UNITE HERE Florida political canvassing operations kick-off in Central and South Florida
Unions host multi-city press conference, PPE distribution caravan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Contact: MJ Leira, [email protected]
FLORIDA—UNITE HERE Florida kicked-off its effort to mobilize voters in South and Central Florida with a multi-city virtual press conference followed by PPE distribution caravans in both Central and South Florida. At the caravans, canvassers received PPE including masks and gloves, black “Take Back 2020” shirts and face masks.
Watch full press conference here. Download photos here.
In 2016, Donald Trump won Florida by a margin of just 1%, while half a million Democrats in South and Central Florida did not vote. Now, as hospitality workers in Florida continue to experience the wrath of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNITE HERE Florida is putting significant resources to move voters in counties where union members live and work, in order to make up that critical 1% difference and inspire many more Floridians to go to the polls to elect Joe Biden. “Our union is seriously investing in Florida like we’ve never done before. We’re making a vote-by-mail strategy that no one else is doing. We’ve done this in Nevada – we fought, and we won. We have the most committed and passionate canvassers who are fighting for their families,” said Wendi Walsh, UNITE HERE Florida Political Director.
Canvassers are, by majority, Black and Brown women, who live and work target communities in Miami-Dade, Broward, Osceola, Orange, Seminole, and Polk counties. They are among 500 laid-off hospitality workers who are committing their time to this election by canvassing or serving as “poll stewards”: volunteers who will conduct voter outreach via phone and text message and who will also protect voters at the polls during early voting and on Election Day.
UNITE HERE Florida has created and follows a comprehensive “contactless door-to-door canvassing” model, which includes a set of rules that go above and beyond what is required by health authorities in Florida and that has been implemented successfully in UNITE HERE’s ground operations in both Arizona and Nevada. These include mandatory use of PPE including masks and gloves and adherence to social distancing guidelines. By strictly following this model, it is possible to safely conduct door-to-door canvassing, which facilitates the direct conversations proven to be more effective at turning out low propensity voters and in helping all voters understand how to cast their ballots.
UNITE HERE Florida is comprised of three member unions: UNITE HERE Local 355 Miami, UNITE HERE Local 362 Orlando, and UNITE HERE Local 737 Orlando. Together they represent over 34,000 workers in the hotel, casino, food service, and airport industries in Central and South Florida.