D. Taylor was elected president of UNITE HERE! in November 2012. Taylor has been a leader in the American labor movement for 34 years. His union experience began as a shop steward at Harvey’s Restaurant in Washington, D.C., where he worked as a waiter in the 1970s. In 1981 he was hired by HERE, one of UNITE HERE’s predecessor unions, to organize workers in the Reno/Tahoe area. He later moved to Las Vegas to help lead a citywide strike by the local HERE affiliate, the Culinary Workers’ Union.
Taylor worked as an organizer during some of the Culinary Workers’ Union’s most difficult moments, including the six-year strike at the Frontier Casino. During his tenure in Las Vegas, the Culinary Workers’ Union grew from 18,000 members to over 55,000, and achieved a positive, mutually beneficial relationship with most major gaming companies. The union and employers partnered to form the Culinary Training Academy in 1993, which has become one of the leading work training schools in the country, moving more people from welfare to work than any other institution in Nevada. Taylor was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Culinary Workers’ Union in 2002.
In 2004, Taylor was appointed as the gaming division director of UNITE HERE. He has led major campaigns in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, and has expanded the union’s organizing in new markets such as Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Florida, and Indiana, as well as in tribal gaming.
Taylor was born and raised in Williamsburg, Virginia, and graduated from Georgetown University in 1980.