The AFL-CIO voted this week to allow transgender and gay organizations the right to organize under the union's umbrella, amending its guiding documents to embrace those of all genders and expressions.
The amendment, called "Welcoming All Workers to Our Movement," added the phrases "gender identify" and "gender expression" the AFL-CIO's constitutional documents, Life Site News reported. The new AFL-CIO mission reads: "To encourage all workers without regard to race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression to share equally in the full benefits of union organization."
Other unions have done similarly and opened the doors for representation of members based solely on sexual choice, gender expression or transgender status. But the AFL-CIO is the largest labor union in the nation, facing what President Richard L. Trumpka has described in recent weeks as a "crisis" of dwindling membership. And its open door to the lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender community was received with special excitement.
"[This is] very exciting," National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling said to BuzzFeed. "Labor has really been stepping up, and the AFL-CIO has been stepping up."
The hope from the LGBT activist corner is that the newfound union backing will lead to mandated employee insurance coverage for sex-change operations, hormone therapy — even access to all restrooms, regardless of male-female door labels.
Still, rank-and-file union members may object. Stan Greer, a senior researcher at the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, said it's one thing for union members to express the views that all should be treated equally on the job. But it's another thing for the upper brass of the AFL-CIO to determine that now all members should support with dues a new policy that may go against their religious principles, Life Site News reported.
"[The AFL-CIO's] willingness to embrace the dubious concepts of 'gender identity' and 'gender expression' are bound to offend many unionized workers," Mr. Greer said.
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