Massachusetts Labor Unions Announce Support of Transgender Protections Bill
May 11, 2016

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11 labor unions representing more than half a million families support bill as Massachusetts Senate prepares to debate tomorrow
BOSTON — Eleven of the state’s major labor unions and organizations, including AFL-CIO and 1199SEIU, today announced their support of a bill that would ensure explicit protections for transgender people in public places, including restaurants, hotels, hospitals, parks, and public restrooms. The news comes as 1199SEIU hosts a lobby day today at the state house in support of this and other bills, and as the Senate prepares to bring the transgender protections bill to a debate and vote tomorrowMay 12.
In total, 11 unions supported the bill today representing more than 750,000 families and workers across the state of Massachusetts. The letter of support will be delivered to lawmakers at the state house today, and can be found along with the full list here: www.freedommassachusetts.org/labor.
“Our Commonwealth’s workers should be treated with dignity and respect not only on the job, but also when they are customers at the very restaurants, hotels, hospitals and other public accommodations where they work,” said former State Senator Steven A. Tolman, President of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, the largest labor organization in the state. “This is consistent with our Commonwealth’s values, it improves workers’ well-being on and off the job, and it’s the right thing to do. The legislature should pass SB 735/HB 1577 as soon as possible.”
“Unions have long been some of the earliest and strongest supporters of LGBT equality,” said Tyrék D. Lee Sr., executive Vice President of 1199SEIU, the largest healthcare union in Massachusetts. “The labor movement’s power has contributed tremendously to advancing rights for LGBT people because when any person experiences discrimination in the state we call home, it’s bad for all of us. We stand proudly in support of the transgender protections bill in Massachusetts.”
“Massachusetts has the opportunity to be a leader on equality and set an example for the rest of the country by passing the transgender protections bill,” said Brian Doherty of the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan District. “Building trades unions fight for dignity and respect for people every day. When protections are ensured for all people, communities thrive and we as a society prosper. This commonsense bill is good for our well-being and safety, and for Massachusetts’ reputation as a beacon of freedom and equality for all people.”
“The ability to live your life free from discrimination in any aspect is integrally connected to economic and workplace justice,” said Harris Gruman of SEIU State Council. “Massachusetts has the opportunity to add transgender people to the important list of people who cannot be discriminated against for being who they are. We strongly urge legislators to do what’s best for the Commonwealth, and pass SB 735/HB 1577.”
A Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll released on Saturday found that Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly support statewide protections for transgender people in public places, by a 23-point margin. In total, the transgender protections bill enjoys support from more than 250 businesses, 350 clergy and congregations, leading law enforcement organizations, dozens of women’s groups and advocates against violence and sexual assault, the entire MA congressional delegation, all of New England’s champion sports teams, bipartisan leaders in the House and Senate, and more.
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Freedom Massachusetts is the bipartisan campaign working to ensure all people are treated fairly and equally under the law.

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