The soul of the labor movement is the fight for democracy in and outside of the workplace.
From the shop floor to the ballot box, organizers, volunteers, and rank-and-file workers with UNITE HERE are putting everything they have into that fight. Even in the midst of a deadly pandemic that hit the service and hospitality industries especially hard, union members with UNITE HERE hit the pavement in record numbers ahead of the 2020 general elections.
As Harold Meyerson notes in The American Prospect, UNITE HERE members canvassed “more precincts than any other organization on the Democratic side of the ledger that year.”
Talking to well over a million voters in Vegas, Reno, Phoenix, Philadelphia, and Atlanta, they played a key role in Joe Biden’s victory and in the Democrats winning control of the Senate.
This year, ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, “they have even more members knocking on doors than they did two years ago.” As working people face an increasingly unbearable cost-of-living crisis, as the right continues to attack abortion rights (and voting rights, and workers’ rights, and LGBTQ people, and teachers, etc.), as basic human needs like healthcare, housing, and clean water are put farther out of reach for the poor and working classes, as more people give up on a political system they feel gave up on them a long time ago, the fight for a better society is happening at the grassroots level.
In a special panel, recorded a week before the 2022 midterm elections, we talk with three UNITE HERE members — Maggie Acosta (Arizona), Bryan Villarreal-Vasquez (Nevada), and Sheila Silver (Pennsylvania) — about their tireless canvassing efforts in battleground states, what they’re hearing from voters, and what the struggle for democracy means to them and their union.
This blog originally appeared at In These Times on November 8, 2022 alongside a podcast. Republished with permission.
About the Author: Maximillian Alvazerez s editor-in-chief at the Real News Network and host of the podcast Working People, available at InTheseTimes.com.