HTC Members Head to Philly to Help Win High-Stakes Elections

HTC’s canvassing crew on the ground in Philadelphia
Our members are out on the streets talking to voters in Philadelphia—rain or shine!
Fatmata Jalloh knocking on doors
The crew celebrates their hard work and Annie Taveras’ birthday over dinner. Happy belated birthday Annie!

Hotel Voice, Fall 2022

HTC members are back out on the front lines in a swing state, knocking on doors to help elect pro-union Democratic candidates in Pennsylvania. On October 17th, 2022, thirteen HTC members, drove down to Philadelphia to join over 300 members of the international union UNITE HERE in canvassing for Senate candidate John Fetterman and Gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro.

The thirteen members of HTC’s canvassing team are: Erik Owusu (Crowne Plaza Times Square), Enrique Polanco (Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway), Thoai Phan (NYC ESH Lexington), Ujjwal Mainali (Pennsylvania), Fatmata Jalloh (Stewart Hotel), Zumreta Pupovic (Concorde), Annie Taveras (Residence Inn Newark Elizabeth Liberty), Ana Garcia (Millennium Broadway), Gerard Dis (Michelangelo), Carlos De La Rosa (Watson), Nami Arita (Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady), Gwen Osbourne (Mandarin Oriental), and Antonio Codita (St. Regis). Each one of them has sacrificed three weeks away from family and friends to help protect workers and all people in Pennsylvania from several anti-worker candidates.

“I truly believe our democracy is on the line. Getting Fetterman and Shapiro elected is essential for voting rights, workers and unions, and also about gun control,” says Gerard Dis.

Antonio Codita says, “We’ve been focusing on neighborhoods that traditional political campaigns usually overlook. We want to let people know, these elections are your opportunity to have your voice heard.”

Much is at stake in both races, for Pennsylvania and the country as a whole. Democrat John Fetterman, current Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania, is running for Senate against Republican candidate and daytime TV host Dr. Mehmet Oz who has fully embraced former President Trump’s agenda. Fetterman has a long history of championing working-class values and has vowed to support the expansion of union rights. A Fetterman win would also get the nation closer to a Democratic majority in the Senate, which we need to pass pro-union legislation like the Protect the Right to Organize “PRO” Act.

Our canvassers are also knocking on doors for Josh Shapiro, the Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania Governor, who has promised to protect union jobs by vetoing any right-to-work legislation that comes across his desk should he win the election. Enrique Polanco says, “So-called ‘right to work’ laws are designed to destroy labor unions. We need to fight together for candidates like Shapiro who will protect our way of life.”

HTC’s crew has knocked on over 3,300 doors so far. Gwen Osbourne says, “My walking shoes have taken a beating these past few weeks, but I’m feeling energized from all our conversations with voters down here. It feels good to connect with people who share my values and build support for these candidates.”

And our team has already turned people out. Zumreta Popovic says, “The best moment so far has been chatting with this one voter who had a mail-in ballot in her house. With our encouragement, she filled it out and walked it right down the street to the post office box. This was my first time canvassing out of state, so I didn’t know what to expect. But it’s felt really empowering to be a part of this process and stand in solidarity with Pennsylvania voters and workers.”

Our hardworking canvassers have also taken time enjoy each others company. “That’s one of the best parts of this trip—getting to know other members who I might not have ever met otherwise. It was my birthday on October 26th, and everyone surprised me with a cake. It was so sweet they thought of me, and so fun!” says Annie Taveras.

The team will remain in Philadelphia until after the election on November 8th. “We are going to knock on doors until the very last minute” said Nami Arita. “I’m excited to see my family when I get back to New York, but there is too much at stake here. I really appreciate the opportunity to be part of this with our Union.”

Huge thanks to all our members on the ground in Philly doing this essential work—we’re proud to be your Union!