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Public Employee Press: PEP Talk

Union backs LGBTQIA+ worker initiative

Local 3005 Pres. Jeff Oshins speaks at June 8 City Hall rally.

DC 37’s Pride Diversity Interest Group rallied June 8 at City Hall to press lawmakers to fund a pilot program that would recruit LGBTQIA+ people in the city.

Civil rights advocates, elected officials, and attendees called on the City Council to set aside a half million dollars in the budget for the AFL-CIO’s Pride at Work initiative. The proposal envisions a program to recruit LGBTQIA+ workers into union jobs, including providing access to civil service and certification programs to prepare them for future work. The budget request would cover one year of the program. Activists are hopeful this would be a first step toward establishing a long-term program to attract LGBTQIA+ communities into city service.

Speakers stressed the program would help protect this segment of the population from discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

“This discrimination impacts hiring and job conditions for those members of the community who can obtain employment,” said Lisa Ohta, president of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys Local 2325. “As a result, there exists an urgent need for programs to help LGBTQIA+ New Yorkers access and succeed in good union jobs.”

DC 37 fully backs the initiative, which also calls for establishing a role for these city workers at the Department of Citywide Administrative Services.

“Increasing pathways to civil service for members of the LGBTQIA+ community not only supports the creation of great union jobs, but reinforces our values of inclusion and opportunity,” said Henry Garrido, DC 37 Executive Director.

Local 3005 President Jeff Oshins, chair of DC 37’s newly renamed Pride Diversity Interest Group, applauded the proposed initiative.

“Just as our committee needed to change its name from the Lesbian and Gay Issues Committee to be more inclusive of our ever-evolving community, we join LGBTQIA+ advocates with unions and union-connected workforce programs to create new pathways for LGBTQIA+ folks in the multiple trades,” Oshins said. “What better time than Pride Month to take on this task.”