Press

NGLTF Urges United Airlines To Comply With San Francisco Law

Date: 
January 29, 1997

The City of San Francisco will soon require contractors receiving city funds to provide domestic partnership benefits to their employees. This new policy, effective June 1, is the first of its kind and will affect 8,000 - 10,000 companies around the country.

In November, Mayor Willie Brown signed the legislation passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors to forbid city agencies from doing business with any contractor "that discriminates in the provision of benefits between employees with domestic partners and employees with spouses." Over 400 American companies, universities, and municipalities currently extend DP benefits, including IBM, Apple, Microsoft, Disney, Starbucks, Kodak and the city and county of San Francisco.

"We applaud this important decision," said Kerry Lobel, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "Companies and municipalities are doing what the U.S. Congress and its Defense of Marriage Act won't do: give recognition and benefits to same-gender relationships."

The City recently stalled approval of a $18.4 million lease agreement with San Francisco International Airport's largest tenant, United Airlines, for the company's failure to offer DP benefits. With over 8,000 employees in San Francisco and 86,000 employees worldwide, United does not offer domestic partnership benefits in the United States, but does in The Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand, where it is required by law.

"United Airlines has complied with local laws in other places and we expect them to do the same in San Francisco," said Lobel. "Their decision here is either to continue receiving city funds or to discriminate against gay employees in the area of benefits."

David Tomb, founder of United at United, the independent gay and lesbian employee association at United Airlines, said the group presented management with information and assistance on implementing the policy. "We encourage United Airlines in their pursuit of creating an all-encompassing, fair workplace, and offer our assistance," said Tomb.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.