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AFGE Officers, Members and Staff Attend the Pride at Work Convention in Cleveland

AFGE was proud to be one of 18 unions that attended the Pride at Work Triennial Convention in Cleveland, Ohio last week.  Pride at Work is an AFL-CIO constituency group that gives a voice to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community within the labor movement.

The 16 AFGE members who attended the convention were among more than 200 activists from 26 states and Ontario, Canada.  AFGE’s National Vice President for Women and Fair Practices, Augusta Y. Thomas, was among the union leaders who called for equal rights for the LGBT community at the convention; other leaders included Terry Melvin, President of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU); Gregory Cendana, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA); Clayola Brown, President of the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI); and Karen See, President of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW).

The program specialist for the Women’s and Fair Practices Departments, Caniesha Washington, participated on a panel to give strategies on how to organize and mobilize young workers through our own Young Organizing Unionists for the Next Generation (Y.O.U.N.G.) program.

During the convention, AFGE members held a caucus breakfast to discuss issues among the LGBT community within AFGE.  AFGE participants also discussed starting an “AFGE Pride” group within the union to make sure that AFGE is serving our members within the LGBT community.

The delegates of the convention passed resolutions supporting the efforts of striking Chicago teachers and the boycott of Hyatt hotels, where housekeepers and other hotel workers face dangerous workloads and risk replacement by low-paid temporary workers. Delegates voted to support annual participation in the Transgender Day of Remembrance and to expand efforts “to achieve full respect, dignity and justice for transgender and nonconforming workers,” including outreach activities, skills trainings and mentoring efforts. Additional resolutions called for support of organizing for racial justice, mobilizing young workers and increasing efforts to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Delegates also voted to increase support for union-made products and union services; to develop new programs to increase support for LGBT workers internationally; and rally for passage of pay-check fairness legislation and for passage of the DREAM Act. They called for unions throughout the country to push for LGBT inclusive union contracts and transgender-inclusive health care.

In addition to convention business, NVP Thomas was the featured speaker for the Evening Banquet and received special honors at the Celebrating Solidarity dinner held during the convention.

The Women’s and Fair Practices Departments is committed to fighting for equal treatment for all members.  If you would like more information regarding the “AFGE Pride” group please send an email to washic@afge.org and we will keep you informed.

For more photos click here.

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