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Hotel-Restaurant workers merge with UNITE

CHICAGO, July 9 (UPI) -- Members of the hotel-restaurant employees union and the clothing, textiles and laundry workers union rallied in Chicago to celebrate their merger.

The new union, named UNITE HERE, represents 445,000 active members and more than 400,000 retirees in the United States and Canada.

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About 4,000 rank-and-file delegates attempted to march down fashionable Michigan Avenue after approving the merger Thursday but were stopped by police. Authorities allowed them to parade on nearby and less busy Columbus Drive.

Unions that formed UNITE successfully organized southern textile giant JP Stevens between 1963 and 1980 in a campaign made famous in the Academy Award-winning film "Norma Rae."

HERE, the 265,000-member Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union, organized more than 40,000 workers in Las Vegas.

The merged union will be headquartered in New York.

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