For Labor Day, Massachusetts Labor Unions Urge Voters to Uphold Transgender Protections by Voting Yes on 3
September 3, 2018

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Dozens of Massachusetts’ leading labor organizations are taking the Labor Day holiday as an opportunity to reiterate their support for upholding our state’s non-discrimination protections for transgender people.

The call for Bay Staters to vote Yes on 3 on November 6 came at Monday’s annual Greater Boston Labor Day Breakfast, when unions representing hundreds of thousands of members coalesce at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel to honor the contributions the labor movement has made to society.

Tim Foley, executive vice president of the 1199 SEIU, which has generously given $100,000 to the Yes on 3 campaign, framed labor’s support for transgender rights as flowing from a responsibility toward its members.

“Upholding the basic rights of our members who identify as transgender—and all transgender people across Massachusetts—is simply the right thing to do,” he said.

“When the rights of one of our members is threatened, we consider all of our rights threatened and take action. We are urging everyone to vote Yes on 3, to ensure all people in Massachusetts continue to be treated with dignity and respect.”

SEIU affiliates are well represented in our coalition, including the local 32BJ and 509, the Healthcare Committee of Interns and Residents, and the state council.

“When the rights of one of our members is threatened, we consider all of our rights threatened and take action. We are urging everyone to vote Yes on 3, to ensure all people in Massachusetts continue to be treated with dignity and respect.” –Tim Foley, 1199 SEIU Vice President

Other unions who have voiced their strong support for Yes on 3 are the American Federation of Teachers, the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan District, the Boston Public Library Staff Association, the Massachusetts Nurses Association, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, UNITE HERE’s New England Joint Board and Local 26, the UAW’s local 2322, and the Massachusetts AFL-CIO’s Pride at Work group.

Massachusetts is the first state in the nation where transgender protections will be up for a vote on a statewide ballot measure. Currently, Massachusetts is among 19 states and more than 250 municipalities with nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in public places—restaurants, retail shops and doctor’s office, as well as public restrooms and locker rooms.

Yes on 3 campaign chair Kasey Suffredini praised the strong showing from the labor community, noting that it demonstrates just how basic these protections are.

“Our friends in the labor unions understand that voting yes on 3 is about upholding basic rights for transgender people like me,” he said.

“Their support, on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of families they represent, shows just how universal the idea is that all of us should be able to go about living our daily lives free from discrimination and harassment. That’s what this law is all about, and voting yes on 3 ensures it stays the law.”

In addition to the labor unions, more than 1,000 organizations, law enforcement officials, sexual assault and domestic violence prevention experts, business leaders, members of the faith community, and more have joined the coalition in support of upholding the law at the ballot.

If your union supports upholding Massachusetts’ transgender protections and isn’t on this list, you can join our coalition by signing the pledge.


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