Women’s & LGBT Rights

Jul 13, 2015

RESOLUTION:  Still Fighting to Advance Women’s and Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Gay, Transgendered (LGBT) Rights

Although our UE predecessors would have thought that by this time, the fates of working women around the world would have been much improved, we are still fighting for equality in many fields. We have better representation in Congress, with 20 percent of all Senators, and 18.3 percent of House Representatives being women, but this is not enough. Misogynistic behavior and rhetoric seems to have taken a nasty uptick in Congress, the military, and harassment in the workplace.

Women have been particularly hard hit in these areas, and while there has been some progress, many states have proposed staggeringly anti-woman, anti-choice legislation. It showed itself in 2012 when a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate commented that it was “God’s will” when women became pregnant due to being raped. Similarly, in NC and elsewhere there has been state legislation expanding the restrictions on a women’s right to reproductive freedom including, forced trans-vaginal ultrasounds, eliminating birth control, and efforts to shut down Planned Parenthood, which provides essential family planning and healthcare services for thousands of women.

Despite the fact that 40 percent of households are headed by women there is a huge gap in income compared to men. Women still only earn 77 cents for every dollar men earn. Studies (and the practical experiences of UE members) show that the women are suspiciously stereotyped as “unreliable” workers who will drop what they are doing at any moment to have children. Such biases do not exist for similarly-aged males interviewed for a job.

Millions of workers lack basic protections against job discrimination due to their sexual orientation or gender identity and this, in turn, marginalizes and threatens existing legal protections we do have against race and gender discrimination. The Employer Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), would prohibit job discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity across the U.S.

According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), civil marriage brings with it over 1,100 federal benefits and protections, including the right to take leave from work to care for a seriously ill spouse, and Social Security survivor benefits that can be the difference between security and poverty.  Lesser forms of partnership recognition such as civil unions and domestic partnerships, however, bring none of these protections from the federal government.

In May 2012, voters in N.C. approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages. As of August 2013, 13 states and five Native-American tribes have legalized same-sex marriage. Over 95 million Americans, 30 percent of the U.S. population, now live in states that have marriage equality – an increase of over 200 percent compared to only two years prior.

UE needs to continue its proud tradition of fighting for all workers’ rights regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, disability, immigration statue or creed. The time is now to put pressure on politicians and bosses to advance women’s and LGBT rights for the sake of future generations. This war against women and LGBT people needs to stop.


  1. Calls on the local, divisions and chapters to educate members to fight women’s and LGBTQ oppression in all aspects at their workplace;
  2. Calls for a high-quality federal day care program and calls upon our local to renew the fight for employer-funded childcare, available for all shifts, in their respective contracts;
  3. Calls on the union at all levels to demand pay equity for women and LGBT people, recognizing that organization and collective bargaining are the best and most lasting ways to achieve this goal;
  4. Calls on the union at all levels to demand quality affordable healthcare, including preventative and lifesaving treatments, as well as alternative birthing methods, and adequate retirement benefits;
  5. Calls on all locals and regions to educate their members, and encourage women’s and LGBTQ organizations to support workers’ rights by demanding that companies, the U.S. government, and international financial institutions adopt and enforce core workers’ rights;
  6. Supports legislation to create a welfare system which does not penalize women for staying home to take care of children and offers genuine job assistance with a living wage and quality childcare;
  7. Calls on the union at all levels to fight for legislation to ensure all workers receive full benefits under the Family Medical Leave Act;
  8. Supports the right of all women, regardless of economic status, to choose whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy, to have access to free, confidential, and effective birth control and family planning services, to be protected against forced sterilization, and not discriminated against because of women’s health issues;
  9. Calls on the union at all levels to educate members on the menace that is sexual harassment, and to combat harassment, intimidation and sexist attitudes wherever found; and support strengthening workers’ compensation laws in all states with improved provisions on injuries sustained from physical attacks in the workplace;
  10. Calls on locals to press for company-paid training programs for all workers, allowing women to upgrade their skills, and to to fight for the rights of women to enter jobs that have been traditionally reserved for men;
  11. Calls on the union at all levels to provide training, encouragement and support for women to become active at all levels of the union, including leadership, and fight any aspect of women’s oppression within the union;
  12. Encourages all members of the union to join the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW);
  13. Encourages our union at all levels to collect and share with members information about women’s issues and legislative tools like report cards.
  1. Calls on the Obama administration to issue an executive order expanding the nondiscrimination provision in federal contracts to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, which would have an extraordinary effect in helping to eradicate discrimination in workplaces receiving federal dollars;
  1. Calls on Congress to enact the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit job discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity across the country.