The strongest protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer workers is a union contract. Work with your Local Union leadership to ensure your contract fully includes LGBTQ+ workers and our families in every aspect, from general workplace non-discrimination to family benefits.
This resource provides sample language from actual union contracts in areas crucial to LGBTQ+ inclusion. If you have more questions about bargaining an inclusive contract, please contact our national office. Also, if your contract has some effective language that you would like to share, be sure to let us know.
Pride at Work conducts Union Certification Program trainings to support union leaders and staff in developing the concrete skills to bargain more inclusive contracts, drawing on specific language won by other union locals as well as education and bargaining strategies. To inquire about scheduling a training or a speaker, talk with your union leadership and contact us at our national office.
Domestic partners of employees who are the same sex as the employee shall be eligible for coverage under the Employer’s available health benefit plans as though they were married spouses. Dependents of such domestic partners shall be eligible for coverage under the health plans as if they were dependents of the employee. Requirements for domestic partner benefit eligibility shall be in accordance with Appendix E. Employees meeting such requirements shall then be authorized by the Employer to enroll their domestic partners and dependents.
- -CBA – State Employees’ Association of New Hampshire, SEIU, Local 1984 and the State of New Hampshire
Leaves of Absence
It is imperative that measures taken to protect and include LGBTQ+ workers and their families are clearly spelled out, in order to be as effective as possible.
The term “immediate family” as used in this Agreement shall refer to the employee’s spouse or domestic partner, parent, grandparent, grandchild, son, son-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, stepchild or stepparent of the employee, spouse or domestic partner, and close relative or persons residing in the immediate household of the employee (except domestic employees or roomers). Also included in this definition shall be any minor children or incapacitated individuals for whom the employee has primary responsibility or legal guardianship or conservatorship.
CBA – California Faculty Association and The California State University
Leave for Gender-Affirming Care
The State recognizes that alcohol, nicotine, drug abuse, and stress may adversely affect job performance and are treatable conditions. As a means of correcting job performance problems, the State may offer referral to treatment for alcohol, nicotine, drug, and stress related problems such as marital, domestic partner, family, emotional, financial, medical, legal, gender transition or other personal problems. The intent of this section is to assist an employee’s voluntary efforts to treat alcoholism, nicotine use, or a drug-related or a stress-related problem.
CBA – SEIU Local 1000 and State of California
- It is crucial to ensure that your contract’s non-discrimination clause includes specific protections for “sexual orientation” and “gender identity & expression” because in most states, in the absence of a union contract, workers legally be fired because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.In most states, simply stating nondiscrimination “in accordance with state/federal law” does NOT include LGBTQ+ workers. Contract non-discrimination clauses are the front-line defense for LGBTQ+ people against discrimination and harassment on the job.In accordance with applicable laws, there shall be no discrimination against any employee with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, privileges of or opportunities for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, medical condition (including genetic characteristics), sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act, linguistic characteristics (such as accent or limited English proficiency, where not substantially job-related) marital status, or any other basis prohibited by law.
–UNITE HERE Model Non-Discrimination Policy
The employer will track the self-identified demographic information for all applicants and Employees, including but not limited to race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and disability status, subject to legal and privacy limitations.
CBA – National Women’s Law Center and IFPTE Local 70
Gender Neutral Bathroom Access
To the extent that Employees are working in a physical workplace provided by NWLC, NWLC shall continue to provide a safe and healthy workplace for all Employees—including but not limited to the provision of sufficient and adequate working space, which includes (but is not limited to) ample lighting, ventilation, and ergonomic standards as necessary; ready access to sanitary workspaces and other facilities; and when possible, access to gender neutral restrooms and spaces. NWLC shall strive to maintain office space and to ensure that the office space meets all applicable OSHA guidelines and complies with other applicable laws.
CBA – National Women’s Law Center and IFPTE Local 70
Links to Complete Union Contracts
Below you will find links to the actual collective bargaining agreements referenced above as containing model LGBTQ+-inclusive language.
- Please note, these contracts contain LGBTQ+-inclusive language, but may not all be all-encompassing. For example, one agreement may have a very thorough definition of ‘family,’ but a less-than-perfect non-discrimination clause. Contracts might have effective language preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation, but language on gender identity / expression has not yet been won. Reading through these contracts can provide a useful context for considering your own Local Union contract, what priorities are for bargaining and where improvements can be made.
- Graduate Employees Organization Local 3550 American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO and the University of Michigan
- California Faculty Association and The California State University
- United Faculty of Central and Central Washington University
- State Employees’ Association of New Hampshire, SEIU, Local 1984 and the State of New Hampshire