20% of the American workforce is ‘dreaming and waiting’ for you, Mr. President…
By Cathy Kristofferson, April 10, 2013
Following the Supreme Court hearings on marriage equality, I wrote a piece here on this BLOG titled ‘Marriage is nothing without job protections’. One of the described protections that could be put in place was an executive order protecting employees of federal contractors that then candidate and now President Obama campaign-promised back in 2008. Five years later we still have no such executive order.
Yesterday a coalition of equal rights organizations put out a report showing that roughly $300 billion taxpayer dollars go to federal contractors in states where the LGBT community has NO job protections!
In 2012 alone, $293 billion contract dollars were awarded in states that have no state-level nondiscrimination protections for gender identity/expression, with $249 billion of that total going to states that also have no protections for sexual orientation.
The federal government has seen the need to protect its own LGBT employees but those protections do not extend to the employees of independent federal contractors who employee 20% of the American work force! We have heard for a long time now that the executive order is ‘done’ and just waiting for the President to pick up a pen and to sign. Some of us have even done actions delivering pens to Obama for America offices in case he just can’t find one. But as I reported last week it is all ‘dreams and waiting’ with the President for a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which in the meantime is just more and more LGBT discrimination left unchecked.
Executive orders protecting against employment discrimination are not some new or rare idea, nor are they granting some ‘special rights’. Executive orders protecting against employment discrimination were issued in both 1941 and 1965 protecting different classes of employees including such things as race, ethnicity, and religion.
Overwhelmingly (73%), Americans support LGBT workplace protections. Also overwhelmingly (78%), Americans believe workplace protections are already in place! This makes the job of advocating for job protections all the harder.
On the map above, you will see a handful of states have sexual orientation protections but no gender identity protections, leaving our trans brothers and sisters vulnerable. I know that New York is madly working on their GENDA legislation. Sadly I know all too well why Maryland is lacking because I read the gleeful reporting from MassResistance of yet another ‘Bathroom Bill’ take-down. The Maryland legislators were not willing to throw public accommodation protections under the bus as they were here in Massachusetts so no protections are in place. Wisconsin, Delaware and New Hampshire need to get with the program too. There are organizations in those states, like Fair Wisconsin and Equality Delaware that could use your help.
We really need to ALL get out and support Trans Civil Rights bills when come forward at either the state or city level until the ever-promised ENDA comes to fruition. And we should all call, email, write, do whatever to urge your legislators and the President to finish the job of protecting ALL employees from workplace discrimination.
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