Unite Here is in Alexandria

Unite Here is in Alexandria
(Graphic/Jessica Kim)

To the editor:

I have been a union lawyer for the past 25 years, and have no formal or informal relationship with Unite Here. I will not be voting for Unite Here’s entire candidate slate because I am not convinced that all of the endorsed candidates are committed to vigorously standing up for working families within the city.

Nevertheless, Unite Here, like any other organization, has a fundamental right to support candidates it wants, and this right is not limited to jurisdictions where it has offices. The fact is that Unite Here has members who live in Alexandria, and with many hotels in our city, it has a strong interest in making sure that the workers in these hotels earn better wages and working conditions. Superior terms of employment here compel hotels across the region to negotiate better contracts with Unite Here, which in turn improves the lives of their members.

In general, I do not favor the decades-long trend of fewer restrictions on campaign financing. The Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United only accelerated this trend. Few politicians – and fewer media outlets, who have profited tremendously by the influx of campaign advertising money – have proposed tighter campaign financing laws. In 2024, it is not news that a union spends its money to support pro-worker candidates for local office.

I am proud that Alexandria is now a “union town,” but even prouder to live in a country where workers, many of whom live in Alexandria, are able to express themselves during important elections, like the June 2024 Democratic primary.

-Matt Harris,