Working class unity is a core belief of our union. Article IV of the Union’s constitution stipulates that all working persons are eligible for membership “regardless of skill, age, sex, nationality, color, race, religious or political belief or affiliation, sexual orientation, disability, or immigration status.”
While many still regard marriage equality as the hallmark win for the LGBTQ+ Community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer/Questioning), LGBTQ+ people across the country continue to struggle against housing inequality, workplace violence, and other forms of legal discrimination.
Twenty-six states provide no protections whatsoever for LGBTQ+ workers against workplace discrimination. The majority of states also provide no protections to LGBTQ+ individuals in housing, public amenities, and credit access — all of which disproportionately affect the working class. Although President Biden reversed Trump-era policy and extended federal sex discrimination protections to LGBTQ+ individuals, attorneys general from twenty states are currently suing the federal government in an effort to roll back this policy.
Many states continue to push “religious liberty” laws which allow for anyone to claim religious belief as an excuse to discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals, including in employment and access to healthcare. These laws are also often constructed so as to allow discrimination — up to and including firing — of unmarried women for being pregnant or using birth control. They are so vaguely worded as to sometimes allow further forms of bigotry, such as against interracial marriage, to be protected as well, as long as the individual claims a “religous” conviction.
Violence against LGBTQ+ people still occurs far too frequently. In 2019 the FBI reported one out of every five hate crimes were caused by anti-LGBTQ+ bias, with the number of hate crimes against trans individuals, in particular, rapidly on the rise. In 2020, 44 trans and non-gender conforming individuals were murdered, making it the most violent year for the community on record. As with past years, the majority of those murdered were black and brown trans women.
We must unite and fight against all discrimination, whether in our communities, in our government, or in our workplaces. Homophobia and transphobia keep us divided and weaken the labor movement. We must take up the cry that an injury to one is an injury to all.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THIS 77th UE CONVENTION:
- Encourages the formation of LGBTQ+ caucuses at various levels of the union;
- Calls on locals to bargain protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, health insurance and pension coverage for couples of all genders and sexual identities, and leave-of-absence language that gives domestic partners the same rights as married employees;
- Directs the UE Education Department to develop, in conjunction with LGBTQ+ members, anti-oppression workshops and materials for use at all levels of the union in order to educate our membership and communities on the destructive nature of LGBTQ+ oppression;
- Supports organizations fighting for the rights of LGBTQ+ people;
- Urges members to boycott establishments that discriminate against LGBTQ+ people;
- Calls on UE negotiating committees to bargain gender-neutral language in their collective bargaining agreements;
- Encourages all levels of the union to make use of gender-neutral language.