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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 25, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 12
Labor Council reaffirms support for inclusive anti-discrimination language
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Labor Council reaffirms support for inclusive anti-discrimination language

Courtesy of Pride At Work AFL-CIO

The Martin Luther King County Labor Council (MLKCLC) 'supports inclusive contract language prohibiting discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, and urges its affiliates to adopt such language,' according to a resolution passed unanimously at its March 16 Delegates Meeting.

The resolution was proposed by Pride At Work.

The MLKCLC is the local branch of the AFL-CIO, the country's largest union federation. With some 150 affiliated union locals and other labor organizations, it represents 75,000 workers.

Pride At Work is an LGBT labor organization affiliated with the AFL-CIO, but including members of Change To Win and independent unions, and non-union allies.

Pride At Work proposed the resolution as 'ENDA Plan B,' according to Pride At Work member Mike Andrew.

The resolution notes that 'the failure of the 111th Congress to pass ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) leaves LGBT workers unprotected under federal law.'

'Because of the commitments of the Republican leadership in the House, we won't see action on LGBT legislation like ENDA till 2013 at the earliest,' Andrew said in a brief speech to the MLKCLC delegates.

'We won't be able to protect everybody, but at least we can protect the people we can protect: workers covered by a union contract.'

Pride At Work and the MLKCLC have built a close working relationship over the years, and many contracts already contain language protecting sexual orientation.

There are still relatively few contracts that are really exemplary and protect for both sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

Pride At Work offered the resolution in the wake of the release of a new NGLTF study - 'Injustice at Every Turn' - documenting persistent and pervasive discrimination against Transgender workers.

The MLKCLC has previously passed a resolution supporting passage of an inclusive ENDA bill. It also endorsed the Approve Referendum 71 campaign to protect domestic partnership rights in this state.

In 2006, some 25 local labor organizations, including the MLKCLC, signed on to amicus briefs supporting marriage equality in the Andersen case.

Pride At Work was chartered as an AFL-CIO affiliate in 1997, but for several years before that, the group Out Front Labor Coalition built support for LGBT issues in the local labor movement.

Examples of inclusive anti-discrimination language can be found at Pride At Work's website, www.prideatwork.org.

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