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AFL-CIO adds protections for transgender workers to its constitution

AFL-CIO adds protections for transgender workers to its constitution

LOS ANGELES — The AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the United States, amended its constitution Monday to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity or gender expression.

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, comprised of more than 50 national and international unions representing more than 12 million workers, voted in favor of the provision during its 2013 convention being held this week in Los Angeles.

The amendment was introduced by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), and co-sponsored by UNITE HERE, a labor union representing hotel, food service, casino and hospitality workers.

Pride at Work, the LGBT organization within the AFL-CIO that campaigned for the amendment, hailed the decision as “a great day in our movement.”

The updated amendment reads: “To encourage all workers without regard to race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability, [or] sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression to share equally in the full benefits of union organization.”

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Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said the AFL-CIO action “sends a strong message to employers and unions that transgender people need the same protections as everyone else.”

A 2011 study by the Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality found that 90 percent of transgender people reported experiencing harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job.

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