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Social Security workers say "Decline to Sign"
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Social Security workers say "Decline to Sign"
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 3937 has endorsed the Decline to Sign Referendum 71 campaign. Their action came at the request of Pride At Work, the AFL-CIO's LGBT constituency organization.

AFGE 3937's President Steve Kofahl informed Pride At Work of his local's endorsement on Wednesday, May 27. "We're in." he said. AFGE 3937 represents approximately 1500 Social Security Administration employees in 60 facilities in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Idaho.

During bargaining on the AFGE's last National Agreement in 2004 - "midway through the Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue," as Kofahl calls it - SSA management proposed to eliminate contract language protecting workers from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

AFGE responded by publicizing the attack and calling on their community allies for support. The adverse publicity caused SSA management to back down.

"We will renegotiate the National Agreement this summer, and will not only preserve the existing language, but will try to improve upon it," Kofahl promises.

AFGE employees would also be covered by the federal Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act introduced by Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) on May 20. The bill would require the federal government to extend the same benefits, rights, and responsibilities to same-sex domestic partners of its employees as it affords to employees' married spouses.

The bill is currently in committee, but is thought to conflict with sections of the federal DOMA.

Pride At Work is the AFL-CIO's LGBT constituency organization, although it also welcomes members of Change To Win and independent unions, as well as non-union allies.

Pride At Work's mission is to mobilize mutual support between the labor movement and the LGBT community, organizing for social and economic justice. The King County chapter is represented on the Martin Luther King County Labor Council Executive Board and on the Washington State Labor Council.

For more information, contact Pride At Work, Martin Luther King County chapter at 206-261-8110, or e-mail OutFront.PrideAtWork@gmail.com.

Courtesy of Pride At Work AFL-CIO
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