by Mike Andrew -
SGN Staff Writer
Join The Impact and Pride At Work AFL-CIO have announced a new partnership - Fairness Works - aimed at eliminating job discrimination in the US.
Join The Impact, which burst onto the political scene with its post-Prop 8 marriage equality demonstrations in November 2008, features the new project prominently on its website:
"Fairness does work," Join The Impact says. "Unfortunately millions are not protected from unfair job termination because of sexual orientation or gender identity. Join the Impact hopes to change the landscape by helping pass three important pieces of legislation, the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT), and the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)."
Kick-off events are scheduled for July 25 in several US cities, including Seattle. The Seattle event will be at the Capitol Hill branch library, 435 Harvard Ave. E., 10 a.m.-noon.
Events will be "part teach-in, part protest, part direct legislative lobbying, and part testimony," organizers say, and will aim at mobilizing local activists to lobby their congressional representatives during the August recess, when they will be home in their districts.
"Join The Impact is providing all the tools and talking points people will need," says Seattle organizer Joe Mirabella. "These tools will help you explain workforce discrimination, its impact on our culture, our military, and our families." All the materials can be accessed online at http://jointheimpact.wetpaint.com/
Pride At Work, the LGBT constituency organization of the AFL-CIO, has been working on these issues with several other national organizations, including Join The Impact and National Stonewall Democrats.
ENDA, which was introduced by Rep Barney Frank (D-MA) on July 1, would remedy a glaring omission in US civil rights law by prohibiting workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Federal law currently protects workers from discrimination only on the basis of race, gender, religion, national origin, and disability.
DADT is a relic of the Clinton administration's 1993 failure to eliminate military regulations against LGBT servicemembers. An estimated 65,000 LGBT people are currently serving in the US armed forces, and they face less than honorable discharge, which means loss of their career, benefits, and education opportunities.
EFCA would reform federal labor law by removing existing legal obstacles to collective bargaining, and easing the way for workers who choose union representation to win a contract. The provision which has drawn the most opposition from employers, "majority sign-up" or "card check," would allow employees to form unions by signing cards authorizing union representation.
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