For immediate release
October 18, 2017
UNITE HERE Launching Full-Court Press to Save TPS
Plans outlined by the union include press conferences with TPS recipient members, digital campaign, and worker lobbying
Washington, DC – In advance of an expected early November decision from the Department of Homeland Security regarding the fate of Central American TPS recipients, UNITE HERE is outlining plans for a national campaign to save TPS. The union, which consists of 270,000 hospitality workers, represents many immigrants including thousands working on TPS worker authorizations.
This morning, a UNITE HERE Local 23 member and Salvadorian TPS recipient Juan Hernandez Yanez, a cafeteria worker at the IMF, spoke at a Capitol Hill press conference with the AFL-CIO and other allies on the importance of extending TPS for countries facing expiration. Juan was able to land a good union job with benefits and a voice at work because of his TPS work authorization. Without TPS, he will lose his work authorization, his job, health insurance, and any means to support himself. See stories from other UNITE HERE TPS recipients like Juan below.
“Work authorizations open the door for immigrants to obtain good union jobs with benefits, a modest retirement, and a voice at work,” said Maria Elena Durazo, General Vice President of UNITE HERE. “Our union represents thousands of immigrant workers on TPS who sustain the hospitality industry. If TPS is ended for Honduras, Nicaragua, or any of the other countries up for renewal in the coming months, our industry will lose tens of thousands of dedicated long time workers – who will in turn lose their livelihoods and their families. People like Juan pay taxes, play by the rules, and have built lives here in the U.S. TPS recipients, for no fault of their own, are at serious risk of being deported to countries that are not equipped to absorb them – which would create a humanitarian crisis abroad and an economic crisis here in the U.S.”
Under Vice President Durazo’s leadership, UNITE HERE has carved out a unique role on TPS, leveraging the union’s relationships with private sector employers to encourage them to engage on TPS – including leading a successful UNITE HERE campaign in Orlando, FL that culimanted in Disney appealing to DHS to extend Haitian TPS. In the lead up to the November decision, UNITE HERE is continuing to partner with employers to together communicate to the administration the dire consequences mass TPS expirations would have on the hospitality industry. The union will be launching a major digital action on Monday, October 23rd mobilizing thousands of workers to press top leaders in the Trump administration. Also that week, UNITE HERE TPS recipients from around the country are flying in to Washington, DC to personally appeal to their members of Congress to develop a legislative means to extend TPS for countries facing expiration. These efforts next week will include UNITE HERE affiliates across the country participating in a national day of grassroots demonstrations with the larger immigration movement on October 26th.
UNITE HERE’s latest advocacy for TPS extension comes on the heels of continued work nationally and in states including Florida, Nevada, California, and New York that have called on the administration to save TPS. UNITE HERE is a longtime leader on immigrant worker rights, including organizing the Immigrant Worker Freedom Ride over a decade ago.
UNITE HERE represents 270,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries in the U.S. and Canada, including many immigrant, DACA, and TPS members.