2014 International Union Convention

The 2014 UNITE HERE! International Union Convention took place on June 25-27th in Boston, MA.  Local 355 had the privilege of sending 6 delegates to represent South Florida.  We were honored to have Joanne Jacques and Rachelle Laurant share their stories with the over 800 person audience of union members from across two countries.  Delegates were together sharing experiences, celebrating victories, and making a commitment to build the strength of our union 50,000+ lives stronger! 

Calder Casino Workers meet with Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert

image002Since his candidacy for Mayor Oliver Gilbert has been a strong supporter of Local 355’s Florida Freedom Charter taking to heart the pillars that make up the Charter.  For this reason we felt he was deserving of the Freedom Fighter plaque presented to him by long time Local 355 member and key leader Patricia Pierre.

Calder Casino union members met with Mayor Gilbert to discuss their issues at work as they fight to negotiate their first Union Contract.  Calder Casino workers, some of whom are also residents of Miami Gardens told him of the conditions at their job and their plans for a strong Union Contract. We hope to keep working with the Mayor for better jobs in our communities!


Delegates Election

On May 13,2014 Local 355 members came together for their Quarterly Membership Meeting and Nomination and Election of Delegates to the International Union’s Convention.  Membership Meetings are held every three months and are a great opportunity for members to learn, understand and participate in the growth of their Union.  During this meeting we discussed the state of the Union’s finances and the plan to fight for and grow our member’s healthcare through actions in upcoming negotiations.

After the regular business of the Union the Election Committee entertained a motion to open the floor for nominations for Delegates and Alternates to the International Union Convention which will be held in Boston from June 25-27th.  Nominations were held in both the morning and the evening meetings.  Delegates and alternates were nominated to fill the appropriate number of spots allotted to our Local no election was necessary and the Election Committee Chair, Winston Garvey, cast a single ballot electing the following leaders delegates and alternates for Local 355. 


  • Wendi Walsh, Secretary Treasurer, Local 355
  • Rose Metellus Denis, President, Local 355
  • Joanne Jacques, Delaware North Co., FLL
  • Cruz Pena, Sky Chefs
  • Rick Sanchez, Fontainebleau Miami Beach
  • Patricia Pierre, HMS HOST MIA
  • Denia Fernandez, HMS HOST MIA
  • Kandiz Lamb, Vice President, Local 355
  • Patrick Volcin, Recording Secretary, Local 355
  • Rachelle Laurent, Westin Diplomat Hotel
  • Omar Williams, Isle of Capri


  • Maria Luisa Perez, Master Concession Air MIA
  • Joyce Shaw, Hudson News FLL
  • Mirela Ivan, Westin Diplomat Hotel

Congratulations to everyone!

A special thanks to the Elections Committee for their time and commitment throughout this process.  

  • Winston Garvey, Chair, SKY CHEFS
  • Irma Fenelus, HMS HOST MIA
  • Daniel Seymour, HMS HOST MIA
  • Eduardo Tartarini, Miami Beach Resort

Westin Diplomat Workers win a new Union Contract!


Over 600 workers at the Westin Diplomat Hotel, a Starwood property, in Hallandale Beach fought for, won, and ratified an amazing contract.   Workers signed numerous petitions, went on delegations to their managers and Human Resources, and showed determination to win and push over the finish line.

This renewed contract includes wage increases for all classifications, continued employer paid healthcare, improved working conditions and other continued improvements for the duration of this contract.    

Special Congratulations to the negotiating committee for their hard work, commitment and determination to keep moving their co-workers to victory!

¡Si Se Puede! Wi Nou Kapab! Yes We Can!

South Florida Rallies for Fair Immigration Reform

immigrationOn June 20, over 100 hospitality and service industry workers and their children, along with UNITE HERE Local 355 and community organizations, rallied in Miami to protest Senator Rubio’s lack of leadership on immigration reform. Dozens of children and parents held signs and called on Senator Rubio to work toward to a fair and comprehensive immigration policy. Andres Duran Cruz, a steward at the Isle Casino in Pompano Beach, said: “The sons and daughters of service workers and immigrant families have a strong message for Senator Rubio. We say, like him, we are the children of service workers. And like him, we are the children of immigrants.”

South Florida hotel workers at new St. Regis Hotel Bal Harbor organize their union

balharborOn Tuesday, October 30, employees at the new St. Regis Bal Harbor, located a few blocks north of Miami Beach, became members of UNITE HERE Local 355, South Florida’s hospitality and tourism workers union. The St. Regis workers will now begin negotiating their first contract.  With the union certification and acknowledgement by St. Regis management, the hotel becomes the fourth union hotel in South Florida. Suzette Annakie, housekeeping room attendant, “I feel proud of myself,proud of my co-workers, proud to have accomplished a goal I set out to win.  Now we have the next task in front of us, but I know we will win because we are united.” Members now join their hotel colleagues at the famed Fontainebleau Hotel, the Miami Beach Resort and the Westin Diplomat located in Hallandale Beach. The count was conducted by Fr. Alejandro Roque from the St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Miramar.