In just a few short years, the Hotel Trades Council has developed one of the most sophisticated turnout operations in the state, one that uses the power of organizing to overcome a deficit in membership.
This primary is the union’s first major statewide effort, and they have gone all in for Eric Schneiderman, whose district, a political operative with the union said, is home to many HTC members. Today, 620 union members are out around Manhattan doing polling site visibility, and a couple more dozen are expected to stop by the union hall in midtown before the day’s out.
The union does most of its outreach to its fellow HTC members, which number close to 30,000 in the city, according to political director Neal Kwatra. That means outreach in the shops themselves, mailers, livecalls, robo-calls, all leading up to Election Day.
Says HTC President Peter Ward:
“Our members have become used to the notion that there’s an expectation for them to give their time and to participate in the political process and today we showed up in huge numbers and its very gratifying to see…I think we have done all the things we can do to distinguish ourselves inside the campaign as effective allies and partners and we have done all we can to distinguish ourselves to the political class that we are partners that you should have on your side, that we actually bring something to the table. We are trying to support candidates that view the world from the same philosophical perch that we do. And that when we think the candidates are like that we are really going to go all out for them… Most important is the sense of commitment and activism that our members have. It’s been an amazing transformation to watch a person who has recognition that in their neighborhood and in their community and in their hotels they are willing to have a bigger footprint than one vote and if they do their work they can have a disproportionate impact on the outcome of the election. My feeling is this. If we commit to something we commit.