Key unions in battleground states across the country are getting out the vote in the final days of the election.
In Pennsylvania, at least 500 laid off hospitality workers are canvassing in historically low turnout areas around Philadelphia on Monday and Tuesday to get out the vote. According to their union, Unite Here, members are knocking on 60 doors per minute, focusing on Black and Brown voters who are registered Democrats. The union endorsed Joe Biden in September.
“We are out here knocking for a change,” said Earlene Bly, Take Back 2020 Philly lead canvasser and former hotel room attendant. “We have a president in office who encourages division and spews hate. Change will not just happen because we want it to. We have to make it happen.”
Hospitality workers around the country have been hit hard by the pandemic. Philadelphia lost half of its 77,000 hospitality jobs during the pandemic, where 70% of hotel workers are people of color.
Pennsylvania is a key battleground state, where every vote will count. President Trump flipped the state in 2016 by winning a slim margin of 44,000 votes.
“We need to get out and vote,” said Kat Payne, a furloughed hotel housekeeper. “As long as we are not voting or not getting involved, we’re not going to get out of this [pandemic]. So let’s use our vote and let it count.”
In Nevada, 500 hospitality workers are canvassing, mobilizing voters, and making phone calls to voters in Reno and Las Vegas over the next two days. Since August 1st, members from the Culinary Union 226 — the largest of its kind in the US — have knocked on over 450,000 doors. Fifty-four percent of union members are Latinx — a key voting bloc in the state.
“Donald Trump is a threat to the livelihoods of workers and our families,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “We are fighting to take back our country and we will deliver Nevada for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. We know [they] will fight to protect Nevadans.”
The Culinary Union has 60,000 members and endorsed Joe Biden in September. Hillary Clinton won Nevada in the 2016 election.
The United Auto Workers union, based in the swing state of Michigan, is continuing with their GOTV efforts — but with new precautions during Covid-19. Through Election Day, instead of knocking on doors, members are making calls and texts from their homes or doing literature drops. The union, which says it has 400,000 members across the country, endorsed Joe Biden in April.
As in previous elections, the union negotiated Election Day off for its members so they can go vote. President Trump won Michigan in 2016 by less than 1% of the vote.