Thank Labor Group for Adding Protection of Trans Rights to Its Constitution

trans rights

Target: The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) President Richard Trumka

Goal: Applaud amendment of labor group’s constitution that forbids discrimination based on gender expression or gender identity

The AFL-CIO, a labor federation comprising 57 national and international unions representing over 12 million workers, recently hosted their convention for this year in Los Angeles. Communications Workers of America (CWA) President Larry Cohen brought forward a proposal to amend the nondiscrimination article of their constitution to include a ban on gender identity and gender expression discrimination, a policy which CWA and a number of other unions within the AFL-CIO already embrace. According to the AFL-CIO’s website, the text of “Article  II: Objectives and Principles, Section 4” now reads: “To encourage all workers without regard to race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability, [or] sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression to share equally in the full benefits of union organization.”

This trend of enforcing and generating discussion about inclusivity in the workplace represents a concerted effort by numerous human rights and labor organizations, including the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), both of which, as part of a national coalition called Americans for Workplace Opportunity, are pressuring Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a federal protection against gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination. This hard work is all part of a long campaign to free American workplaces of discriminatory actions and words that arise out of any kind of prejudice. CWA made a similar proposal for a resolution entitled “Resolution for Health Care Equity for All” that established the AFL-CIO’s obligation to advocate for transgender-inclusive healthcare during negotiations and to remove discriminatory healthcare exclusions that target transgender employees. Unfortunately, as the secretary of DC-Baltimore Pride at Work, Donna Cartwright, observed, the second proposal was “unable to move forward at this time due to technicalities, but will be reintroduced at a later meeting of labor leaders.”

By signing this petition, you are applauding the dedication of the AFL-CIO to defending the rights of all employees fully and equally. You are thanking them for this most recent broad protection of the rights of transgender individuals at work. You are encouraging them to continue in their courageous work, to see a healthcare equity resolution passed, and to turn up the heat on Congress regarding the passage of ENDA.


Dear President Trumka,

I am thrilled to hear about the AFL-CIO’s most recent expression of dedication to the equal and full protection of all workers, in the passage of the amendment to the AFL-CIO’s constitution that clearly lays out the protections of transgender workers. In unequivocally banning discrimination in the workplace based on gender identity and gender expression, the AFL-CIO has helped American workers take another step toward true equality.

Thank you for continuing to make your dedication to employment equality and justice clear. Thank you for enshrining protections of transgender workers’ rights in your constitution. I hope that a resolution soon follows elucidating protections of transgender workers against discriminatory healthcare exclusions. I further hope that the AFL-CIO does not waver in its pressure on Congress to pass ENDA.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: infomatique via Flickr

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