For immediate release
January 12, 2021
(Washington, D.C.)—Today UNITE HERE President D. Taylor is issuing a letter to approximately 150 leaders in the hospitality industry who run major companies in gaming, hotels and food service, calling on the companies they lead to sever political contributions with 145 Republican Members of Congress who voted last week to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential Election in the wake of the mob violence at the Capitol incited by President Trump.
“What happened last week in Washington was a stain on our history and the only way we can truly move forward is for the people responsible for inciting the seditious mob to face some meaningful consequences,” says Taylor in the letter. “A start on those meaningful consequences would be for these 145 Members of Congress to face diminished support for their dishonest and cowardly vote.”
The Trump name has become synonymous with the family’s chain of hotels spread worldwide. Trump has curried particular favor with certain hospitality industry leaders that have propped up his administration and GOP leaders with significant financial support, for instance the Fertitta family, owners of Stations Casinos and Monty Bennett, CEO and Chair of Ashford Companies.
“For years, people like the Fertitta family and Monty Bennett have enabled Trump and the GOP with campaign contributions that have yielded four years of racism and authoritarianism, culminating in the horrific show of white supremacy and mob violence on display at the Capitol last week,” says President Taylor (in a separate statement). “Anyone financially supporting Trump or like-minded GOP leaders undermines our democracy and stands in the way of addressing the critical challenges we face ahead: ending the threat of COVID-19 and resuscitating the American economy.”
Meanwhile, Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel company, announced Monday that it would suspend campaign donations to any U.S. lawmaker that voted against the Biden certification.
UNITE HERE has played a pivotal role in the outcome of the Presidential race and the Senate run-offs in Georgia. The union of hospitality workers known for its impressive ground game that was key to turning Nevada and Arizona blue, led a program in Georgia with 1000 of its members, mostly laid-off workers hit hard by the pandemic. UNITE HERE’s effort, which reached 1.5 million doors in the six weeks leading up to Election Day in Georgia, was one part of a statewide coalitional effort that in all hit an unprecedented 9 million doors. On the doors, workers stressed that we need new leadership to tackle the response to COVID-19. As a result of the pandemic, hospitality workers have dealt with unprecedented job losses, a government response that has been “too little, too late,” and loss of employer-provided health insurance. COVID-related shutdowns resulted in 98% layoff rates for UNITE HERE hospitality workers at their peak in 2020.
UNITE HERE has over 300,000 members working in the North American hospitality industry. Over 75% of its members are still out of work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, down from a peak of 98%. During the 2020 presidential election UNITE HERE ran the largest union door-to-door canvassing operation in the United States.