UNITE HERE represents workers throughout the U.S. and Canada who work in Hospitality, Airports, Laundry, Food Service, Gaming, Manufacturing and Textile

UNITE HERE Canada Leadership

Karen Grella

Secretary Treasurer/Business Manager, Local 261 (Ottawa-Gatineau-Kingston)
International Vice President, UNITE HERE

Karen Grella has served as Secretary Treasurer of the Hospitality and Service Trades Union Local 261, affiliated with UNITE HERE, since 1997. Local 261 represents over 2500 workers in the hospitality and service sectors in the Ottawa-Kingston area.

Born and raised in Ottawa, Karen grew up in a remarkable union family. Her father, Frank Grella, emigrated from Germany in the early 1950s; he got involved in the union after he was fired from his bartending job for organizing one of the first hotels to be unionized in the Ottawa area. Karen joined the staff in 1986, and has increasingly played a leadership role in Local 261, UNITE HERE and its Industry Councils. She was elected an International Vice President of UNITE HERE in November 2009.

Local 261 today is the leading union for hotel and food service workers in Canada’s Capital Region. The Local has a strong tradition of organizing, and its members enjoy some of the highest standards in Canada. Major employers include food service units at Ottawa University, the National Arts Centre, and the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and major hotels, including the Marriott, Delta and Crowne Plaza.