For immediate release
October 12, 2020
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, former Congressman Luis Gutierrez join kickoff event
Over 100 out-of-work hospitality workers now canvassing full-time through election day to deliver crucial votes for Joe Biden
PHILADELPHIA— Over 100 UNITE HERE canvassers hit the doors today in Philadelphia, following a socially-distanced rally at Fairhill Square park. The canvassers, many of them out-of-work hospitality workers, are on the ground for the final weeks of the campaign to mobilize Black and Brown voters in North, West and Southwest Philadelphia.
“Here in the poorest big city in the country, Black Philadelphians aren’t just facing down COVID-19, but also an epidemic of gun violence, and generations of poverty,” said Nicole Hunt, President of UNITE HERE Local 634, “Our mission is to break through the hopelessness and apathy that so many Black Philadelphians feel, and let them know that our lives are literally at stake in this election. As Trump tells white supremacists to stand back and stand by, we’re telling Black voters to step up, step out and vote.”
Canvassers were joined by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and former Congressman Luis Gutierrez, visiting the city to help mobilize the Puerto Rican community.
“November’s election is like no other in our lifetime,” said Mayor Jim Kenney, “The outcome in Pennsylvania will determine whether our nation moves beyond the chaos, hate, bigotry and incompetence of Donald Trump. Every vote will be crucial. I join with UNITE HERE and urge all who oppose Trump’s bigotry and hate to get out and vote.”
“Donald Trump has a history of attempting to manipulate and take advantage of Puerto Ricans,” said former Congressman Gutierrez, “I’m pleased to be on the ground with UNITE HERE in Philadelphia to ensure that Puerto Rican voters help keep Trump a one-term president!”
Pennsylvania is increasingly seen as the swing state most likely to determine the outcome of the electoral college, and hospitality workers union UNITE HERE views the Philadelphia ground game as a key part of Joe Biden’s path to victory. Three UNITE HERE locals—Locals 274 and 634 of Philadelphia and Local 54 of Atlantic City—are coordinating the effort, joining the union’s operations in Nevada, Arizona, and Florida.
“Four years ago, I didn’t vote,” said Margarita Cruz, a laid-off room attendant from the unionized Wyndham Hotel, now a full-time UNITE HERE canvasser. Cruz’s father and sisters were still living in Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria hit. She traveled there to help her family rebuild. “It was insulting to see Trump throw paper towels into the crowd for a photo op when he was doing nothing to bring the real aid Puerto Ricans needed. This election, I won’t only vote, I’ll make sure other Philadelphians like me make it to the polls.”
“Getting out on the doors is a key part of any election cycle and, especially this year, voters are tired of just being talked at; they’re looking to have a conversation,” said D. Taylor, UNITE HERE International President, “That’s why UNITE HERE has developed a safe, comprehensive model to conduct door-to-door canvassing that allows us to do this work safely. Our members have seen first-hand what’s at stake in this election. They know that their lives and livelihoods are on the line, and they’re willing to put in the work to ensure that Trump is voted out of office.”
UNITE HERE is a labor union with over 300,000 worker members in hotels, food service across North America.