Bruce Raynor is the General President of UNITE HERE, the union representing nearly half a million workers in the hospitality, gaming, apparel, textile, retail, distribution, food service and laundry industries in North America. Described as a “rising star in the labor movement” (BusinessWeek, April 7, 2003), Raynor has distinguished himself as a creative, aggressive and strategic organizer with a broad understanding of the role of labor in the North American economy and society. He is regarded as a pioneer in the area of corporate campaigns, in particular the campaign against textile giant J.P. Stevens early in his career.
Through solidarity actions with HERE in support of the strike at the Frontier Casino in Las Vegas, Raynor developed a strong relationship with John W. Wilhelm. The merger of UNITE and HERE grew out of their work together in fall of 2003 on behalf of 4,000 workers who won a strike at Yale University and the historic Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride. Raynor serves on the Leadership Council of the Change to Win Federation which was created by seven unions in 2005, and represents more than six million US and Canadian workers.
Raynor handles many of the union’s key negotiations, and has collective bargaining relationships with firms such as Levi Strauss & Co., Liz Claiborne, T.J. Maxx/Marshall's, the Hartmarx Group, Calvin Klein, Jones of New York, national laundry industry employers such as ALSCO and National Linen, international hotel brands Starwood and Hilton, as well as global multi-service companies such as Aramark, Sodexho, and Compass. He has forged productive labor-management relationships with leaders in the apparel, textile, laundry, food service and other industries, which have contributed to improved conditions for members of UNITE HERE and success for companies.
Raynor began his union career with the former Textile Workers Union of America in 1973, where he worked on numerous southern organizing drives, including the successful J.P. Stevens organizing campaign in the late 1970s. He went on to organize tens of thousands of workers in the South, serving as Southern Director for nearly 20 years and leaving is as the largest affiliate of the former UNITE. He used a combination of aggressive rank and file organizing and alliances with civil rights and community leaders to build worker power. Based on this experience, he took responsibility for building the organizing program throughout the United States and Canada, and was subsequently elected to various leadership positions. He was elected Executive Vice President of ACTWU in 1993 and elected Executive Vice President of UNITE at its founding convention in 1995. Raynor was elected Secretary Treasurer of UNITE in 1999, as President in 2001 and was elected General President of UNITE HERE at the union's founding convention in July 2004.
Raynor has played an important role in extending health and pension benefits to low-wage workers. He is Chairman of UNITE HERE's national pension and insurance funds. He is Chairman of the Board of Amalgamated Life Insurance Company, a UNITE HERE affiliated insurance company established in 1943 which provides insurance services to UNITE HERE members and other union members. As Chairman of the Amalgamated Bank, the only union-owned bank in the U.S. with assets of $4.2 billion, and as Co-Chair of the Council of Institutional Investors, an organization of institutional investors that control $3 trillion in pension funds, he is a leader in corporate governance initiatives. He chairs the Change to Win Taskforce on capital strategies. Raynor is also President of The Sidney Hillman Foundation, a foundation that has supported and rewarded progressive journalism since 1950.
He is a member of Cornell University’s Board of Trustees since 1988 and serves on the Advisory Board for the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He graduated from Cornell’s ILR School in 1972 and in 1999, received the ILR School’s Groat Award for Distinguished Alumni.
Raynor lives in Nyack, New York, with his wife Joan. They have five children.