RAYNOR, BRUCE (1950– ), U.S. labor leader. Raynor was born and raised on Long Island, New York, the son of a truck driver and a department store worker. He joined the labor movement shortly after graduating from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., in 1973, rose to become president of UNITE, the apparel and textile workers union, then became the first president of the organization formed in 2004 by the merger of UNITE and HERE, the hotel and restaurant employees union. Raynor entered Cornell on a scholarship, majoring in biochemistry, but found himself stirred by the Vietnam antiwar and civil rights movements. He gave up his chemistry scholarship and enrolled in Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations. After graduation, Raynor joined the education department of the Textile Workers Union, which in a few years would merge with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union and became the ACTWU. His first assignment was to help lead a six-month strike at Oneida Knitting Mills. It resulted in the union's first contract with that company. Raynor became anassociate organizing director and soon found himself taking part in a bigger fight, one that had begun in 1963. This was an effort to organize J.P. Stevens, the giant textile company, a struggle dramatized in the 1979 movie Norma Rae. Raynor was said to have been the inspiration for the union organizer portrayed by actor Ron Leibman. In 1980, the ACTWU finally won a contract at Stevens. A year later, Raynor was named Southern Regional Director of the union and in 1993 was appointed executive vice president. He held the same post when the ACTWU and the International Ladies Garment Workers Union merged in 1995 to create UNITE. Three years later, he
Women's Wear Daily (Feb. 17, 1998); The Forward (July 20, 2001).
[Mort Sheinman (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.