurisdiction. We also have become the union for health care workers as we move organizing efforts in both public and private hospitals in Arkansas and Louisiana. We are determined to organize head start workers throughout Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas in order to bring all standards to the level in our contracts.
Local 100 has a big vision and a long road ahead, but is determined to continue to break hard ground and keep fighting. Local 100 leaders and members are used to struggling and winning and are committed to moving that spirit and success throughout our jurisdictions and geography.
After more than 25 years as an SEIU local, in October 2009 Local 100 became independent again. We enjoyed our time with SEIU and are excited at once again being independent, having the opportunity to rebuild the United Labor Unions, and once again becoming Local 100 of the ULU with new partners on the cutting edge of labor organizing in the Middle South, North America, and the world.