Building Solidarity with Pride

AFGE is proud to be a Rainbow Sponsor of the 40th Celebration of Pride in the Nation’s Capital. As the nation's largest labor union representing federal and D.C. government workers, AFGE uplifts, affirms and protects the workplace rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. 

The federation's advocacy for workplace rights runs deep. AFGE takes seriously the responsibility to help provide good government services while ensuring that government workers are treated fairly and with dignity. The union supports a meaningful transformation of the federal workplace to improve the way services and benefits are delivered to the American public.

AFGE represents government workers who are vital threads of the fabric in American life. Government employees inspect the food we eat and the places we work, care for our nation's veterans, serve as a vital link to Social Security recipients, maintain the District of Columbia's infrastructure, keep the national defense systems prepared for any danger and much more. AFGE members are proud to make America work.

The representation of hardworking government employees means challenging broken systems and ensuring all worksites are safe and inclusive. Since 1988, AFGE has fought to include LGBT protections in collective bargaining agreements – oftentimes the only protection a LGBT worker has against discrimination. That work began with AFGE’s Council 222 representing Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) employees.

The council’s bargaining team fought to include anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation – at a time when it wasn’t recognized by the EEOC – and expand the definition of family to include individuals related by affinity. The contract was ratified in 1990 and was the first nationwide contract between AFGE and a federal agency to include such protections and inclusions.

Click below to view the 1990 landmark contract and contract definitions that protected LGBT employees at the Department of Housing & Urban Development.

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Working on behalf of AFGE members doesn’t stop at the negotiating table. Through the Women’s and Fair Practices Departments, the union established a LGBT PRIDE program, one of the few among international labor organizations. This program is designed to help LGBT members feel welcomed and valued in the labor movement, facilitate efforts to oppose workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and encourage local chapters to bargain LGBT inclusive contracts.

AFGE PrideGoals of the AFGE PRIDE Program

  • To help LGBT members and potential members feel welcomed and valued in AFGE
  • To facilitate efforts by AFGE to oppose workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression
  • To provide educational support to the leaders and members of AFGE that will ensure respect for all employees, including LGBT federal and D.C. government employees
  • To promote best practices in the workplace to support LGBT union members and encourage Locals to adopt them via contract language, union policies and union advocacy
  • To work within AFGE and the Labor community to organize support of equality and justice for the LGBT community and their families
  • To engage the LGBT community to support union campaigns for every member’s rights at work.

Through these departments the union has also developed a model policy on ensuring government worksites are inclusive and safe for transgender, gender non-conforming and transitioning employees. This guidance can be used by AFGE locals as they strive to make changes at the bargaining table and on the workroom floor.

AFGE’s advancement on these critical issues has always been fueled by its membership. Outspoken leaders like Virginia Hemingway who pushed for the union to be more inclusive; Carolyn Federoff who found affirmation at the local level and brought concerns to the national level; Francis Nichols who has become a fierce advocate for young workers; and, Tamara Lusardi who fought back against workplace discrimination and stood up for transgender rights continue to move AFGE forward. Through its members and its mission, AFGE continues to build solidarity with pride.

To learn more about how AFGE supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender government employees, click here.

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