Monday, April 20, 2009

The Employee Free Choice Act

LGBT advocates have not been outspoken on The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a piece of legislation that would compliment the Employment Non Discrimination Act in providing protections for all workers and much needed ones for LGBT employees.

The Employee Free Choice Act would make it easier for employees to unite and form coalitions and unions to fight unfair labor practices, and to advocate for living wages, health benefits, and job security.

How will this legislation help the LGBT community:

  • Increased union representation will lead to a higher standard of living for all Americans especially people who make significantly less income (transgender people and queer people of color).
  • There are no federal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation/gender identity but often unions as a collective will have such a policy in place to help remedy the situation.
  • EFCA will help LGBT people bargain for more benefits including, inclusive language for LGBT families in the Family Medical Leave Act, offering domestic partner health benefits, removing transgender health exclusions, passing of pension benefits to same-sex spouse or their children.
Take action, and learn more at Shared Agenda.


KipEsquire said...

Labor unions have historically been among the leading proponents of racism and sexism (and homophobia) in the workforce. You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.

What a sad post.

Merideth said...

Kip, you don't seem very familiar with the actual history of unions. I recommend A People's History of the United States to start with.

Phillip Minton said...

They may have proponents of racism, sexism and homophobia, but they also have many allies and LGBT members in the unions in dire needs of protection.

I've blogged on it. Read up on it and see LGBT contingent marches on it. Things are changing. The LGBT community can be found everywhere and should be protected everywhere.

Willow said...

Also Kip, may I direct you to prime examples of combined activism between the LGBTQ community and labor such as the Coors Boycott led by Harvey Milk, as well as Unite Here, the union Cleve Jones works for.

Those working for EFCA and ENDA have joined forces in many states, at least in name, but as this post points out the LGBTQ community has not been outspoken in support for EFCA, nor do most of us know about it.

Coalition building is an integral part of the what will make our movement succeed and our brothers and sisters in labor know how to fight to win.

Thanks for posting on this!!

Sofia said...

Even if it were true that unions were racist/sexist/homophobic in the past, why should we just resign ourselves to being powerless against both bosses and bigots? Join a union and push for them to support your rights, if you think they're not doing it right now.

Queer john said...

Unions may have been bigoted in the past - society was bigoted in the past. Unions have progressed and are a GOOD thing.

Anonymous said...

How about protecting workers choice by preserving the secret ballot? The latest union spin is that the secret ballot won't go away under EFCA. It does if the union organizer can get 50% to sign their card through any means necessary. I actually worked for a union in DC and left due to homophobia. They are all about collecting dues.

Lonnie L said...

The fact that some (or even many) union activists have been racist/sexist/homophobic is actually an argument for challenging that racism/sexism/homophobia, not running away from it. The people in power need us to be divided by racism, sexism, and homophobia because if they divide us against each other, we can't unite against them. Show me a world free of oppression, and I'll support abstaining from union work.

Lonnie L said...

And Subterranean Fire by Sharon Smith is also another great book to read about the history of radical working class struggle and how unions have actually been vehicles for challenging racism, sexism, and homophobia in the labor movement and from the bosses.

Anonymous said...

EFCA does NOT take away the secret ballot. One way the secret ballot can be had is codified in the NLRA section 9(e). Which states that a 30% minority can force a decertification election. Since, according to the language of EFCA, a card check election is not an "election", the decertification can happen immediately after the union is formed.

A union is a workplace democracy. Just like a state's democracy it can be corrupted or led by bigots. Some democracies are corrupt, but does that invalidate the concept? Hell no!

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