Working class unity is a core belief of our union. Article IV of UE’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 the ability to legally marry was a great victory for the LGBTQ+ community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer/Questioning), more than half of this community in the U.S. continues to struggle for such basic rights as safe and affordable housing, freedom from workplace violence, and not to be discriminated against just because of who they are. This discrimination is heartbreakingly even more prevalent amongst LGBTQ+ people of color, who experience exponentially greater threats of violence simply because of the color of their skin.
As of January 1, 2023, only 22 states and 375 municipalities explicitly prohibit such discrimination. By May of the same year, 520 anti-LGBTQ+ bills advanced through state legislatures, with 70 of these bills enacted (an-all-time record, with much of the year left to report). Although President Biden reversed the previous administration's policy and extended federal protections against discrimination to LGBTQ+ individuals, this is not enough as many state attorneys general continue to try 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 — against 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. This is all done in an effort to control people who don’t conform or who are seen to be different, by those who are quite possibly just scared of these differences.
Violent acts against LGBTQ+ people still occur far too frequently, with the majority of those murdered being black or brown trans women. We must unite and fight against all discrimination, starting within our own communities and families. We must take up the cry that an injury to one is an injury to all.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THIS 78th UE CONVENTION:
- Encourages the formation of LGBTQ+ caucuses at all levels of the union.
- Calls on locals to bargain for protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, health insurance and pension coverage for couples of all genders and sexual identities, and contract language that gives domestic partners the same rights as married employees;
- Directs the UE Education Department to develop and disseminate anti-oppression workshops and materials at all levels of the union to educate our members and the community on the destructive nature of anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination.
- Support organizations fighting for the rights of LGBTQ+ people;
- Urges members to boycott establishments that discriminate against LGBTQ+ people.
- Urges locals to demand gender-neutral language in our collective bargaining agreements;
- Encourages all members to be conscious and make use of gender-neutral language in their everyday life.