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 healthcare. Having attained some of the highest standards for work in the global hospitality industry, we are now the fastest growing private-sector union in the United States. Our record growth spans from the frontlines of the new economy in Silicon Valley, to thousands of airline catering workers toiling invisibly in large industrial kitchens, to even the American South, underscoring UNITE HERE’s commitment to organize in conservative, right-to-work states with uncommonly successful results.
UNITE HERE has also revived the strike tactic as a successful tool for organized labor that resulted in record gains for North American hotel, food service and gaming workers.
The 2020 presidential election is a critical inflection point for our nation, and UNITE HERE is launching a major effort to engage at the grassroots level in key swing states, like Nevada, Arizona and Florida to take our country back.
At our core, we believe that one job should be enough, and we work hard to elect people in local, state and national office who stand with us. Too many companies profit from jobs that don’t provide enough, but unions offer the clearest path to creating jobs with good pay and benefits. We need leaders who are willing to use their position to make it easier for people to help themselves by joining a union and exercising their collective power.
In 2020, we have made a commitment to turbocharge our organizing, building on proven GOTV successes in cities and states across North America.
Our 2020 plan is simple:
- Double down in Nevada.
- Flip the state in Arizona.
- Make a critical difference in Florida.
While our plan may be simple, the execution will require hard work—a hallmark of our winning program in Nevada and beyond. Our Union’s political victories in recent years buck conventional wisdom regarding what labor can achieve under Trump, with UNITE HERE playing a major role in delivering hard fought election victories in both Nevada and Arizona, becoming the critical force behind the only Senatorial races to swing blue in 2018.
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,” that has made the critical difference in local and statewide races for candidates supporting working people. We do the hard work, door by door. When we talk to people, they vote—and when they vote—we win. Our comprehensive campaign program integrates strategic communications, political organizing, and a robust turnout operation, emphasizing quality conversations on the doors on issues that matter to 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. We also flipped the state assembly and senate from red to blue and flipped two U S congressional seats from red to blue in 2016.That year, we flipped senate seats for Catherine Cortez Masto, and in 2018 for Jacky Rosen. We also elected a majority woman state assembly and senate in 2018, a first in the country. In 2018, voters from UNITE HERE (Culinary) union households and other voters we personally spoke with accounted for 9% of all voters statewide.
Ten years ago we planted the seed in Arizona. We tried and failed to kick out Joe Arpaio in 2012, but in the process we registered 35,000 new voters, mostly Latino, and recruited a legion of more than 1000 high school volunteers. We came back in 2016, having built momentum among a newly energized Latino electorate, and did the impossible. We got Joe Arpaio—the most racist sheriff in America—kicked out of office.
In 2018, we did the impossible again in Arizona, getting a Democrat elected into a statewide office—Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (S). In 2019, we elected one of our own in Arizona—Betty Guardado, a housekeeper turned UNITE HERE leader who now holds office as one of Phoenix’s eight city councilors.
In 2016 in Florida, the state went to Trump by about 120,000 votes of over 9 million cast. That’s just 1% of the votes. We have limitless opportunity in Florida to move voters in counties where our members live and work—1.4 million people with rights restored and over one million unregistered voters in Miami-Dade, Orange and Broward counties alone.
If we knock on doors—get out the vote in Florida, just like we have 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.