Section One

April 29, 2005

Volume 33,
Issue 17

Sat, Feb 27, 2016


Microsoft rolls back civil rights; promotes devastating trade agreements
Pride at Work, AFL-CIO and other labor leaders are mobilizing their base to denounce Microsoft Corporation actions. Recently, Microsoft withdrew support for a non-discrimination bill, and is promoting the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

Last month, Microsoft Corporation secretly revoked its support for the Washington State non-discrimination bill. This Senate bill, H.B. 1515, would have barred discrimination on based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Defeated by one vote in the state Senate on April 21, undoubtedly, Microsoft’s actions doomed the bill. Redmond, Washington based state senator Bill Finkbeiner voted against the bill; Microsoft is headquartered in Redmond. Pandering to anti-Gay sentiment and the corporate bottom line, Microsoft betrayed their workers and worldwide customers.

Also last month, Microsoft began lobbying for CAFTA * an extension of the North American Free Trade Agreement to six countries in Central America. Like NAFTA, CAFTA would eliminate thousands of US jobs. “The actions of Microsoft are further eroding the rights of its employees in the name of increased profit,” said Marcus Courtney, president of WashTech/CWA Local 37083. WashTech has been engaged in a multi-year campaign to organize workers at Microsoft.

“The King County Labor Council stands united in vehemently opposing CAFTA, as well as strongly advocating for protections for LGBT workers,” said Steve Williamson, Executive Secretary Treasurer of the King County labor council, representing unions and over 175,000 workers in the Seattle area.

By withdrawing support for non-discrimination and supporting CAFTA, Microsoft tells its employees, Washingtonians, and Americans that they do not support civil rights and workers’ rights. “We can never rely on corporate America to advocate for workers, but we can hold Microsoft accountable for its amoral legislative work that hurts us in innumerable ways,” says Sarah Luthens, Seattle resident and Pride at Work Treasurer.

Pride at Work denounces Microsoft’s irresponsible free trade policies and their rolling back of civil rights. Calling on our base, we urge labor activists, community members and allies to contact Microsoft and support workers’ rights, human rights.

You can take action by visiting

Pride At Work is a constituency group (community or identity group) affiliated with the American Federation of Labor* Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). Pride At Work is committed to mobilizing mutual support between the organized Labor Movement and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) communities around organizing for social, racial, and economic justice.

Pride At Work press release

Leslie Robinson

Madelyn Arnold

Paula Martinac