Local H-56 is a local of the International Union of Service Workers and Allied Employees that proudly represents workers at 18 hotels and conference centers in the Twin Cities.
Local H-56 was formed in 1956 by a group of workers trying to organize the now-defunct Shelton Hotel. That first group of employees affiliated with the International Union of Hotel and Motel Employees. In 1984, the International Union of Hotel and Motel Employees merged with the larger Service Workers of America and Canada to form the International Union of Service Workers and Allied Employees. At that time, the "H" prefix was added to designate that we were part of the pre-merger International Union of Hotel and Motel Employees. Most of the members of the International are members of locals from the Service Workers of America and Canada and there has been some recent tension between the International leadership (dominated by the old Service Workers locals) and the Hotel and Motel Employees segment.
Membership grew in the 1990s due to intensive grass-roots organizing campaigns and international membership peaked in 2000 at around 100,000, including 3,000 strong members of Local H-56. Our membership was hit hard by the recession that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, and then again by the recession that followed the financial crisis of 2008. During those hard times, many of our brothers and sisters were laid off or had to work reduced shifts. The hotel business has now recovered, but employment levels in the hotels remain stuck at recession levels. So the pace of work has increased significantly.
Regardless of the economic climate, our mission is the same--fighting for hard-working hospitality employees and continuing the struggle for social justice.