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Sat Jun 12, 2021, 09:00 PM

LGBTQ rights and labor rights are intrinsically linked

The core principle of organized labor in America has always been a commitment to fairness and opportunity for all working people - it's why collective bargaining agreements have long included robust and durable protections that reflect a commitment not only to union members, but to the common good of all our communities and the people who live and work in them. And it's why our unions - on behalf of 4.9 million workers - are announcing the Labor for Equality Council, a group of unions dedicated to these issues, and to passing the Equality Act to ensure all LGBTQ workers and their families feel safe and welcome in their neighborhoods, on the job, and beyond.

Civil rights are embedded in the labor movement's DNA. We have fought to lift the shadow of discrimination in workplaces across the country for decades, creating more fair and equitable environments for our members and all working people. Building and strengthening the middle class doesn't stop with the punch of a time clock. We believe everyone deserves a fair chance to provide a safe home for their families. We believe everyone deserves the ability to access education, sit down at a restaurant, check into a hotel, or use a federally-funded program without fear of harassment or discrimination.

More than 18 international unions and the AFL-CIO have endorsed the Equality Act, and 90 percent of all union members in America belong to a union that supports the legislation. LGBTQ rights and labor rights are intrinsically linked - our movement historically has stood on the front lines of some of the most important fights for justice, and we believe wholeheartedly in equality and justice for all people, regardless of who they are, where they live, and who they love.

Despite significant progress on LGBTQ employment rights - following not only the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, but also Biden administration executive orders and protections codified into law in 21 states - LGBTQ people still lack basic federal legal protections from discrimination and even violence at work. The nation's patchwork of state non-discrimination laws still leaves millions of LGBTQ Americans subject to uncertainty when it comes to benefits, safety and access to advancement opportunities. Until the Equality Act is passed by the Senate and signed by President Biden, far too many people who identify as LGBTQ will fall through the cracks of our civil rights laws.


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