Task Force and ESPA applaud launch of new group working to advance fair treatment of hotel industry employees

June 28, 2006

Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications

WASHINGTON, June 28 —The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Empire State Pride Agenda applauded today’s launch of the Informed Meetings Exchange (INMEX), which will help organizations spend their meeting dollars in a way that is consistent with their institutional values and help transform the hotel industry into one that treats its employees fairly.

“The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community spends millions of dollars every year in the hospitality industry, and many of us care deeply about how and where those dollars are spent. Treating workers — all workers — fairly is the bottom line. The Task Force supports INMEX because it shares our values of advancing social and economic justice,” said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

INMEX, established by UNITE HERE, formerly UNITE (the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees) and HERE (Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union), is designed to help its members ensure that their meeting and convention dollars are being spent with responsible hotel companies that provide their workers with living wages, access to affordable health care, retirement security and a voice in the workplace.

“Many of the people who make our meetings successful — those who prepare our meals, serve our food and take care of guests — are members of the LGBT community,” said Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, New York's statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights and advocacy organization. “We are proud to be working with a union that has been a leader in protecting these LGBT hotel workers and their families through a broad range of domestic partner benefits as well as nondiscrimination language in their contracts.”

In addition to the Task Force and the Pride Agenda, a broad spectrum of organizations subscribe to INMEX, including the NAACP, the National Organization for Women, the National Council of La Raza, the Sierra Club and the AFL-CIO.

“The hotel industry has realized record profits in the last few years, and I think our groups are beginning to understand that global hotel corporations rely on our groups’ business to sustain those profits,“ said John Stephens, executive director of the American Studies Association and board chair of INMEX. “Subscribers will use INMEX to help them make more informed decisions about where and how they spend their highly coveted meeting and convention dollars. With this type of transparency and information exchange, all of us can ensure that the dollars we spend have a positive impact on hotel workers’ lives and the communities they live in.”

Learn more about INMEX at


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.