Aparna Kumar,

Issued November 08, 2023

SEIU’s Henry: Election night proved that Virginia is for unions

Victories in Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania pave way for broader wins for workers in ‘24

WASHINGTON – Service Employees International President Mary Kay Henry issued the following statement on Democrats’ major victories in Tuesday’s state and local elections:

Working people did it once again, turning out to support candidates across the country who showed up for workers and committed to increasing wages, lowering prices and holding corporations accountable, paving the way for broader wins for workers in next year’s elections. Rejecting MAGA candidates running in the General Assembly and Northern Virginia county races, voters proved that Virginia’s not just for lovers – it’s for unions.

By turning the Virginia House blue and holding on to the Democratic majority in the Senate and securing pro-union majorities in the Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William County elections, workers are on a path to protecting hard-won collective bargaining for public workers, rejecting extreme abortion bans and winning a $15 minimum wage. And by turning over the members of the Loudoun County School Board, working people in Northern Virginia said enough’s enough with the book banning and shaming that’s hurting children and educators. Let this be a warning to Governor DeSantis and other extremist candidates: Working people do not want to indoctrinate our children into the politics of hate and division.

Essential workers ran an aggressive electoral program for months across the Virginia Commonwealth, with SEIU investing more than $1.4 million to engage, mobilize, and turn out a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual coalition of working people to the polls. The collective voice of working people was also a force in winning Issue 1 in Ohio, which enshrined abortion rights in the state constitution. SEIU-backed candidates won big across the nation by campaigning on a strong economic message, such as Kentucky Governor Beshear, Cherelle Parker, who will be Philadelphia’s first Black woman mayor, and Allegheny County Executive candidate Sara Innamorato, while Judge Dan McCaffery won the open seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, expanding the Democrats’ majority.

While we are celebrating today, SEIU’s 2 million members in service and care and not-yet-union workers in airports and fast food cannot stop mobilizing and organizing for even a minute. As we fight for unions for all, we will continue the conversations we’ve started with voters to ensure that President Biden and all candidates who stand with working people win by wide margins in 2024.”