UNITE HERE and SEIU: More than 300,000 workers may walk May 1
Workers on strike in 2016 at Trump's Taj Mahal in New Jersey. | AP

As many as 300,000 food chain workers and 40,000 service workers across America may walk off their jobs next week on May 1.

The hotel and food service workers union UNITE HERE is anticipating that service workers it represents in 27 cities will take part in actions in their communities and workplaces. Their message: “All races. All religions. All immigrants. UNITE HERE!”

According to a statement put out by UNITE HERE they are taking to the streets with “hundreds of thousands of workers, immigrants and allies… for human, commonsense immigration policies, and to challenge the racist, xenophobic, anti-women, and anti-worker policies of the Trump administration.

“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.  Durazo is the daughter of immigrant farm workers and is the former president of HERE Local 11. She has also served as president of the Los Angeles Federation of Labor, as an international vice president and chair of the Immigration Committee of the AFL-CIO and is currently a co-chair of the Democratic National Committee.

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. UNITE HERE and Silicon Valley Rising, advocates for fair immigration policies at major tech firms, prompted Facebook to announce that they will not penalize their workers for skipping work to participate in demonstrations.

UNITE HERE’s announcement follows news from SEIU United Service Workers West, which represents 40,000 janitors, security officers and airport service workers that it is leading a coalition for a nationwide strike on the same day. Organizers for SEIU estimate as many as 300,000 food chain workers and 40,000 unionized service workers will walk off the job in multiple states.


Patrick J. Foote
Patrick J. Foote

Patrick Foote writes occasionally for People's World. At the University of Central Florida, he worked with the Student Labor Action Project organizing around the intersection of student and worker issues. He would go on to work in the labor movement in such organizations as Central Florida Jobs with Justice, AFSCME Council 79, and OUR Walmart.