January 9, 2008

UNITE HERE Endorses Senator Barack Obama

 The Executive Committee of UNITE HERE has voted to endorse Senator Barack Obama for President. On behalf of nearly one million members and retirees, the union announced that it will be supporting the campaign in primaries and caucuses throughout the nation.

“Barack Obama began his career organizing working families who were trying to pick up their lives as their industries were leaving them behind. As he entered politics, we knew that he would understand our members and we supported him from the start,” explained General President Bruce Raynor. “Our organization and our members will do everything in our power to see that he reaches the White House this fall, because we know he will bring working Americans with him.”

Since the day he took a job in Chicago fighting for families who had been devastated by steel plant closings over two decades ago, Senator Obama has been a champion of working Americans. He marched with striking workers at Chicago’s Congress Plaza Hotel picket line as a state senator and U.S. Senator. He spoke at the founding convention of UNITE HERE in 2004, and he has worked extensively with the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 in Nevada supporting their latest contract campaign. As President, he will fight for and sign into law the Employee Free Choice Act, an increase in the minimum wage, and affordable health care for every American.

“Barack Obama is not a fair weather friend to working Americans, he has been there when the going gets rough, on the picket line with hotel workers again and again and there when we need him,” says President/Hospitality Industries John Wilhelm. “Even among this impressive field of candidates, we are proud to offer him our support in this election, and eager to help him win.”

“Barack Obama has shown us that he understands our members' struggles and dreams,” explained D. Taylor, the Secretary-Treasurer of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226. “He stood with our Union in every step of our recent contract negotiations and showed us that he too understands that organizing and bringing people together is how we move forward. We want to make the American dream we have established in Las Vegas a reality for the entire country and we think that Senator Obama will take us there."

“What we have to make real is the idea that in this country, we value the labor of every American,” said Senator Obama. “We must respect that labor and reward it with a few basic guarantees - wages that can raise a family, health care if we get sick, a retirement that's dignified, working conditions that are safe. That vision is what I’ve been fighting for two decades, as a community organizer, civil rights attorney, state senator and U.S. Senator, and it’s what I’ll fight for as President. I’m honored to receive UNITE HERE’s endorsement, and to carry on this fight in the White House.”