For immediate release
December 6, 2022
As part of the America Votes coalition knocking on over 5 million doors collectively across the state of Georgia, the hospitality workers’ union ran the largest labor-led field operation in Georgia this runoff.
ATLANTA — As Election Day wraps-up across the state of Georgia, 500 UNITE HERE canvassers are knocking on over half-a-million doors as part of the broader America Votes coalition that’s knocking on 5 million doors total. UNITE HERE’s canvassers are primarily housekeepers, cooks, bartenders, dishwashers, servers, and other workers from the hospitality industry on “leave of absence” to canvass full-time for Raphael Warnock from as early as when the runoff was first announced. In an election that saw shattered records for early voting on a single day, operations like UNITE HERE were key to driving people to the polls even ahead of today.
UNITE HERE Secretary-Treasurer Gwen Mills:
“UNITE HERE is proud to be part of the Georgia team that has transformed the state for working-class communities. Our long-term deep investment in door-to-door campaigning is behind this year’s Senate victories in Nevada, Arizona, and Pennsylvania as well. The turnout in Georgia is evidence that the ground game works. We operate within the margin of effort; driving campaigns in the spaces pundits say are likely out of reach. Our coalition’s efforts helped shatter records for early voting; regardless of results, today is a celebration of what we can achieve when we join and fight for our rights.”
UNITE HERE Local 23 President Marlene Patrick-Cooper:
“When we uplift the voices and experience of working-class people in the south, we are uplifting the soul of our nation. Look at the history of organizing against exploitation in Georgia alone. It involves Black and Brown and indigenous workers standing up against all odds. UNITE HERE’s diverse group of remarkable canvassers shows the potential of what we can achieve when we fight together, no matter the obstacles. We are not new to this; we are true to this.”
Linda Harris, UNITE HERE Local 23 Canvasser in Atlanta:
“I knocked doors with my Union, UNITE HERE because I know that’s what it takes to have your voice heard. Whether it’s rich companies, or politicians, we as a people — as a union — must hold them accountable. We are that powerful as a collective, and we showed it with our numbers. I am proud of the work I did to ensure a better future for my grandkids. And I am proud to honor the legacy of our parents and grandparents in the fight for our rights.”
Coming off the heels of securing the Senate majority for Democrats in Nevada, Arizona, and Pennsylvania, the Union that ran the country’s most effective ground operation — and largest in those critical battleground states — brought its decades-long track record back to Georgia for the runoff. UNITE HERE’s canvass team is a mix of local union and community members from Atlanta and Columbus, as well as a crew of seasoned veterans with experience organizing voters — and coworkers — around the issues that matter most to them.
UNITE HERE’s political program is part of a decades-long cycle of investment in building organizing infrastructure year-round, not just during election season. UNITE HERE members train as organizers and bring those skills into their neighborhoods, mostly Black and Brown and immigrant communities, during election season. After elections end, canvassers continue building power for working people by union organizing in the hospitality industry.
Under the banner, “Workers to the Front,” UNITE HERE’s 2022 midterm canvassing program is centered on the workers who lead its success — the people in the trenches talking to voters every day about the issues they care about most. This is amid a moment where workers across industries, particularly the hospitality industry, are more fed up than ever and are organizing for better conditions at their workplaces.
In 2020, after COVID-19 created one of the biggest crises in the Union’s history, UNITE HERE — with the backing of allies across the labor movement — led the way into the field to defeat Trump in Nevada, Arizona, Florida, and Pennsylvania. 1,700 hospitality workers knocked on over three million doors. Then, the Union joined Stacey Abrams and others in Georgia, growing to 1,100 in the field, hitting 1.6 million doors, and helping the broader coalition reach 10 million knocks before the runoffs.
In 2022, once again alongside the backing of the labor movement, the Union ran its largest-ever field program — knocking on over 2.7 million doors in Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Georgia before the runoff — reaching more voters than ever before.