In Key Swing States, Union Members Are the Last Line of Defense (w/ Maggie Acosta, Bryan Villarreal-Vasquez, & Sheila Silver)
The soul of the labor movement is the fight for democracy in and outside of the workplace—and, 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 must come from the grassroots. In this 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.
Additional links/info below...
- UNITE HERE website, Facebook page, and Twitter page
- Harold Meyerson, The American Prospect, "Can the Hotel Workers’ Union Save the Democrats?"
- Harold Meyerson, The American Prospect, "The Only Precinct Walkers"
- Support the Call Center Workers Solidarity Fund
- Brett Anderson, The New York Times, "These Cooks, Waiters and Casino Workers Could Swing the Senate"
- UNITE HERE Press Release: "Largest Canvass Operation in NV, AZ, and PA Sees Path to Victory vs. MAGA Republicans"
Permanent links below...
- Working People Patreon page
- Leave us a voicemail and we might play it on the show!
- Labor Radio / Podcast Network website, Facebook page, and Twitter page
- In These Times website, Facebook page, and Twitter page
- The Real News Network website, YouTube channel, podcast feeds, Facebook page, and Twitter page
Featured Music (all songs sourced from the Free Music Archive: freemusicarchive.org)
- Jules Taylor, "Working People Theme Song