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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 20, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 21
Labor endorses Washington Won't Discriminate
Section One
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Labor endorses Washington Won't Discriminate

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The Martin Luther King County Labor Council (MLKCLC) unanimously endorsed Washington Won't Discriminate at its May 18 delegates meeting. The action came at the request of Pride At Work, the AFL-CIO's LGBT affiliate.

MLKCLC 'opposes any attempt to alter or remove Washington's non-discrimination laws that for 10 years have protected our transgender friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors from discrimination on the job, in housing and in public places; and for that reason the Council officially endorses Washington Won't Discriminate, the organization opposing Initiative 1515,' the Labor Council motion said.

'I-1515 won't make us safer, but it will encourage more discrimination and harassment of transgender people, and would create serious financial and legal consequences for our state's economy, businesses, schools and taxpayers.'

MLKCLC includes 150 union locals and other labor organizations like Pride At Work, and represents 100,000 workers in King County.

In March MLKCLC passed a resolution opposing 'any and all initiatives that would deprive Transgender people of their right to use gender-appropriate facilities.' In January the Labor Council formally opposed HB 2589, the 'Bathroom Bill' that marked the first attempt by right-wing forces to exclude Trans people from public restrooms.

Union activists worried that I-1515 would violate state and federal laws protecting people from discrimination on the basis of sex or gender identity, and would deprive Transgender union members of fair and equal treatment in their workplaces by barring them from gender-appropriate facilities.

I-1515 would also make union members who are employees of Washington schools and other public facilities complicit in enforcing discriminatory rules against Transgender individuals.

The Washington State Labor Council (WSLC), which will have the final say on I-1515 because it's a statewide initiative, is expected to vote to oppose the measure at its May 21 political convention.

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