For immediate release
January 4, 2023
UNITE HERE Hospitality Workers Launch Canvassing Blitz for Aaron Rouse in Virginia’s 7th Senate District
Strong turnout can deliver a win for Rouse – which is why UNITE HERE and our allies will knock on doors across the District
Norfolk, VA – Over two dozen UNITE HERE members and activists are canvassing full-time to help push Aaron Rouse over the finish line on the January 10th special election.
UNITE HERE Locals 25 and 23 represent over 3,500 workers in hotels, restaurants, airports, airlines, cafeterias, and parking garages in Virginia, as well as 8,000 Virginia voters. During the 2022 midterms, under the banner of “workers to the front,” the Union – which represents over 300,000 members nationwide — ran its largest-ever field program — knocking on over 2.7 million doors in Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Georgia before the runoff. Now, Workers to the Front is bringing the fight to the 7th Senate District.
Aaron Rouse has been a strong labor ally throughout his career. On the Virginia Beach City Council, he led efforts to promote good paying jobs and support local businesses first, not the big developers. Rouse worked closely with Virginia Beach City employees to help them unionize, and he is a strong advocate for raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, so that hard working families can earn a living wage.
UNITE HERE has a strong presence in and around the 7th District. With recent organizing wins at William & Mary and major contract gains at Colonial Williamsburg, UNITE HERE’s membership in the Hampton Roads region continues to expand.
The Workers to the Front canvassing team is comprised of both Colonial Williamsburg workers from the Hampton Roads area and canvassing veterans who helped play decisive roles for Democrats in Philadelphia and Georgia in 2022. Workers to the Front views this race as both a critical opportunity to Democrats in the Commonwealth and a test-run for the statewide elections later this year.
“I’ve been on the ground in Philly, I’ve been on the ground in Georgia, and I’m ready to be back on the ground in Virginia,” said Fred Hollis, a canvassing lead from Philadelphia and Workers to the Front veteran. “The right to choose is on the ballot in the 7th Senate District. I’m fighting this fight for my daughters and residents across the state whose rights are under siege. We cannot sit back.”
“This election will have real consequences for myself, my family, and my co-workers,” said Allen Walker, a Hampton Roads resident and worker at Colonial Williamsburg. “Organizing in Virginia is really heating up. That’s why we need allies in the State Senate more than ever. I know Aaron Rouse will stand with us when he wins.”
UNITE HERE is a labor union that represents over 300,000 workers around the country. UNITE HERE Locals 25 and 23 represent over 3,500 workers in hotels, restaurants, airports, airlines, cafeterias, and parking garages, in Virginia, as well as 8,000 Virginia voters.