Los Angeles: Today, dozens of hospitality and service workers from UNITE HERE Local 11 and SEIU-USWW, two of Los Angeles’s largest private sector unions representing tens of thousands of latino workers, announced they are endorsing Karen Bass for Mayor of Los Angeles.
Holding the tools of the jobs they do every day to keep Los Angeles running, hotel housekeepers, airport food service workers, cooks, dishwashers and janitorial staff came together at Placita Olvera, a historic gathering place for working class latinos proudly dawning their union colors and chanting “Si se puede!” as they announced their endorsement.
Housekeepers and Janitors have been a political force for decades in California promising hundreds of volunteers to contact voters and “Get out the Vote.” In 2020, Unite Here Local 11 and SEIU- USWW led the effort to turn out the Latino vote in Arizona which was critical in flipping the state for Biden. They then went on to Georgia to play a key role in the runoff election that put Senator Warnock in office and won the Democrats a majority in the Senate.
“As a leader in my union, I have talked to hundreds of latino voters across Los Angeles and learned they care about the same issues I do. We are worried about things like housing, having to deal with rising rents, and homes being converted to short term rentals.” said Liliana Hernandez, member of UNITE HERE Local 11 and housekeeper of 16 years in Los Angeles. “ I know that Karen Bass is the kind of leader latino working people like me need at City Hall.”
“For decades, I have worked as a server at LAX, serving the millions of travelers that come to our wonderful city every year. I know how big of a role the city and the Mayor can play in making sure that LAX is a thriving place for thousands of latino workers and their families.” said Marlene Mendoza, Vice President of UNITE HERE Local 11. “I was a part of a meeting with Karen Bass, and in talking to her I believe she will support working people from LAX and ensure we take part in our city’s economic recovery from the pandemic.”
“From LAX, to Sofi Stadium, Beverly Hills to Downtown Los Angeles, our members make the beds, serve the food, pour the drinks, and wash the dishes for the millions of tourists that visit Los Angeles every year.” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President UNITE HERE Local 11. “When it comes to elections our members are proud to be the leading boots on the ground in ensuring our democracy works for everyone, not just the privileged few.”
Alejandra Valles Treasurer of SEIU-USWW mentioned “SEIU USWW was founded in the streets of Los Angeles, when striking janitors demanded justice. We have lead the charge to end the heinous practice of wage theft and the corrosive nature of sexual assault and harrasment in the workplace. We have led the way to improve conditions for Black workers in the security industry, and demanded an end to environmental racism at LAX. The next mayor of Los Angeles must represent the diversity that makes our city so special.
Thepower of our members and our ability to mobilize Black and Brown workers has demonstrated, time and time again, that we can get the right candidates elected into office.
“Participating as a political volunteer for 10 years gave me the opportunity to find my own voice and feel the collective power of Latino voters standing up on critical issues like healthcare, wages, sexual violence in the work place, immigration and housing,,” said Martha Mejia USWW Janitor.
“We fought for months to ensure community and worker voices were heard when it came to the expansion of LAX and we won, but more needs to be done, commented Jovan Houston Airport service worker , “I know Karen Bass will ensure the airport holds to their promises so that our communities can thrive and be healthy.”
Both unions are representative of the growing voting strength of immigrant Angelinos who are building power at the ballot box to fight for issues like affordable housing, better jobs, healthcare, education and the environment. These proud union members have collectively mobilized hundreds of thousands of voters to go out and vote and elect leaders that will fight alongside them.
Karen Bass is the only candidate who will put the needs and interests of working families ahead of wealthy corporations and LA’s elite. She has the experience and track record to advocate for Los Angeles essential workers, a majority of whom are latino and people of color, at City Hall.
UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union representing over 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona who work in hotels, restaurants, universities, convention centers, and airports.
SEIU United Service Workers West represents more than 45,000 janitors, security officers, airport service workers, and other property service workers across California.