For immediate release
December 10, 2020
Georgia Hospitality Workers’ Union UNITE HERE Celebrates 500-Person Door-to-Door Canvass to Take Back the Senate, Win Urgently Needed COVID Relief
Hospitality workers were joined by Atlanta City Council members and allies to highlight campaign to knock on over one million doors to elect Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff
ATLANTA—Over 500 UNITE HERE housekeepers, bartenders, cooks, and concessions workers rallied in Atlanta on Wednesday to stress the urgency needed to take back the Senate. They were joined by Atlanta City Council Members Michael Julian Bond, Matt Westmoreland, Andre Dickens, Amir Farokhi, Cleta Winslow, and Natalyn Archibong, CEO of the New Georgia Project Nsé Ufot, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre, and other allies.
“Unions built the middle class and deserve a seat at the table. That’s why your work is so important. Because if we want to win a senate majority that can pass transformative legislation for working people like the PRO Act, we need to win both senate seats in January here in Georgia,” said Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore.
As a result COVID-19, hospitality workers have dealt with job loss and a broken unemployment system, loss of healthcare, and loss of family members and friends. Union members are deeply committed to having a seat at the table and making sure that elected officials reflect the priorities of working people in Atlanta. UNITE HERE is working in partnership with key allies to deliver the vote for Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff because hospitality workers urgently need a Senate that will pass meaningful relief for their families, including extended enhanced unemployment benefits and health care.
“We’re not going back to where we were before COVID-19. There has to be a new normal. Elected officials that we put in office need to say out loud that joining unions is the only way to and rebuild our lives, moving forward together,” said Wanda Brown, bartender at The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta and member of UNITE HERE Local 23.
During the presidential election, UNITE HERE canvassers knocked on the doors of 3 million people to encourage them to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the battleground states of Nevada, Arizona, Florida, and Pennsylvania, helping drive unprecedented voter turnout while staying safe through a strict contactless canvassing protocol—now they’re fighting to do the same in Georgia by knocking on over one million doors.
“We’re out here to win, but we’re working to do much more than just win on January 5th,” said UNITE HERE Secretary-Treasurer Gwen Mills. “Every door we knock on, every conversation we have, every challenge we overcome, UNITE HERE members are building our skills, we are building our team, we are building our solidarity for the fights ahead. Workers are building the power to take back what we deserve on election day and beyond.”
UNITE HERE Local 23 is a labor union that represents 3,000 hospitality workers at military bases, hotels and the Atlanta Airport in Georgia. Through grassroots organizing they’ve been able to raise wages and gain crucial workplace protections.
UNITE HERE has over 300,000 members working in the North American hospitality industry. Over 75% of its members are still out of work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, down from a peak of 98%. During the 2020 presidential election UNITE HERE ran the largest union door-to-door canvassing operation.