UNITE Here Local 5, which represents about 11,000 Hawaii hospitality, health and food service industry workers, endorsed Kim Coco Iwamoto today for lieutenant governor. The union is known for its progressive political views and grassroots activism.
Iwamoto “has been a staunch ally of Local 5 for over a decade and is an enthusiastic supporter of our One Job Should Be Enough campaign,” said Eric Gill, financial-secretary treasurer of UNITE Here, Local 5, in a press release. “Like us, she believes that one job should be enough to live in Hawaii, to provide for our families, and to retire with dignity. We know that she will turn the lieutenant governor’s office into the People’s Office. She has demonstrated that in her unwavering commitment to equal rights and inclusivity, both in and out of the workplace.”
Iwamoto is in a competitive primary race for the lieutenant governor’s office. Other Democrats vying for the post include Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho, state Sens. Josh Green and Jill Tokuda and former state Sen. Will Espero.
Iwamoto, an attorney, is a former member of the Board of Education and served on the Civil Rights Commission.
“In an age when labor unions are under assault from legislatures imposing right to work laws, from the looming JANUS decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, to local threats of illegal vacation rentals and privatization, it is truly inspiring to see the work Local 5 is doing with its members and the community to fight back,” Iwamoto said, referencing the case Janus v. AFSCME, which could result in a major setback to public-sector unions.
This is the union’s first major endorsement this political season.