Hotel & Food Service Workers Gear Up for National May Day Mobilization

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UNITE HERE Will Mobilize Thousands of Workers for May Day Actions Across the Country, With Message: “All Races. All Religions. All Immigrants. UNITE HERE!”

WASHINGTON—This year’s May 1 actions in cities across the country will be the largest mobilization around International Workers’ Day in the U.S. since the national call for immigration reform reached its pinnacle in 2006. More than 30,000 UNITE HERE members in 27 cities will take part in actions in their communities and workplaces

Hundreds of thousands of workers, immigrants, and allies are expected to take to the streets for humane, commonsense immigration policies, and to challenge the racist, xenophobic, anti-women, and anti-worker policies of the Trump administration.

In the Bay Area, UNITE HERE is leading efforts to organize cafeteria workers in the tech industry and is planning massive mobilizations in San Jose in conjunction with its coalition partner Silicon Valley Rising. Already, UNITE HERE and Silicon Valley Rising have been pushing fairer immigration policies at major high tech firms, prompting action by Google last week. Additionally, thousands of UNITE HERE members will march and rally in Las Vegas, Orlando, San Jose, and New Orleans, as well as more traditional labor strongholds such as Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. Actions will focus on workers’ rights and ending unjust immigrant detentions.

NOTE: Long-time immigrant rights and labor leader with UNITE HERE and DNC co-chair, Maria Elena Durazo, is available now through May 1st for interview on the significance and goals of May Day actions nationally. Cafeteria workers, housekeepers and other UNITE HERE members taking part in actions nationwide are also available for interview.

WHO: Hundreds of thousands of immigrants, working people, and allies

WHAT: Massive May Day mobilizations, including marches and rallies

WHEN: Monday, May 1, 2017

WHERE: Dozens of cities across the country, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, New Haven, and Philadelphia.

BACKGROUND: May Day is International Workers’ Day, during which working people around the world publicly demonstrate to commemorate hard-fought victories for basic worker protections—like overtime pay and an end to child labor—led and won by immigrants during the 19th and 20th centuries in the U.S. and to stand for the advancement of all working people.

This year’s May Day actions hold particular significance given the anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim climate and policies that have emerged under Trump.

“Now, more than ever, our communities are under attack, but this May Day, it’s everyday people who are demonstrating that we have the power and courage to push back and win,” said Maria Elena Durazo, UNITE HERE Vice President for Civil Rights, Diversity and Immigration. “For decades, cooks, dishwashers and cleaners in our union have proven that everyday people can take on billionaires like Trump and win. We are immigrants, women and people of all races and religions have overcome enormous obstacles because we refuse to be divided or succumb to fear. We are proud to stand with the millions of people who will be marching on May Day. Together, we are forging a new movement.”

The daughter of Mexican immigrant farm workers, MARIA ELENA DURAZO served as president of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union (HERE) Local 11, and built the union into one of the most active in California. The first Latina elected to the Executive Board of HERE International Union, she served as national director of the Immigrant Workers’ Freedom Ride, a national campaign to address the nation’s immigration laws. In 2006, she became the first woman elected secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. She has served as an international vice president and chair of the Immigration Committee of the AFL-CIO. Durazo has also held numerous national positions within the Democratic National Party, including her current role as DNC co-chair.

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UNITE HERE represents 270,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries in the U.S. and Canada.

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