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More labor leaders endorse ENDA
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More labor leaders endorse ENDA

More leaders of organized labor are speaking out in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), introduced by Rep Barney Frank (D-MA) last Wednesday. ENDA would correct a glaring omission in US civil rights law by prohibiting workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

SEIU Executive Vice President Mary Kay Henry and Association of Flight Attendants International President Patricia Friend have issued statements endorsing the legislation.

SEIU is currently the largest US union, representing some 2 million workers in several industries, including healthcare, public service, and janitorial and security workers. It is affiliated with the Change To Win coalition, which left the AFL-CIO in 2005.

The AFA represents 55,000 workers at 20 airlines. It is affiliated with Communication Workers of America (CWA) and the AFL-CIO.

Executive VP Mary Kay Henry of SEIU said:

"Ensuring that all working Americans can be fairly considered for jobs and promotion in workplaces free from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is another part of the change that Americans voted for last year. SEIU strongly supports the 2009 federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that will fill a gaping hole in our nation's basic protections of equal opportunity. It covers all people and has particular importance for millions of workers who live in towns and states where legal standards do not live up to the simple inclusion it will enact. In fact, the provisions of ENDA are so intrinsic to the American way that many people falsely believe it is already settled law, even as it remains for this Congress to achieve. Forty years ago this week, the Stonewall rebellion was a signal that LGBT people would fight back in the face of harassment and discrimination. This overdue reform will demonstrate that we are a nation of conscience that can overcome the injustice of the past and increase prosperity for working families by welcoming and drawing on the talents of a diverse workforce."

International President Patricia Friend of the AFA said:

"The Association of Flight Attendants - CWA, AFL-CIO, the largest flight attendant union in the United States representing over 55,000 members at 20 airlines strongly supports H.R. 2015, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). This legislation would prohibit an employer from using an individual's sexual orientation as the basis for adverse or different treatment in employment or employment opportunities.

"Every year, Americans are denied employment opportunities due to their sexual orientation. This discrimination occurs in many forms as American workers are not hired, are fired, do not receive job promotions, or deal with verbal and physical abuse from co-workers and supervisors simply because of their sexual orientation.

"Passage of ENDA would be an important step in recognizing that employment decisions should be made on the basis of an individual's ability to perform a job. People that work hard and perform well should not be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. ENDA is simple justice.

"In 1996, ENDA reached a near victory in the U.S. Senate, coming within one vote of passage. Since then, support of ENDA's goal of non-discrimination has been building across the nation, from the Halls of Congress to corporate boardrooms to religious communities and the American public. Poll after poll demonstrates that ENDA enjoys the support of over two-thirds of the American public.

"It is time that we protect the rights that should belong to every American - the right to be free from job discrimination based on irrational fears. I urge you to take a stand for fairness and equal opportunity for all American workers regardless of their sexual orientation. Please support this important legislation."

Courtesy of Pride At Work AFL-CIO

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