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 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, workplace, and other forms of legal discrimination.
Since Trump took office, more than 100 bills have been introduced in 29 states to deny basic rights to LGBTQ+ persons. While one in five workers report workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, only 19 states and Washington DC have passed statewide laws to protect against anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination. In July, the Jeff Sessions-led Department of Justice ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights Act Title VII’s scope does not include sexual orientation and gender identity. This ruling perpetuates the oppression of LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. by denying them civil rights protection under federal law.
Violence against LGBTQ+ people is undeniable. In 2016, we saw the deadliest shooting on record targeting the Latinx community at a gay nightclub in Orlando where 49 people were gunned down. The most violent year for trans people was also 2016, with 27 deaths on record. This year is on track to take the deadly title with 17 known deaths due to violence, 16 of which were trans women of color. The average life expectancy of a trans woman of color is 30 years, and only two states have banned the use of a “trans panic” defense in murder cases.
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 75th UE CONVENTION:
- Encourage 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 same-sex and opposite-sex domestic partners, and leave-of-absence language that gives domestic partners the same rights as married employees;
- Calls on 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.