For immediate release
November 9, 2016
Immigrant Workers Increase Latino Voter Turnout, Topple Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Culinary Union Helps Elect first Latina to US Senate, First Latino to House for Nevada
Las Vegas, NV – The 270,000 members of UNITE HERE and their hundreds of thousands of family members are standing strong today after their historic efforts to increase Latino voter turnout in the 2016 election. The union that helped Clinton carry this swing state says hospitality workers have an increasing voice as voters and stakeholders in American politics.
“Our members have experienced how working families have suffered when Donald Trump is in charge. We have to organize to make change—no matter who is in office. The mentality of hard work produced a number of bright spots last night and showed that the way we organize can produce tremendous wins,” said D. Taylor, president of UNITE HERE.
“Our members—housekeepers, cooks, cocktail waitresses, food servers, bellmen and porters who take a leave of absence from hotel and casino jobs to work full-time as political organizers—have spent decades focusing on increasing Latino voter turnout in places like Nevada, Arizona and Florida. We’re one of the toughest and best-trained grassroots field operations in the country, and a number of local results from last night demonstrate the power of our organization,” said María Elena Durazo, vice president for immigration, diversity and civil rights at UNITE HERE.
In the past two months, UNITE HERE members knocked on over 350,000 doors and talked to over 75,000 voters. The North American hospitality workers union sent nearly 400 members from 25 union locals in 17 states to battleground states.
In Nevada, the Culinary Union—UNITE HERE’s largest affiliate and the largest political organization in the state—led 150 union members in canvassing efforts in Las Vegas and Reno over the past 10 weeks. Reinforcements of 150 more canvassers from UNITE HERE locals as far away as Connecticut and Hawaii joined the Nevada operation for the last 10 days.
“The Culinary Union has worked for 81 years to build the strength we demonstrated Tuesday night. Our members helped 2,200 new citizens naturalize and registered more than 8,000 new voters just this year. We broke another barrier for Latinos in this country by electing Catherine Cortez Masto the first Latina to the U.S. Senate and Ruben Kihuen the first Latino Congressman from Nevada,” said Geoconda Arguello-Kline, Secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Union. “We know more than most what it’s like to have Donald Trump as a boss and we did everything we could to ensure that he wasn’t our next President.”
In Arizona, UNITE HERE and its community ally CASE Action helped defeat anti-immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio. “Our efforts represent the most diverse political operation in Phoenix. Hospitality workers, together with Latino and East African Muslim teens, played a major role,” said Betty Guardado, secretary-treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 631. Building on their work of 2012, the union–community partnership completed over 11,000 new and updated voter registrations in greater Phoenix as part of coalition that registered 150,000. Latino early voting in Arizona this year increased more than in any other state compared to 2012, according to statistics compiled by Catalist.
In Florida, UNITE HERE electoral operations focused on increasing Latino voter turnout in Miami-Dade, Orange and Osceola counties. Latinos cast about 14 percent of the all of the state’s early and absentee ballots—far ahead of where they were in 2012. Early voting in both Miami-Dade and Orange counties had already produced 85% of those counties’ 2012 ballot total. In Osceola County—where UNITE HERE successfully campaigned for Jose Alvarez for the mayor of Kissimmee—early voting reached 95% of total votes cast in 2012 and nearly one-third of Latino early voters cast ballots for the first time.
In Pennsylvania, UNITE HERE more than doubled its previous electoral efforts in Northwest and West Philadelphia to bolster African-American voter turnout in Philadelphia, the largest city in any swing state.
Teleconference hosted by UNITE HERE’s Culinary Union leaders in Las Vegas
Wednesday, November 9, 2016 at 11am Pacific.