Hospitality Workers Fight to Keep their Jobs Ahead of the Holiday Season

Labor Union to distribute gifts to 700 workers and their families laid off during COVID-19

MEDIA ADVISORY
Contact:

Wendi Walsh

[email protected]

(305) 934-7373

WHO: Over 700 UNITE HERE Local 355 laid off hospitality workers alongside Miami Gardens City Council member Reggie Leon, and allies.

WHAT: Holiday giveaway of supermarket gift cards and holiday presents ranging from kids toys to gifts for adults for workers who have been laid off since March as they call attention to the need for recall rights and unemployment extension.

WHERE: Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex, 3000 NW 199th St, Miami Gardens, FL 33056

WHEN: Friday, December 18 at 11:00 am

WHY: Thousands of South Florida’s hospitality workers who have been furloughed from hotels, casinos, stadiums, and airport concessions have been out of work for more than 9 months. Florida’s abysmal unemployment assistance and the end of all federal aid leaves these workers scrambling for the holiday. The Union for hospitality workers, UNITE HERE, and the Hospitality Employees Advancement and Training Center, HEAT Inc, have partnered to provide some relief to these workers. More than 700 workers will be receiving supermarket gift cards and holiday presents ranging from kids toys to gifts for adults.

 

UNITE HERE employed more than 350 hospitality workers in Florida, and over 1,500 nationally in Nevada, Arizona, and Pennsylvania, to deliver the Presidency for Joe Biden. The Union also had those canvassers knocking doors to support now Mayor Daniella Levine Cava as well as several candidates for County Commission. Florida’s UNITE HERE members are now canvassing to get out the vote in Georgia’s senate races. The stakes are high for UNITE HERE members as they continue to campaign for federal unemployment assistance and other forms of support for laid off workers.

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UNITE HERE Local 355 is a labor union that represents over 7,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service, and airport

Statement from Wendi Walsh UNITE HERE Florida Political Director re declared victory for Mayor Daniella Levine Cava

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Contact: MJ Leira, 917-565-7697, [email protected]

“Since August we’ve pushed to get out the vote for Mayor-Elect Daniella Levine Cava, with more than 160 canvassers going door to door every day and more than 800,000 pieces of literature sent out to support her campaign. Our team dedicated over 36,315 hours to secure her seat as Mayor. We are proud to have a mayor who is genuinely committed to our members and to working people in our communities. Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava has always stood by our side. She’s stood with hospitality workers when we needed her most and we’re going to be there to back her up moving forward. She’s fought for a living wage, for responsible development in Miami-Dade County, and for the future recovery of the hospitality industry. With Daniella as Mayor, we have a leader who understands us, sees us, and who we will work with as a real partner.”

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UNITE HERE Florida is a labor union that represents over 34,000 workers in the hotel, casino, food service, and airport industries in Central and South Florida. At the peak of the pandemic, over 98% of UNITE HERE members were unemployed, and 75% are still out of work today. UNITE HERE’s Take Back 2020 campaign is the largest canvassing operation in the state of Florida.

UNITE HERE hospitality workers close Election Day having knocked on over 450,000 doors in Florida  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Contact: MJ Leira, 917-565-7697, [email protected]

Union members, many unemployed due to COVID-19, form largest
door-to-door canvass operation in battleground state of Florida.  

 

FLORIDA—Over 300 hotel housekeepers, dishwashers, cooks, and casino attendants knocked on over 450,000 doors statewide closing this Election Day, doing their part to win the election for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. In Florida, UNITE HERE hospitality workers—primarily Black and Latinx workers whose jobs and families have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19—got out on the doors first and stayed out longest to get out the vote for the Democratic nominees. They’ve worked to make the critical difference in Florida where, in 2016, Donald Trump won by only 1% and 500,000 registered democrats did not vote.

 

UNITE HERE Florida has been on the doors since August and on the phones since June, persuading voters to support Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, as well as state and local candidates. They’ve dialed more than 6,000,000 phone numbers, knocked over 450,000 doors, and had 260,000 conversations with voters. We persuaded more than 85,000 people who had not voted in 2016 to make a plan to vote for Joe Biden this year. Over 44,000 of them had already voted as of Sunday, during Early Vote or Vote by Mail.  We spent all day today talking to the rest of them, turning them out on Election Day. These numbers reflect UNITE HERE as the largest canvassing operation in the state of Florida.

 

The workers are members of UNITE HERE, the hospitality workers’ union, which organized the largest union door-to-door canvassing operation in the U.S. in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, which at its peak put 98% of the union’s members in Walt Disney World, the Fontainebleau Miami Beach and the Diplomat Beach Resort, Florida’s airports, restaurants, and casinos out of work. As part of UNITE HERE’s Take Back 2020, union members have canvassed door-to-door for months in Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Polk counties.

 

The hospitality industry and its workers define Florida. During these last many months, our members have laid the foundation of their political power, which will only get bigger and stronger moving forward. “Regardless of tonight’s results, nobody should ever underestimate the power of UNITE HERE’s members in Florida. Our members may be in the background at work, but they are organized, focus, trained, and powerful—and they’re paying attention. No doubt, 2020 has been a rough year for our members, and they’ve watched to see who had their backs.  I am confident that the results of tonight’s elections will show that if you stand with our members, they’ll stand with you,” said Wendi Walsh, UNITE HERE Florida Political Director

 

UNITE HERE was the first group in Florida to begin door-to-door canvassing in 2020, a year in which many groups initially abandoned in-person canvassing—a cornerstone of GOTV electoral work—in the face of the global pandemic.

 

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UNITE HERE Florida is a labor union that represents over 34,000 workers in the hotel, casino, food service, and airport industries in Central and South Florida. At the peak of the pandemic, over 98% of UNITE HERE members were unemployed, and 75% are still out of work today. UNITE HERE’s Take Back 2020 campaign is the largest canvassing operation in the state of Florida, with more than 300 full-time canvassers and hundreds more volunteers.

 

UNITE HERE Florida, States Largest Canvassing Organization, Gains Momentum in Final Stretch of 2020 Elections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—Monday, October 26, 2020

Contact: MJ Leira, [email protected], (917) 565-7697

 

FLORIDA—In the past weeks, UNITE HERE Florida has grown in efforts to mobilize voters in South and Central Florida with over 1,000 laid off hospitality workers now committed to get out the vote for Joe Biden.

 

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, hospitality workers are Taking Back their power to ensure this does not happen again. UNITE HERE Florida has committed millions of dollars in resources and hundreds of thousands of staff and volunteer hours to move voters in counties where union members live and work. Members of UNITE HERE Florida continue knocking on doors and making phone calls 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 committed to win in Florida and to restore the livelihoods of the countless families that have been devastated during this pandemic due to Donald Trump’s failed leadership,” said Wendi Walsh, UNITE HERE Florida Political Director.

 

Canvassers are, by majority, Black and Latinx women, who live and work in target communities. They are among 1,000 laid off hospitality workers from places such as Walt Disney World, the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, and The Diplomat Beach Resort who are committing their time to defeat Trump.

 

UNITE HERE Florida has created and follows a comprehensive “contactless door-to-door canvassing” model, including mandatory use of PPE 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. Workers are available for interviews on the ground while canvassing.

 

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UNITE HERE Florida is a labor union that represents over 34,000 workers in the hotel, casino, food service, and airport industries in Central and South Florida. At the peak of the pandemic, over 98% of UNITE HERE members were unemployed, and 75% are still out of work today. UNITE HERE’s Take Back 2020 campaign is the largest canvassing operation in the state of Florida, with more than 300 full-time canvassers and hundreds more volunteers.

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.

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 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. 

UNITE HERE Florida to kick-off political canvassing operations in Central and South Florida with multi-city press conference, PPE distribution caravan

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR: Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Contact: MJ Leira, [email protected], (917) 565-7697

WHO: 

  • Wendi Walsh, UNITE HERE Florida Political Director and Secretary-Treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 355
  • Jeremy Haicken, UNITE HERE Local 737 President
  • 200 UNITE HERE Florida political canvassers.

 

WHEN: Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 9am and 11am

 

WHAT: UNITE HERE Florida virtual press conference to kick-off political canvassing efforts in South and Central Florida. Wendi Walsh and Jeremy Haicken will speak with political canvassers ahead of them going out into Miami-Dade, Broward, Osceola, Orange, Seminole, and Polk neighborhoods to mobilize voters. Press conference will be followed by a PPE distribution caravan in both Central and South Florida where canvassers receiving their PPE, black Take Back 2020 shirts and face masks will be available to interview.

 

 WHERE: Media RSVP https://forms.gle/2o3Rc2mvcudDK7sFA 9:00am zoom

Miami:871 NW 167 Street Miami Gardens, FL 33169 11:00am

Orlando:  1255 La Quinta Driva, Suite 214 Orlando, FL 32809 11:00am

 

WHY: Hospitality workers in Florida continue to experience the wrath of the COVID-19 pandemic. UNITE HERE is leading a statewide effort to mobilize voters. In 2016, Trump won Florida by a margin of just 1%, while half a million Democrats in South and Central Florida did not vote.  UNITE HERE Florida is using all of our resources to move voters in counties where our members live and work, in order to make up that critical 1% difference, and inspire many more voters to go to the polls to elect Joe Biden.

Over 500 laid off hospitality workers from Walt Disney World and Orlando International Airport to the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, the Diplomat Beach Resort, Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport are taking back their power in this election. Canvassers are, by majority, Black and Brown women, who live and work in the communities the union is targeting.

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. These include mandatory use of PPE including masks and gloves and adherence to social distancing guidelines. By strictly following this model, we can safely conduct door-to-door canvassing, which facilitates the direct conversations proven to be more effective at turning out low propensity voters and helping all voters understand how to cast their ballots.

 

ABOUT UNITE HERE Florida:

UNITE HERE Florida is a labor union that represents over 34,000 workers in the hotel, casino, food service, and airport industries in Central and South Florida. Over 200 hospitality workers have come out on a full-time Leave of Absence, an additional 300 statewide serve as volunteer “poll stewards” who conduct voter outreach via phone and text message and will also protect voters at the polls during early voting and on Election Day.