This is serious, and I hope you read it to the end. Our sisters and brothers in Local 217–UNITE HERE need our help. I’m donating $600 of my coronavirus stimulus check to Local 217 hospitality workers and I urge you to do the same.

The support we got from Local 217, dating all the way back to 1980, was critical to the success of our union, Local 34. Today, Local 217 needs us. Many of their workplaces are closed and more than two-thirds of them have been laid off. Some have lost health insurance when they need it most, and many more face losing coverage in the coming weeks and months.

Local 217 supported us from the beginning. They played a huge role in helping us get the great contracts we’ve won. The same contracts that have allowed us to continue to work and get paid during this national crisis, as essential employees on campus or as non-essential employees working from home. I am donating because we came from Local 217. They are a part of us, we cannot stand by while they are in need.

Organizing Local 34 was a daunting task. We were a group of clerical and technical workers up against a formidable opponent, Yale University, one of the most powerful & wealthy institutions in the world. We needed a large group of skilled organizers with experience & vision to help us build Local 34. And so, here’s the thing you may or may not know—in the beginning most of the Local 34 staff organizers were Local 217 paid staff organizers on loan to us from Local 217. Their dues money (as well as dues money from Local 35 and funds from our International Union UNITE HERE) paid for our original staff organizers and the extensive campaign we needed to mount in order to succeed.

And succeed we did. We could not have won our many victories throughout the years without them. The donation of many Local 217 organizers was a crucial step. They strategized for us. They trained us. They shared their organizing skills and negotiating experience with us. They helped us build the large Organizing Committee that was necessary to win both our union election in 1983 and our first contract back in 1985. I guess what I’m saying is Local 217 is family.

One more time, I need you to donate now, click here. Below I’m sharing some text from Local 217 leadership, and a couple stories from workers underlining just how important this is.

In Solidarity,
Aldo Cupo, Executive Board, Local 34–UNITE HERE!

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