For immediate release
October 26, 2021
‘Striketober’ has hit the VA Governor’s Race — and it could help deliver the state for Democrats.
ARLINGTON — With just a week left, Virginia’s elections are shaping up to be a critical battleground for labor organizing amidst a month dubbed as ‘Striketober,’ due to the resurgence of militant labor activity as union favorability is at its highest in decades. The largest canvassing operation in the state is led by 200 rank-and-file UNITE HERE hospitality workers, who are aiming to knock over 200,000 doors by November 2. The Union’s leadership and members believe that a victory for Terry McAuliffe and Democrats up and down the ticket could spur the creation of thousands of union jobs in the state.
“We’re all in on Virginia because we’re all in on organizing,” said D. Taylor, UNITE HERE International President. “We’re inspired by the wave of strikes and labor actions taking place right now across the country and know that politics has a vital role to play in bringing the Union to workers who need it desperately. In this moment, we’re seeing a fundamental realignment of power toward workers in the United States, which is why we need to make sure we elect allies who’ll fight for working people.”
As thousands of UNITE HERE workers and others across the country organize for better wages, benefits, and dignity at work, UNITE HERE canvassers, many of whom still don’t have open workplaces to return to, are also taking their fight to the doors in Virginia.
“As a shop steward and organizer, I know how many more people desperately want and need a Union,” said Forrest Rowe, a UNITE HERE Local 23 member, canvasser, and Richmond resident. “I know firsthand the difference having elected allies makes when it comes to organizing. I’ve been on this canvass from day one to make sure we get them.”
“When my union hotel in DC went bankrupt, I was devastated,” said Tsehay Chereto, a UNITE HERE Local 25 member, canvasser, and Burke resident. “That’s why, even though I don’t have a workplace anymore to organize in, I went out into the streets to knock on doors. It’s the same fight, and I’m knocking for affordable housing, healthcare and creating new Union jobs for myself and my co-workers in my home state of Virginia.”
UNITE HERE is a labor union representing over 300,000 hospitality workers. 98% of its members were laid off at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and as of summer 2021, over 60% remained out of work. In Virginia, UNITE HERE Locals 25 and 23 represent over 3,500 workers in hotels, restaurants, airports, airlines, cafeterias, and parking garages, as well as 8,000 Virginia voters.
Paid for by UNITE HERE Action Fund. Not authorized by a candidate.