UNITE HERE is an organization of working people who believe that one job should be enough to provide for our families. We represent over 300,000 people across the United States and Canada working in the hospitality industry and beyond. We are mostly women and people of color, hailing from all corners of the planet.
Without a union, people who cook and clean for a living often live in poverty, but with UNITE HERE, housekeepers and cooks have achieved middle-class wages and top-notch health insurance. Having attained some of the highest standards for work in the global hospitality industry, we have been the fastest growing private-sector union in the United States. This record growth spanned from the frontlines of the new economy in Silicon Valley to the American South, underscoring UNITE HERE’s commitment to organize in conservative, right-to-work states with uncommonly successful results.
UNITE HERE has a widely recognized, decades-long track record organizing the people progressives need to vote. And while COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on our members—with 98% laid off at the peak of the pandemic and a slow recovery anticipated for the hospitality industry—we are determined to do whatever it takes to Take Back our country in 2020. We will continue forward with major efforts to engage at the grassroots level in the key swing states of Nevada, Arizona and Florida.
It’s taken decades of organizing, marching, and striking to win the good pay, benefits, and dignity on the job we’ve earned for ourselves and our families. We’re ready to take back what’s ours.
Our Union’s political victories in recent years buck conventional wisdom about what workers can achieve under Trump, with UNITE HERE playing a key role in delivering hard fought victories in both Nevada and Arizona, the only US Senate seats to swing blue in 2018.
Prior to the pandemic, we made a commitment to build on proven GOTV successes in regions across North America. Now, though our industries have been impacted more than nearly any other, we are even more steadfast in that commitment. We’re prepared to flip the narrative regarding what our Union can do even in the midst of COVID-19.
Donald Trump has failed us. As stay-at-home orders spread, UNITE HERE members and workers across the country counted on our elected officials for support in the form of expanded unemployment benefits, protection of health insurance, and swift response to control spread of the virus. Instead, we and millions more were left to fend for ourselves while Trump and his cronies bailed out corporations.
We need a President and Vice President who are committed to working with us to make our workplaces better, and who understand that One Job Should Be Enough. We need elected leaders who will protect our union health insurance, implement immigration reform, stand up to sexual harassment, and take meaningful, transformative steps to dismantle the scourge of systemic racism in our country.
We’re ready to do our part to take back our country by doubling down in Nevada, flipping the state in Arizona, and making a critical difference in Florida.
In Nevada, for the last 20 years, we have built a political organizing powerhouse, what The New York Times has called a “remarkable turnout operation.” With a base of 140,000 UNITE HERE Culinary Union members and family members, we have made the critical difference in local and statewide races for candidates supporting working people.
In addition to our Las Vegas operation concentrating on where our members live and work, in 2008 we added a program in Reno, where workers have been left behind. As a result of our combined efforts in both cities, Nevada was the only swing state that went Blue against Trump in 2016.
In Arizona we spearheaded a push to oust Joe Arpaio in 2012, and in the process we registered 35,000 new voters, mostly Latinx, and recruited a legion of more than 1,000 high school volunteers. We came back in 2016, having built momentum among a newly energized Latino electorate, and kicked Joe Arpaio—the most racist sheriff in America—out of office. In 2018 we did it again, electing Arizona’s first ever female U.S. Senator and the first Democrat elected to statewide office in over a decade.
In 2016 Trump won Florida by a margin of 1%—120,000 votes of over 9 million cast. Half a million Democrats in South and Central Florida did not vote. We have limitless opportunity in Florida to move voters in counties where our members live and work. If we get out the vote in Florida, just like we have done and will do again in Nevada and Arizona, we can make that critical 1% difference.
In addition, UNITE HERE will run GOTV operations across the country, from California to New England, from the Midwest to the deep South.
Our fight begins in the workplace, but it doesn’t end there. As UNITE HERE, we have successfully leveraged the power of our Union to achieve policies we need for working people and our entire communities to thrive.