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UNITE HERE Local 11 Announces Endorsement in Presidential Election

LOCAL’S ELECTORAL PROGRAM HAS TRANSFORMED SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Los Angeles UNITE HERE Local 11 has announced a dual endorsement in the presidential primary, unifying behind the two candidates in the race with the track record of standing with Local 11 members in their fights against corporate power: Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Local 11’s membership has been on the cutting edge of Southern California’s transformation into the Democratic bloc that it is now. In 2017, Local 11 merged with UNITE HERE’s Arizona local and in 2019 elected a former hotel room attendant to Vice Mayor of Phoenix. As Harold Meyerson recently wrote in the American Prospect, UNITE HERE Local 11 has played a decisive role “not just in local Democratic politics, but in the incalculably larger transformation of the American labor movement and the broader movement for economic justice. If ever a union punched above its weight, it’s Local 11.” Now it’s weighing in on the presidential race.

Sodexo workers at Loyola Marymount University represented by Local 11 almost stopped the Democratic debate last December when Senator Warren pledged to not cross the workers’ picket line. “We had been negotiating at LMU for six months, with little success. When we announced our picket line, Senator Warren led the charge with the other candidates, even if it meant she wouldn’t appear on-stage at the debate,” reminisces Angela Fisher, a cook at LMU. Senator Warren’s leadership and the workers’ resilience resulted in an outstanding contract.

Negotiations with the multi-billion-dollar corporation, Disney, began in 2017. The workers pushed for over two years, documenting their fight against homelessness and high-cost health insurance. Glynndana Shevlin, a thirty-year hotel worker at Disneyland, recalls, “We were able to sign the best contract ever at Disney after Senator Sanders brought attention to our issues.” The gains made in the contracts are estimated to bring in over $1 billion to the local economies.

Multiple women have come forward with allegations that they experienced sexual harassment or other misconduct while working at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes. Senator Warren endorsed the boycott of the resort, which recently contributed over $1.25 million to defeat a ballot measure that would have required panic buttons for employees working in isolated locations at the resort.

Likewise, housekeepers at JW Marriott Le Merigot Hotel in Santa Monica have campaigned for workplace protections, such as panic buttons and fair compensation for heavy workloads, for all housekeepers in the city. “Women in the hospitality industry are often treated as if we are invisible. Senator Sanders came to one of our rallies and threw his support behind our campaign to get the ordinance passed,” shares Aurelia Gonzalez, a housekeeper from Le Merigot. The workers of the Le Merigot are still in a tough battle for their first contract with the Columbia Sussex corporation.

“Senators Sanders and Warren are both fighting for the change we need in our nation. They understand the needs of workers at UNITE HERE Local 11,” says Ada Briceño, co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11 and chair of the Orange County Democratic Party. “We helped elect Democrats in all seven Orange County congressional districts, and helped flip OC’s voter registration blue in 2019. We see that same vision and tenacity in both senators Warren and Sanders, and we’re proud to stand with them.”

”I am honored to receive this endorsement from UNITE HERE Local 11, one of the fastest-growing local unions in the nation, whose members share our progressive values and understand the critical importance of restoring workers’ rights and expanding union membership,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders. “When we are in the White House, we will double union membership across the country and end the growing gap between the very rich and everyone else.”  

“I am deeply grateful that UNITE HERE Local 11 is endorsing our campaign,” said Elizabeth Warren. “Local 11 is on the front lines of rebuilding the middle class and I’ve been glad to partner with them as they fight for better wages, benefits, and dignity on the job—including when they won the historic contract with Sodexo. We have two options: We can either back down or roll up our sleeves and get in the fight. When I am president, we will never back down, we will get in the fight, and we will put power in the hands of working people.”   

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2 Responses to UNITE HERE Local 11 Announces Endorsement in Presidential Election

  1. Pingback: UNITE HERE Local 11 Announces Endorsement in Presidential Election – My blog

  2. Tim Kao Reply

    January 30, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    Unite Here Local 11 are a bunch of criminals. They make up lies and buy off corrupt crazy politicians without a moral compass.

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