Workers rights are LGBT rights

Are you looking forward to Labor Day Weekend? Did you know that we have weekends thanks to labor unions? The Task Force has a long history of standing with organized labor and today, we want to take the time to thank them for standing with LGBT workers across the country.

While organized labor has been able to secure many workplace gains, from better health care to the family medical leave act, there are still things we’re fighting for. Most states do not protect LGBT workers from discrimination and there is currently no explicit federal protection for LGBT people in the workplace. In these economic times, LGBT people shouldn’t have to be concerned about discrimination because of who they are or who the love. That’s why we need the federal government to stop LGBT employment discrimination with the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

This Labor Day, unions are standing with us in a call for workplace protections. Union workers are protected against discrimination in their contracts, but still see the need for a clear federal law that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Join this action by telling the Senate, “It’s time to bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to a committee vote.”

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s National Compensation Survey, the relationship between our fight for equal treatment in the workplace is undeniably linked to the benefits of unions.

Click here to share this infographic on Facebook! And here to tweet it!

Here are the numbers:

  • 53% to 17 %. If you’re a state or local worker with union representation you are more likely to have access to health care coverage for your same-sex partner. Fifty-three percent of state/local workers in a union had access to domestic partner benefits compared to just 17 percent for non-union employees.
  • 46% to 28%. In private industry you’re more likely to have same-sex domestic partner benefits with a union (46%) than if you lack the collective bargaining power of a union (28%).
  • 54% to 47%. You’re more likely to have same-sex partner survivor benefits in retirement as a state/local worker if you’re represented by a union (54%) than if you are not in a union (47%).

There are benefits beyond health insurance or retirement security that unions offer LGBT workers. Union workers can be fired only with just cause and often have access to grievance procedures and arbitration. Additionally, many union contracts do what federal law does not: prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. And unions are out front to ensure that transgender people have equal access to benefits. Just this past May, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) passed a resolution that the its local affiliates would bargain for trans-inclusive health care in contract negotiations.

These protections through union membership are fantastic, but they aren’t enough. We all deserve the same employment protections. This holiday weekend, if you are getting ready to enjoy a break from work, remember that some of us are still fighting for the right to work.

Join us today, August 30, with U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. She will be hosting a live Twitter chat at 2 p.m. EDT. This conversation is a great opportunity, especially for students and young workers, to ask questions about the workforce, finding job training programs and identifying up-and-coming careers.

To participate use the hashtag #LaborDay2012 or tweet questions in advance to @HildaSolisDOL.

And don’t forget, repost our inforgraphic to spread the message that workers rights are LGBT rights!