SEIU Members Gathered Outside the Debate Center in Miami to Call on Candidates to Talk about #UnionsForAll in the First Democratic Presidential DebateJuly 9, 2019
Healthcare workers, adjunct professors, fast food workers and community supporters stood together in solidarity near the Adrienne Arsht Center where the Democratic Presidential candidates took the stage for their first debate. Their message to the candidates was clear—all working people should be able to join a union, earn a $15 minimum wage and have access to quality, affordable healthcare.
“I am thrilled to stand with my SEIU brothers and sisters today because we share the same commitment to fight for social, racial and economic justice,” said Ann Mercie Blot, a CNA and member of 1199SEIU. “We know that when we stand together, we’re a powerful force, especially on election day. So, if the candidates want our vote, they need to support policies that uplift working people.”
Blot was among a host of speakers to address the crowd of workers who gathered on North Biscayne Boulevard on a very hot summer day. Joining them were dignitaries including several elected officials and community leaders as well as activist and Princeton University Professor Dr. Cornel West.
“It’s great to see Dr. Cornel West, elected officials and the candidates are taking notice and acknowledging that working people matter,” said Ghislaine Bazile, a CNA and 1199SEIU Member Political Organizer. “We’re determined to make sure workers’ voices are heard in the 2020 election.”
On the second night of the debate, SEIU members marched together to the debate center and chanted “Unions For All”. State Senator Jason Pizzo and Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava addressed the workers and expressed their support for strong unions and a living wage. Reporters interviewed several workers. ABC News did a feature story with Environmental Technician Raquel Hanshaw who talked about the need to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
After the action in Miami, members attended a Watch Party near the debate center where they enjoyed food, beverages and a spirited discussion about the issues addressed during the debate. Debate Watch Parties were also held in West Palm Beach, Saint Petersburg and Orlando.