UNITE HERE Local 11 has been a leader in the fight for immigrant rights, and to elect leaders who will represent working families’ interests. Notably, in 2020, Local 11 ran the largest single canvass in Arizona, winning the state for the pro-labor presidential and senate candidates.
In December 2020 Local 11 sent more than 300 leaders to Georgia to join a coalition to campaign for Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, winning two senate seats for the Democrats and ensuring that President Biden will have a majority in the Senate to enact policies to support working families.
Phoenix: Yesterday, activists with UNITE HERE Local 11 and CASE Action entered the fifth day of their hunger strike to urge elected leaders to pass critical voting rights legislation by gathering outside of Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s office to deliver a message—and a cake.
Four helpers accompanied the group of half a dozen hunger strikers in wheelchairs and red sashes to carry the 200-serving cake iced with the message “Voting Rights Now”–an invitation to Senator Sinema to join in the campaigns to secure voting rights. Along with the cake, the Arizona hunger strikers attempted to deliver their handwritten letters to Senator Sinema expressing concern about her inaction on voting rights. Senator Sinema’s staff did not accept the cake or their letters.
“We came here to tell Senator Sinema that we hope she will deliver voting rights for the people of Arizona,” said Marilyn Wilbur, hunger striker with CASE Action and 18-year US Air Force veteran. “No matter what happens, I will continue to fight for the voting rights we deserve.”
“Voting Rights Now” was also the message on banners held by fellow hunger strikers today who took arrest on the steps of the U.S. Senate while the body began debate on the Freedom to Vote: John Lewis Act.
“What these strikers have done to protect our right to vote is creating a generational impact. We are with you for what comes next as we continue to build our beloved community,” said Dr. Jannah Scott of the African American Christian Clergy Coalition.
“I have faith that my sacrifice of going four days without eating has told Senator Sinema and all of Congress that I will keep doing whatever it takes to be on the right side of the history of this beautiful country,” said Irma Pacheco, a hunger striker in Arizona with CASE Action and UNITE HERE Local 11.
In the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of laid off cooks, housekeepers, dishwashers, and bartenders with CASE Action and UNITE HERE Local 11 knocked on a million doors to win Arizona for Biden, and delivered two U.S Senate seats in Georgia.
Last year, the Arizona state legislature passed laws that hurt both workers and voters by purging early permanent voting rolls and other harmful anti-voter changes. Since the 2020 election, state legislatures across the country have introduced hundreds of bills that make it harder for working people and people of color to vote.
CASE Action Fund is an economic justice organization dedicated to improving the lives of Arizona’s working families through policy advocacy and increasing participation in the political process
PHOENIX–UNITE HERE Local 11, CASE Action, and Un-PAC today launched a hunger strike outside the Arizona State Capitol to continue to pressure elected leaders in Washington to pass the Freedom to Vote Act.
On day 1, strikers were joined by State Senator Raquel Teran and Pastor Aubrey Barnwell, among others.
Beatriz Topete, an organizing director with UNITE HERE Local 11, said, “It isn’t time to roll back the clock on voting rights–it’s time to move forward! Just yesterday, 40 of our fellow activists with un-PAC relaunched their hunger strike in Washington DC. And today, strikers in Arizona are joining in because we know that Arizonans believe in the freedom to vote.”
Last year the Arizona state legislature passed laws that hurt both workers and voters. Across the country, 400 bills were introduced to make it harder for people of color to vote. In response, UNITE HERE Local 11 and CASE Action went on a 10-day Freedom Ride from Arizona to Washington D.C to draw attention to the attacks on the freedom to vote across the country.
“The freedom that I have spent my life protecting is under attack,” said Marilyn Wilbur, CASE Action organizer and veteran of the US Air Force. “The Arizona legislature last year passed a law that will purge hundreds of thousands of mail voters from the Permanent Early Voter list, and another that will limit the time voters have to fix a signature on their ballot. Our state is part of a national trend to limit voting rights. That is why I joined the hunger strike for the freedom to vote.”
Ari Berrong-Huber, a UNITE HERE Local 11 member at Sky Harbor airport, also shared why he’s fighting for the freedom to vote. “Last August, I joined hundreds of other union members in a civil disobedience in DC. The freedom to vote is a sacred right. It is the way citizens can fight for better education, access to healthcare, and protections during the pandemic. Now I’m joining the hunger strike to call attention to the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. We can’t let loopholes and obstructionism stand in our way.”
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of laid off cooks, housekeepers, dishwashers, and bartenders knocked on a million doors to win Arizona for Biden, and delivered two U.S Senate seats in Georgia. Now, those same workers are forgoing food to protect our democracy. Hunger strikers plan to join the King family at Arizona Deliver for Voting Rights mobilization and Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Action on Saturday, January 15, 2022.
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CASE Action Fund is an economic justice organization dedicated to improving the lives of Arizona’s working families through policy advocacy and increasing participation in the political process.
The West Hollywood City Council voted unanimously to establish the highest minimum wage in the country. And members of UNITE HERE Local 11 were key players in winning this fight. Sí se pudo!
BREAKING NEWS: 11/04/2021
West Hollywood: Just past midnight, the West Hollywood City Council voted unanimously to establish a citywide minimum wage of $17.64, including 96 hours of paid sick leave and other benefits. While this measure aligns West Hollywood hotel workers with those in Santa Monica and Los Angeles who have earned $17.64 since July of this year, the wage increase for workers in all other industries is unprecedented.
“Our union is proud to have led the fight to pass a living wage in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and now West Hollywood. Workers across all industries, especially in hotels who have been hardest hit by the pandemic deserve a living wage. Tonight’s council vote is proof of the bold leadership and action needed to ensure workers recover from the effects of this pandemic,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11.
This victory is a culmination of an effort that UNITE HERE Local 11, Councilmember Horvath and then Councilmember Heilman started back in 2016 to raise the citywide minimum wage to $15, which failed on a 2-3 vote.
“Having a living wage will not only help me and my co-workers, but every single worker in the city of West Hollywood. I know that with the current wages, we cannot live in the city we’ve helped build,” said Norma Hernandez, a housekeeper at the Mondrian Hotel. “Thank you for passing this living wage and ensuring that workers like me can be a part of this city’s recovery.”
This is the second time since July, the West Hollywood City Council has voted to stand with workers hit hardest by the pandemic. Following efforts by UNITE HERE Local 11 and after hearing from hotel workers across the city, the council approved one of the most progressive hotel worker protection laws in the country ensuring fair compensation for heavy workloads, right of recall, training, and panic buttons for all hotel workers