Labor Unions Call On NY Legislators To Pass Transgender Protections

transgenderThe clock is ticking in Albany, and the New York State Senate still hasn’t gotten around to a vote on the Gender Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which would extend antidiscrimination protections to transgendered people. Now a coalition of powerful labor unions are adding their voices to up pressure for the passage of the measure.SEIU 1199 United Healthcare Workers East, AFL-CIO and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), are calling on the Senate to pass the measure, which has passed the state Assembly six years in a row only to have the Senate not vote on it.  “It’s time that SEIU 1199 United Healthcare Workers East, AFL-CIO and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), are calling on the Senate to pass the measure, which has passed the state Assembly six years in a row only to have the Senate not vote on it.    “It’s time that the Senate passed this legislation, to ensure that no hard-working New Yorker lacks protection and risks unjust termination simply because of who they are,” said Kevin Finnegan, Legislative and Political Director of SEIU 1199 United Healthcare Workers East.

The unions are joining a chorus that keeps growing. The Buffalo News, hardly an outpost of runaway liberalism, just called for passage of GENDA. Both of New York’s U.S. Senators, Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand,  have written a letter in support of the measure, and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says supports the bill, but advocates feel that he could be pushing more forcefully for its passage.

Of course, even by the low standards of state legislatures, New York stands out for its byzantine ways. Right now, the state legislature is vying for title of most corrupt in the nation. You’d think the legislators might try to improve their image a little by actually making people’s lives better. We’ll see.

Ahead of the vote, Empire State Pride Agenda has released a new video in its awareness campaign. Watch Rowan, a transgender male from Albany, NY, and his mother Fiona offer compelling reasons to end discrimination.

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  • Raquel Santiago

    New York is not the only state needing labor laws to protect Trans people. San Francisco is also pretty bad about this. I can remember working for a temp agency several years ago and I sent a trans person out on a job interview (approved by my boss) cause she had the experience and skills. The company called yelling about it but did not directly say the reason. On another company, the workers lover her but the boss called and said they “needed someone more professional”. If a company wants you gone they will make up any excuse to fire someone or not hire them and will outright lie. This affects everyone.

  • Thedrdonna

    @Raquel Santiago: Actually, California state law forbids discriminating on the basis of gender identity or gender expression. Of course, that’s de jure, not de facto, so a company can make up pretty much any old excuse to fire or not hire someone, but I’m not sure how we could go about taking care of de facto discrimination when the laws are in place.

  • Raquel Santiago

    @Thedrdonna: Yep pretty much was my point yet not saying it directly. Very frustrating when employers make up lies to fire people based upon any status protected or non-protected. My feelings on this is if they can do the job and do it well and have the qualifications, nothing else should matter.

  • sweetbrandigirl2004

    I am currently unemployed because a GAY man outed me to my former employer. I had only been working there for three months they had no Idea of my history……not that it was any of their business. They didn’t known that I am a Post-Op Transsexual since I pass fairly well and all my documents have been changed including my Birth Certificate…….that is until this gay man outed me to the museums director one day…….and they fired me the next day saying I didn’t smile enough…really ! that was their reason for letting me go and since I live in Virginia and it’s a right to work state they can fire you for pretty much anything they want and you have no recourse…So I’m getting unemployment and food stamps but neither one is very much. I live in Southwest Virginia which is not somewhere you want to live if your any kind of trans, it’s a very backwards place were people still live like it’s MayBerry. I wish I could move but that takes money and that something I don’t have and even though I known there is discrimination everywhere I feel sure there are places with less then what I am force to tolerate here.

    But honestly we all known they didn’t fire me for not smiling enough, but they could have used any reason and there would have been nothing I could do, I swear if I ever can move I’m not moving to another right to work state theres no protections in these type work environments. The laws in these state are mostly set by republicans and lean toward favoring the employer leaving the employee to fend for themselves.

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