For immediate release
November 8, 2016
Immigrant Canvassers Increase Latino Voter Turnout in Battleground States
WHAT: Teleconference hosted by UNITE HERE’s Culinary Union leaders in Las Vegas will introduce UNITE HERE members—housekeepers, cooks, cocktail waitresses, food servers, bellmen and porters— who took a leave of absence from hotel and casino jobs to work full-time as political organizers and commanded one of the toughest and best-trained grassroots field operations in the country.
Election canvassers from cities in four battlegrounds states—Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona and Nevada—will offer brief analysis of their local efforts and describe how the combination of those efforts increased voter turnout in communities of color and produced major wins Tuesday night.
WHEN: Wednesday, November 9, 2016
2 PM Eastern/12 PM Arizona/11 AM Pacific
By phone: United States or Canada: (800) 288-8960
International Only (not Canada): (612) 332-0107
RSVP: E-mail AKammerer@unitehere.org
In Las Vegas: The Culinary Union, Conference Room B, 1630 South Commerce St. Las Vegas, NV 89102. Entrance on New York Ave.
- D. Taylor: president of UNITE HERE
- María Elena Durazo: vice president of immigration, diversity and civil rights at UNITE HERE
- Geoconda Arguello-Kline: secretary-treasurer of UNITE HERE’s Culinary Union
Hospitality workers–turned political organizers, including the following:
- Earlene Bly: African-American hotel housekeeper from Philadelphia
- Carmen Ramos: Housekeeper at Disneyworld, born in Puerto Rico, in Florida 28 years.
- Joanne Jacques: Haitian-American canvass lead in Miami, former cashier at Ft. Lauderdale airport
- German Gonzalez: Latino immigrant, server at the Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood, Fla.
- Celia Vargas: Latina guest room attendant at Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas
- James Reed: African-American cook at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas
- Melvin Ramos: millennial voter from Sacramento, California who volunteered in Reno for 2 months
As well as Sena Mohamed, a college student and daughter of East African refugees who registered new Phoenix voters in an effort to defeat Sheriff Joe Arpaio
WHY: To build strategic power, UNITE HERE has focused for over a decade on increasing Latino voter turnout in places like Nevada, Arizona and Florida.
In the past two months, UNITE HERE members knocked on over 338,000 doors and talked to over 74,000 voters. The North American hospitality workers union sent nearly 400 members from 25 union locals in 17 states to battleground states.
In Nevada, the Culinary Union—UNITE HERE’s largest affiliate and the largest political organization in the state—led more than 300 UNITE HERE members in canvassing efforts in Las Vegas and Reno over the past 10 weeks. At the end of Nevada early voting, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman tweeted that the Latino voter turnout efforts by members of UNITE HERE’s Culinary Union may have “saved civilization.”
# # #
WHO WE ARE
UNITE HERE is a labor union that represents 270,000 working people across North America. Our members work in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation and airport industries. Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 in Nevada are together the largest affiliate of UNITE HERE. They represent over 57,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno, including at most of casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas.
The membership of UNITE HERE is diverse. We are predominantly women and people of color and we hail from all corners of the planet. In Nevada, the Culinary Union is the state’s largest immigrant organization, with over 57,000 members. Together, we are building a movement to enable people of all backgrounds to achieve greater equality and opportunity.