Resolution on LGBT Inclusive Contracts and Transgender Inclusive Health Insurance

WHEREAS, the labor movement has a tremendous history of organizing for social and economic justice for all workers in the spirit of our historic motto, “an injury to one is an injury to all”;

WHEREAS, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers are a vital part of the labor movement;

WHEREAS, the labor movement stands in strong solidarity with LGBT workers on issues including transgender- inclusive Employment NonDiscrimination Act (ENDA) and marriage equality;

WHEREAS, Pride @ Work and the LGBT Labor Leadership Initiative provide LGBT-Inclusive Contracts trainings to provide union leaders and members with information and tools regarding the needs of LGBT workers, sample contract language and shared strategies for winning inclusive benefits;

WHEREAS, because of the lack of legal protections, in the absence of a union contract, LGBT workers may be legally fired in a majority of states on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity;

WHEREAS, there are 1,138 rights and responsibilities conferred through the word “marriage” in federal law, denied to same-sex couples because of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act);

WHEREAS, same-sex couples pay more in federal taxes for health insurance, because DOMA causes health coverage for a partner to be treated as extra income;

WHEREAS, without specific protections in a union contract, same-sex couples do not have the right to access FMLA to care for an ill partner, because DOMA prohibits recognition of their relationship;

WHEREAS, same-sex couples may not have assurance that a spouse will be covered in the event they are killed on the job;

WHEREAS, regardless of state or federal laws, a union contract is one of the most effective ways to prevent discrimination and ensure fair and equal benefits for all workers;

WHEREAS, the union members have a long and proud history of winning LGBT-inclusive union contracts that allow workers to work and support our families with safety, dignity and respect;

WHEREAS, in September 2011, the Pride @ Work National Executive Board passed a resolution opposing discrimination on the basis of gender identity in healthcare and calling on our sisters and brothers in labor to take action in support of transgender workers;

WHEREAS, transgender and gender non-conforming people have great difficulty securing affordable, comprehensive healthcare, and their situation is compounded by systemic discrimination and healthcare providers’ lack of basic cultural competency on transgender issues;

WHEREAS, many transgender people have their applications for health insurance denied when they disclose their transgender status or transition-related medical history (such as hormone level tests) to a potential insurer;

WHEREAS, most health insurance policies still specifically exclude transgender-related care and services, which often means that transgender workers and family members will not be covered for procedures like: hormone therapy, transition related surgery, and/or gender identity-related mental health services;

WHEREAS, gender identity discrimination in the form of ignorance, insensitivity, and outright bigotry is alienating and keeps people from accessing medically necessary care, such as hormone therapy, surgery, mental health services, and other doctor recommended procedures;

WHEREAS, lack of coverage can cause and/or aggravate additional serious and expensive health problems, such as stress-related physical illnesses, depression, and substance abuse problems, which further endanger patients’ health and strain the healthcare system;

WHEREAS, healthcare injustice has life-long effects on people’s ability to learn, work, and care for themselves mentally and physically;

WHEREAS, currently 85 major private employers and 3 public sector employers (City of San Francisco, Berkeley, and the City of Portland), as well as SEIU International and UNITE-HERE International, are currently providing trans inclusive healthcare coverage; and,

WHEREAS, self and fully-insured employer health plans are available and attainable and insurance carriers have available plans without blanket exclusions for transgender-related healthcare.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Pride @ Work supports public and private trans-inclusive health insurance coverage;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, Pride @ Work opposes exclusions of coverage for transgender individuals;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Pride @ Work encourages labor unions across the country to schedule LGBT- Inclusive Contract trainings to provide union leaders and members with the best practices and tools for winning LGBT-inclusive contracts;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Pride @ Work encourages labor unions across the country to assess and if needed update their recommended best practices to ensure full LGBT-inclusion;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Pride @ Work encourages all unions within the AFL-CIO, Change to Win and independent unions to provide trans-inclusive healthcare coverage for transgender employees who work for unions;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Pride @ Work encourages all unions representing both public and private sector workers to take all necessary steps towards offering transgender healthcare benefits for their members and employees; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Pride @ Work urges the labor movement to engage with P@W and our community partners to use all leverage and negotiating opportunities at our disposal to exert pressure on insurers to remove transgender care exclusions, which serve no purpose other than discrimination against our transgender sisters and brothers.