For immediate release
November 7, 2023
UNITE HERE’s field operation is knocked over 230,000 doors across some of the Commonwealth’s most competitive House and Senate races and the resort casino referendum in Richmond
RICHMOND, VA. — As results continue to pour in, 180 UNITE HERE members, allies, and staff across Virginia and celebrating an incredible election season. With reproductive and economic justice on the ballot statewide, Democrats took back the House and secured their Senate majority.
“Virginia is the bellwether for 2024 and the bellwether for the South, and we’ve seen now, undeniably, that even against significant headwinds workers and their champions can win big.” said D Taylor, President of UNITE HERE. “Glenn Youngkin couldn’t stop workers from reclaiming the legislature, and now we’ll be looking to our allies – old and new – to make sure they deliver on their election promises to fight for Virginia’s working-class.”
In addition to the Richmond referendum, UNITE HERE knocked doors in HD 82, HD 97, HD 84, HD 94, HD 65, and overlapping Senate Districts 13, 27, and 22. UNITE HERE canvassers emphasize the connections between shared economic struggles and political activism through extensive, in-person conversations with voters. Tonight’s victory bears out that when workers talk to workers about the issues that matter most to them, political change follows.
“The future for politics Virginia looks incredibly bright,” said Marlene Patrick-Cooper, President of UNITE HERE Local 23. “Workers not only talked to thousands of voters about the connections between their economic conditions and politics, but they helped send a new generation of elected officials to the state capitol who deeply understand how unions change lives.”
“Tonight is a turning point in Virginia and our entire region,” said Paul Schwalb, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 25. “Virginia just elected the most pro-worker legislature in its history, which will build on the incredible progress we’ve made in the Commonwealth since 2019. Now we need to double down on our efforts to organize in Virginia, where working conditions for too many hospitality workers remain stuck in the past.”
In the 2021 general, 200 UNITE HERE members knocked over 230,000 doors for endorsed candidates in VA. Union-endorsed candidates won in every down-ballot race where UNITE HERE canvassed. In January, 20 UNITE HERE members knocked 9,000 doors for Aaron Rouse in VA-07’s special election, which Rouse won by just a few hundred votes. During the 2023 Primary, UNITE HERE knocked 67,000 doors for Lashrescse Aird – the largest canvassing operation in the race – helping her handily defeat Joe Morrisey in his home turf in Petersburg by 70-30.
UNITE HERE Locals 25 and 23 represent over 8,000 Virginia voters, including food service workers from universities such as VCU, the College of William and Mary, and Old Dominion, as well as hospitality workers at Colonial Williamsburg.