Massachusetts Chapter of the AFL-CIO is Latest Addition to Growing Number of Labor Unions Supporting the Anti-Discrimination Law
MALDEN – The Massachusetts chapter of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is adding their name to the list of labor unions endorsing the “Yes on 3” ballot question campaign, the bipartisan coalition seeking to uphold the state’s transgender nondiscrimination law at the ballot on Election Day, November 6. More than 15 major local unions – representing hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts workers – have now signed on in support of “Yes on 3”, which upholds the nondiscrimination law protecting transgender people from discrimination in public places such as restaurants, shops, and medical offices.
“We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our transgender friends, neighbors, and fellow union members in voting Yes on 3 on election day,” said MA AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman. “As a labor union, nothing is more important to us than the civil rights of our members and everyone across the nation. We know this law ensures that all people, including those who are transgender, can go about living their everyday lives free from discrimination and harassment. We strongly encourage voters to vote Yes on 3.”
In 2016, at the urging of civic, business and community leaders throughout the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts legislature passed – with a bipartisan, supermajority vote – the historic nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in public places. Governor Charlie Baker signed the bill into law in July 2016. Shortly after it went into effect, a small group of opponents gathered the minimum number of signatures required to place the law on the ballot for repeal in November 2018.
Other unions supporting the “Yes on 3” campaign include, AFT, Building and Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan District, Boston Public Library Staff Association, Massachusetts Nurses Association, Massachusetts Teachers Association, New England Joint Board UNITE HERE, Pride at Work – Massachusetts AFL-CIO, SEIU Local 509, Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU/Healthcare, SEIU State Council, UAW Local 2322, UNITE HERE Local 26, and SEIU 32BJ.
“Our friends in labor understand that voting yes on 3 is about upholding basic rights for transgender people like me,” said Kasey Suffredini, Yes on 3 Campaign Co-Chair. “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.”
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. The Massachusetts law also protects transgender people from discrimination in public restrooms and locker rooms.
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.
Freedom for All Massachusetts is the coalition working to uphold the state’s current nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in public places like restaurants, retail shops and hospitals, ensuring that Massachusetts continues to be a national leader on equality and fairness for all. A November 2018 ballot referendum will ask voters whether they want to retain the law, which has been effective since 2016.