Friday, August 31, 2012


Rochester, N.Y. -- While organized labor has been able to secure many benefits for workers, from better health care to the Family Medical Leave Act, there are still protections we need in the workplace. Most states do not protect LGBT workers from discrimination and there is currently no explicit federal protection for LGBT workers. It’s enough right now to worry about having or getting a job. LGBT people shouldn’t have to also be worried about discrimination just because of who they are or who they love.

This Labor Day, unions are standing with the allied community in calling for workplace protections. Even though many unionized workers are protected against discrimination in their contracts, they know that we all need a federal law that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Join this action now by telling the Senate that it’s time to bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to a committee vote!

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s National Compensation Surveyour fight for equal treatment in the workplace is absolutely linked to the benefits given to unionized workers.

·         53% to 17%. If you’re a state or local worker with union representation you’re more likely to have access to health care coverage for your same-sex partner. 53% of state/local workers in a union had access to domestic partner benefits compared to just 17% for non-union employees. 
·         46% to 28%. In private industry you’re more likely to have same-sex domestic partner benefits with a union (46%) than if you lack the collective bargaining power of a union (28%).
·         54% to 47%. You’re more likely to have same-sex partner survivor benefits in retirement as a state/local worker if you’re represented by a union (54%) than if you are not in a union (47%).

Unions are also out front to ensure that transgender people have equal access to benefits. In May, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) passed a resolution that its local affiliates would bargain for trans-inclusive health care in contract negotiations. And, CSEA has addressed similar language for their Annual Delegates Meeting to be held in Washington, D.C. this October.

These protections through union membership are a great start, but they leave too many workers out in the cold. All of us deserve the same employment protections. And the only way to make sure we’re all protected is to pass ENDA now. Act now to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act!

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