UNITE HERE’s “Our Shot” program has applied the principles of any good organizing drive to our unionwide vaccination campaign. We’ve reached over 675,000 hospitality workers, their families, and neighbors by meeting our multiracial, largely immigrant membership where they’re at – in the workplace, in their neighborhoods, and at food distributions – and speaking to them in ten languages.
We’ve talked to UNITE HERE members about the issues they care about, emphasizing that vaccination is a part of our Union’s ongoing fight for access to quality health care, that it’s a critical way for frontline workers to protect their families, and that it’s key to rebuilding the hospitality industry and getting back to work.
The “Our Shot” campaign is carried by trusted messengers – the Union itself, local elected officers, and rank-and-file leaders on a workplace-by-workplace basis. And we have directly acknowledged the history of medical racism, and recognized our members’ need to be informed about the science and safety of the COVID-19 vaccines, while having the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns. We partnered with medical professionals and public health experts to host countless local and union-wide virtual forums and townhalls, and to produce info graphics and fact sheets to both share on social media and in the shop.
We ultimately communicated with over 675,000 Americans at pop-up clinics, food distributions, phone-banking, mass text announcements, virtual events, and more – encouraging them to get vaccinated and addressing misinformation in ten languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Somali, Arabic, Bengali, and Amharic.
UNITE HERE affiliates across the country have adopted innovative approaches to promote vaccination and counter misinformation. We’ve offered free COVID vaccines at food distributions, hiring and resource fairs, and pop-up clinics; partnered with local health providers to enable union organizers to schedule workers for vaccines directly; coordinated vaccination campaigns with a number of major hospitality, gaming and food service employers; pushed municipal governments to give frontline hospitality workers priority vaccine access; and participated in the White House’s grassroots Vaccine Month of Action.