UNITE HERE Philly rallies with community allies to celebrate canvass operation that secured Biden-Harris victory

After knocking on doors of more than 575,000 voters, over 5,000 hospitality workers and allies marched for commitment to racial and economic justice.

Philadelphia—UNITE HERE, the hospitality workers’ union that ran the largest door-to-door turnout operation in Philadelphia, marched from Independence Hall to City Hall with faith, labor, and community allies to celebrate their historic effort to win Pennsylvania, and to call for a new national agenda grounded in racial and economic justice. Pennsylvania was called today for former Vice President Joe Biden, securing his victory in the 2020 presidential election.

Beginning October 1, when few groups were engaging voters in person, UNITE HERE Philly members launched a contactless face-to-face effort to get out the vote. Working six days a week until election day, hospitality workers knocked on doors in the disenfranchised Black and Brown communities where they live in and made voting plans with residents, many of whom did not vote in 2016. UNITE HERE Philly members, who have been devastated by the current economic and health crises, made the critical difference in defeating Trump in Pennsylvania.

By the numbers:

  • UNITE HERE knocked on the doors of 575,000 voters.
  • 60,000 people pledged to vote for Biden and Harris via a contactless conversation with a UNITE HERE canvasser.
  • 30,000 people who did not vote in 2016 pledged to vote for Biden and Harris in a conversation with a UNITE HERE canvasser.
  • 44,292 was the Pennsylvania margin in the 2016 election between Clinton and Trump.
  • 500 canvassers knocked doors during UNITE HERE’s final push towards the election.

“We knocked on doors in Black and Brown neighborhoods across Philadelphia,” said Rosslyn Wuchinich, President of UNITE HERE Local 274. “We know that we, UNITE HERE, have made a significant difference in Pennsylvania. Our door knocking strategy was essential, there was no substitute.”

“This is what democracy looks like,” said Nicole Hunt, President of UNITE HERE Local 634. “Biden spoke to working people about how we’ll recover after COVID-19. Now, as we celebrate his election we’re going to keep fighting until we can get our jobs back, pay our bills, and end racial injustice in America.”

“This election was personal to me. I was knocking on doors for my ten-year-old grandson, because he’s a young Black man and I don’t want him to need to be afraid that he will lose his life for walking down the street in this country,” said Theressa Council, Staff and Organizing Director for UNITE HERE Local 54. “We had no choice but to do the work in this election. Our union our and our lives depend on this victory.”

“I’m incredibly proud of UNITE HERE Philadelphia and its members, who operated a huge canvassing operation in the state of Pennsylvania,” said UNITE HERE International President D. Taylor, “When it became clear that no other groups were doing door-to-door canvassing, UNITE HERE Philadelphia stepped in to do the type of in-person organizing that our union does best. They built a program that grew from 50 to 500 people in just a few weeks, knocking on the doors of over 575,000 voters. That’s the kind of dedication necessary to flip Pennsylvania, take back our country, and it’s the commitment that we’ll need to begin rebuilding the nation with a Biden/Harris administration.”

UNITE HERE leaders celebrated their victory and called on the Biden-Harris administration to deliver justice for Black and Brown workers, from economic relief to organizing rights to an end to mass incarceration and family separation.

Contact: Bethany Holmes, 213-675-0905, bholmes@unitehere.org;
Arthur Phillips, 978-500-5366, aphillips@unitehere.org

 

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UNITE HERE represents more than 300,000 workers in the North American hospitality industry. UNITE HERE ran the largest door-to-door union canvassing operation in the United States including the largest overall door-to-door canvassing operations in the states of Arizona, Florida, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. UNITE HERE knocked on the doors of 3 million voters across the U.S. heading into election day.