Largest Federal Union Trains Activists on LGBT Workplace Issues

Thursday September 5, 2013

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) held its first training conference focused on workplace issues facing members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community during its Diversity Week of events in August. The AFGE Pride Training Summit provided participants with tools and information regarding equal employment opportunity law, and organizing and messaging around LGBT labor issues.

The training also included a session on LGBT labor leadership development, which illustrated how LGBT members and allies can hone their leadership skills for union building and effectively representing all federal and D.C. government workers. As part of the leadership course, participants also discussed terminology, health and safety concerns and ways to ensure LGBT members are included in the labor movement.

"The issues facing our LGBT brothers and sisters on the job are very serious and it is our responsibility to represent workers equally," said AFGE National Vice President for Women's and Fair Practices Augusta Y. Thomas. "In a majority of states in this country workers can be legally discriminated against based on their sexual orientation. This is unjust and absolutely a cause to be taken up by the union. This training arms our labor activists with the tools they need to represent and provide an inclusive environment for LGBT members."

During the training participants heard from speakers including Thomas, AFGE National Secretary-Treasurer Eugene Hudson Jr., AFGE District 3 National Vice President Keith Hill, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Executive Director Gregory Cendana, Transgender Law Center Executive Director Masen Davis and Pride at Work Executive Director Darren Phelps.

"For far too long issues facing LGBT workers have been pushed to the side," said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. "As the leading labor union for federal and D.C. government workers, AFGE is committed to actively fighting on behalf of our LGBT brothers and sisters, and fostering a space where all members are welcomed and motivated to participate in the growth of our union."

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia .