Obama will be sworn in to office in a UNITE HERE tuxedo December 9, 2008
Demonstrating the pro-worker values that he will bring to the Presidency, Barack Obama will be sworn in to office wearing a tuxedo made by UNITE HERE members at Chicago's Hart Schaffner Marx factory. President Elect Obama also chose a custom Hart Schaffner Marx suit to wear for his acceptance speech at the DNC. Hart Schaffner Marx has been a union shop for almost 100 years and is internationally known for its extremely high quality menswear.
As reported in The New York Times, UNITE HERE President Bruce Raynor says that from his conversations which include some with Mr. Obama, he expects the inaugural to be “upbeat and optimistic, not opulent or excessive.” You can read the full New York Times story here.
Shop with a Conscience This Holiday Season December 2, 2008
The start of the holiday shopping season also is the start of the most active time of year for charitable giving. But in the midst of an economic crisis, Americans are considering what, or even if, they can contribute to charity this year.
With that in mind, what about the notion that our shopping - the way we choose to spend our dollars - can create positive change? When you choose to buy a sweater for your son or socks for your sister, you can affect the world around you.
SweatFree Communities and the International Labor Rights Forum have released the"2009 Shop with a Conscience Consumer Guide"; providing a list of sweatshop-free options for consumers who want to purchase shirts, pants, coats, scarves, hats and other apparel made under ethical conditions.
The guide profiles more than 20 companies that produce clothing in accordance with international fair labor standards, such as ensuring workers' health and safety, living wages and good benefits, and treatment with respect and dignity. In addition, the guide promotes clothing produced in shops where workers are organized into democratic unions or worker-owned cooperatives and have an effective, collective voice in determining their wages and working conditions.
UNITE HERE stands up for auto workers on GritTV November 24, 2008 Watch GritTV for President Raynor's thoughts on the election, the auto industry crisis and the Employee Free Choice Act. Defending auto industry workers' right to earn a middle class living and pointing out the concessions that the United Auto Workers have already made, President Raynor goes on to explain how the U.S.'s lack of national healthcare has disadvantaged the auto industry. He calls today's political environment "a storm of need, and possibility." Watch online here
Norwalk, Ohio Local 1422 member Rob Rhineberger plans to channel what he learned as a Volunteer Political Organizer in Wisconsin into his efforts to make the Employee Free Choice Act the law of the land. “The Employee Free Choice Act will greatly help our ability to organize new members because it creates a level playing field and protects workers who get involved. We all feel a sense of pride in accomplishing a landslide victory for working families on November 4th. It is up to each and every one of us to use this unprecedented opportunity to win pro-worker legislation.”
Barack has renewed our faith in what is possible for those who are trying to stay in the middle class and for those who are seeking to become a part of the middle class.
With great vision, he talked with us about what he wants to accomplish for the American people. And with great candor, he called for every person to become engaged in the effort.
As the first labor union to endorse Barack, UNITE HERE took that call seriously. From the strength of our nearly one million members and retirees, we mobilized thousands to get out the vote in more than a dozen states. We knocked on more than 350,000 doors; and during this past weekend alone, we had more than 3,000 volunteers talking with voters in battleground states.
Barack’s insight and leadership drive a policy agenda that supports those working people who have formed a union, as well as those who have not yet formed a union. He is committed to ensuring that working families have wages that enable them to put food on the table, cutting taxes for 95 percent of workers and their families, securing healthcare for all Americans, promoting fair trade and not “free trade” that sends good jobs overseas, defending the right of workers to freely join unions by passing the Employee Free Choice Act, establishing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, fighting the growth of income inequality, and guaranteeing retirement security for all workers so that growing old does not mean growing poor.
With Barack’s victory, as well as Democratic gains in both the House and the Senate, we can make real reforms to improve the lives of every union member in this country and every worker who wants a union.
To be sure, the current economic crisis will present great challenges. But we are inspired by the change that is possible. And we believe in Barack Obama - a man who understands the experiences of working people. A man who, more than twenty years ago, took a job as a community organizer in Chicago to fight for families devastated by steel plant closings – to fight for working people.
In the most important election of our lives UNITE HERE members are making sure that voters know their rights on Election Day.
In her two months as a volunteer political organizer in Virginia, Ida Randle of Memphis has experienced first-hand the type of misinformation inundating first-time voters. “We have met so many people who thought they could not vote! There have been many men who have had their voting rights taken away, they are very grateful when we share with them how they can restore their voting rights. With each person we help educate, we get one step closer to an Obama victory.”
We need to make sure that everyone in our communities knows they can vote. After you vote, volunteer! Please contact your shop steward.
Neisia Giles, a UNITE HERE Local 1 shop steward at US Cellular Field, has been volunteering for the Obama campaign in Virginia for two months. The mother of five decided to volunteer in order to be a role-model for younger generations. "I wanted to show my children and grandchildren about voting and the role that a union and one person can play in history." Being away from home has been hard, but it has been worth the effort. "Political activism is a great way to hold representatives accountable. It also really strengthens the union."
Neisia believes Obama is "the right person to lead our country in the right direction," and her volunteering has helped Obama take the lead in polls in Virginia. "The people we are registering-many are unaware that they can vote! We are helping them realize a dream while helping the country win a president we can be proud of."