Cafeteria Local 471
United Cafeteria Workers Local 471 organized low wage restaurant workers and represented them from the 1930s until a merger with the Hotel & Restaurant Employees Union Local 25 in the early 1970s.

The union was nearly destroyed in 1948 when the U.S. government embarked on a drive to run communists and other radicals out of the unions.

The union called a strike in January 1948 after the private Government Services Inc. cafeteria operator refused to bargain citing the union’s failure to file non-communist affidavits with the government.

An eleven week strike followed that nearly broke the union, but a contract was salvaged even though the leaders had to relent on signing the affidavits.

The union joined with civil rights leader Mary Church Terrell to help lead the effort to desegregate public accommodations in the city—particularly its restaurants.

The successful effort led to the reinstatement of the District of Columbia’s so called “lost laws” from the 19th Century that prohibited discrimination.

The union affiliated with the Hotel and Restaurant Union in 1955 as Local 473 and was ultimately merged with other locals to form Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union Local 25.
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