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Sahuarita woman sings for Trump: How’d she land the gig? | Local News Stories

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Yvette Serino has had a lot of big moments in her career but she says it was all in preparation for Wednesday, when she sang for the president.

Serino, who lives in Sahuarita, got the call from President Trump’s state campaign manager about two weeks ago, but landing the invite was months in the making. It involved networking, social media, a few nudges and, ultimately, a quickly put-together demo tape to prove she had the pipes to pull off the national anthem in front of 15,000 people.

Serino, who performed as Yvette Gonzalez until Wednesday, says singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” isn’t a moment for just one party.

“People should just remember who we are and what we stand for, and that we all should be united no matter what’s going on in the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or Republican, the song should unite America,” she says.

How it happened

Serino’s road to the Trump rally stage at Veterans Memorial Coliseum began at a Pima County GOP event several months ago.

“This is what I’ve always wanted to do,” she told those in the room. The county Republicans got behind her, talking her up among their contacts and friends on the next level and spreading the word that she was exceptional.

Serino isn’t a tough sell in the talent department. She’s opened for big-name country acts for years and was among 195 people who made it to Hollywood for Season 5 of “American Idol” in the 2005-06 season. That’s 195 out of 320,000 who auditioned.

In 2010, she won Tucson Mariachi Idol, and has sung solo or with groups for years at dozens of events.

In November, she attended a campaign event in Tucson led by Trump adviser and daughter-in-law Lara Trump and met campaign workers. She friended them on social media and sent them recordings of her work.

When she got the call earlier this month, she didn’t even know Trump was headed to Arizona.

“Are you available?” a campaign worker asked, without offering any details. They asked for a demo tape “as soon as possible,” and Serino recorded it in one take at a Tucson studio that day.

The engineer, who has worked with big-name acts, was so struck by her voice and intrigued by the mystery surrounding the recording that he said, “This one’s on me,” and didn’t charge her.

“In the middle of the week they did a background check, and this past Monday I found out for sure that I was going to sing for him and that he was coming,” Serino says.

On Wednesday, she, her mom, Connie, and son, Angelo, headed to Phoenix. They arrived at 12:30 p.m. and went inside the coliseum with other VIPs, about six and a half hours before the event began. Thousands outside the arena were waiting to get in at 3.

Once inside, “I met a lot of good people. My son loved it, he even made a T-shirt.” It reads, “Vote Trump.”

“It was very well-organized, everybody was prepared,” Serino says.

She didn’t meet the president — he was busy with dignitaries and high-dollar donors — but she spoke to Sen. Martha McSally, Rep. Debbie Lesko and talked quite a bit with the president’s son Donald Trump Jr.

“He’s totally amazing,” she says of Trump Jr. “They’re just wonderful people. I think a lot of people form opinions, obviously because it’s politics. But I think when you talk to them in person then you really know how they are. I think people would probably change their minds.”

When she was up, Serino faced the largest audience of her career in the packed hall. And, singing a cappella,  she didn’t miss a note.

“As far as the national anthem, I’ve done it my whole life but I realized that I guess I was practicing for something like this because this is so important. I guess it was God preparing me for this moment.”



Pass

Yvette Serino’s VIP pass.

Serino spent the rest of the evening in VIP seating to the side of the stage. She figures she and her family pulled out of the parking lot that night about 10 p.m.

“It was a long day,” she says with a laugh.

What they’re saying

Serino comes from a family with a long history in Nogales politics. She was raised a Democrat and later became a Republican. She knew singing at a Trump rally was going to bring some criticism, especially on social media.

“Some people were happy for me and some people weren’t,” she says. “Some people said some things to me that were not nice. But, I did a post on my Facebook and said I was raised to respect everybody and my grandfather was a politician in Nogales … and he taught me to treat everybody the same and to respect everybody no matter what their party preference was… We never said anything bad about anybody. But now it’s just really changed and has grown into something that’s just so uncontrollable.”



Serino

Yvette Serino, U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko and Serino’s son, Angelo.

Her grandfather, Tony Serino, always told her those who won at the ballot box deserved respect even if you didn’t agree with them.

“I think America has lost that and we have to get that back somehow,” Serino says.

She hopes it isn’t the last time she’ll sing for the president. Her goal? “I want to sing at President Trump’s inauguration when he wins.”

She’s already working on it: “I actually asked Donald Jr.”

Dan Shearer | 520-547-9770

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“Grassroots” Gig Workers Collective Exposed As UFCW Front

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The Gig Workers Collective, a 501c3 nonprofit which claims to be a “grassroots” representative of gig workers, is at least partially supported and managed by the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW).

The Gig Workers Collective’s cozy relationship with the UFCW was revealed through Facebook’s “page transparency” feature. The UFCW International in Washington, DC, is the sole entry on the list of “Organizations That Manage This Page.” UFCW is said to be “responsible” and has “claimed responsibility” for the Collective’s Facebook page. A phone number on the page connects to the UFCW’s press office in Washington.

Presently, the Gig Workers Collective is running sponsored Facebook ads related to California’s Proposition 22 that say “Paid for by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.” The UFCW is one of the top-three funders of the opposition campaign to Proposition 22, and has sought to organize workers in the gig economy.

Members of the Gig Workers Collective have in the past denied being funded by the UFCW. Matthew Telles, an early member, said in February of this year that he is “not paid by the ufcw (sic) or anyone else for that matter.”



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New Report Shows U.S. Gig Workers Hit Hard by COVID-19 with Nearly 3 out of 5 Now Earning Less than $1,000 per Month

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The United States Spotlight is fifth in a series of Flourish’s year-long global study of more than 3,000 gig workers from Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa and the U.S., all countries with some of the largest and fastest-growing gig economies. In August 2020, Flourish partnered with digital worker platform company Steady to better understand how U.S. gig workers’ financial lives were impacted and their hopes and concerns for the future.

Gig workers in the U.S., employed in service roles, such as e-hailing and delivery, were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with 68% reporting a decline in total income. Nearly 3 out of 5 workers earned less than $1,000 per month, compared to 1 in 5 before the lockdown. A majority of U.S. respondents – 89% – were concerned about COVID-19, and at the time of the survey, respondents were most worried about the impact to their livelihoods, although health risks were also a meaningful concern. 

“With the onset of COVID-19 and the accompanying economic fallout, our research found that the majority of workers in the digital gig economy are living on the edge, piecing together temporary and inconsistent work and struggling to make ends meet,” explained Emmalyn Shaw, managing partner at Flourish. “The pandemic and ensuing economic dislocation significantly impacted this population and highlighted their limited financial resilience.”

Steady CEO Adam Roseman said, “As COVID-19 continues to redefine nearly every aspect of daily life, earning a stable income is much harder to achieve for tens of millions of hourly and gig workers. Consistent and coordinated government and private-sector support will be needed.” 

Black and Latinx Communities Disproportionately Impacted

Fifty-nine percent of respondents reported that if they lost their main source of income, they could not cover household expenses for a month without borrowing money. Black and Latinx communities were disproportionately impacted by the crisis, evidenced by respondents’ high levels of concern and the heavier burden of supporting additional financial dependents. Black workers were hit the hardest financially, with 61% now earning less than $1,000 per month.

Worker Sentiment and Financial Impact Vary by City

The United States Spotlight reveals that worker sentiment and financial impact varied meaningfully by city, depending on the regional course of the pandemic. In Atlanta, Chicago, and Philadelphia, more than half of the workers reported a large fall in income, while San Francisco workers, who also reported a large income decline, indicated a somewhat more positive outlook. In New York, workers reported less economic hardship and lower levels of concern.

Yet, U.S. gig workers showed signs of grit and resilience as they coped with the economic impact of the crisis:

  • 63% used savings and 55% borrowed money, combining loans from multiple sources, with a heavy reliance on friends and family.
  • 39% found new or additional work, with over a third of new work coming from online or app-based platforms.
  • Of the 62% who reduced consumption, half cut back on food.

Some Relief with Financial Aid

In the U.S., government relief payments through the CARES Act were a lifeline for many. 

  • 77% of respondents received financial aid through the CARES Act, and while still struggling, these recipients had stronger financial resilience, less decline in quality of life, and a greater sense of hope.
  • More than half of respondents applied for unemployment benefits since the crisis began, although most struggled to navigate the application process. For most, finding work with better pay is their top financial goal.

To read the full United States Spotlight report, visit: https://flourishventures.com/perspectives/the-digital-hustle-gig-worker-financial-lives-under-pressure-us-spotlight-2020/

“The important role that gig workers play in our society cannot be overemphasized,” said Shaw. “As the world continues to grapple with the challenges of the current crisis, financial institutions, fintechs, and policymakers have an opportunity to learn from our most vulnerable workers and identify financial services that will help them survive this crisis and thrive in the future.”

About Flourish
Flourish is a global venture capital firm investing in entrepreneurs whose innovations advance financial health and prosperity for individuals and small businesses. Our global fintech portfolio includes more than 60 high-growth companies offering a range of leading-edge financial services including, in the U.S., challenger bank Chime, gig worker platform Steady, next-gen home insurance company Kin, and FreshEBT, an app for SNAP recipients, among many others. We partner with industry thought leaders in research, policy, and regulation to better understand the underserved and help foster a fair and more inclusive economy. Visit us at flourishventures.com or join our community through TwitterLinkedIn or Facebook.

SOURCE Flourish Ventures



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Employment Relations Podcast #14 – The impact of the gig economy on the concept of “work”: it’s broader than you might think

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In Episode 14 of our Employment Law for the Time Poor podcast, Professor Andrew Stewart and Emily Haar build on their last discussion about what it means to be an employee by considering the so-called “gig economy”, or the use of digital platforms to find and perform work.

This is a growing area, which does not just include ride share and food delivery. There are platforms for professional services, aged and disability care, as well as odd jobs and clerical roles.

The status of workers in the gig economy can be unclear, and there have been some high profile cases where the issue has been put to the test. The Victorian State Government enquiry into the on-demand workforce is currently receiving submissions, following former Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James’ report being released in June 2020.

Many of the recommendations in that report could have application well beyond the “gig economy”, and organisations who are using new digital technologies to enable work to be performed need to be mindful that the risks associated with misclassifying an employee as a contractor may not just stop with the platform itself.

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