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Pride at Work Energizes LGBT Support for Public Employees

by Gregory King  |  May 05, 2011

Pride at WorkEarlier this year, as public employees faced unprecedented attacks from corporate-backed governors and legislators across the country, Pride at Work’s labor activists took action. Pride at Work is a non-profit constituency group that provides a voice for labor in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community and a voice for the LGBT community in the labor movement.

As anti-worker governors targeted public employees and their unions, Pride at Work reached out to the LGBT community to stand in solidarity with our members. They understand that the attack on collective bargaining for public employees is an attack on the fundamental American values that we all share.

Seeking support from national and state LGBT organizations, Pride at Work distributed a sign-on statement that emphasized that “hundreds of thousands of state, county and local employees are battling proposals in Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee, Michigan and Florida that seek to destroy collective bargaining rights.” They urged the LGBT community to join in every battle to protect the rights of America’s working families:

“The struggles for economic justice and equality are intertwined. In a majority of states, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers can still be fired or discriminated against in hiring or promotions simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. For LGBT workers, a legally-binding union contract is often their only protection.”

More than 65 national and state LGBT organizations have added their support to Pride at Work’s statement. Among the organizations joining in this historic commitment to working families are the Courage Campaign, the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, the National Black Justice Coalition, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and National Stonewall Democrats.

While Pride at Work is a non-partisan organization, with Democrat and Republican members, tonight the National Stonewall Democrats will meet in the Gompers Room at the AFL-CIO to honor four of their champions: U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.); former Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.); Congressional staffer Diego M. Sanchez; and Pride at Work’s executive director Peggy Shorey. Shorey is recognized for her leadership in making vital connections between labor, people of color and the LGBT community.

AFSCME members across the country are active in Pride at Work and know that the organization is making a real contribution in our efforts to protect the right of collective bargaining and support real solutions to the problems facing working families across the country. We join in saluting their remarkable efforts.

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