Labor’s Call to Action: Embracing Diversity and Advocating for LGBTQIA+ Rights

Guest commentary

Volume 124, No. 6June, 2024

Elizabeth Rockett

Pride month is a time of celebration, but it’s also a time to take stock of where we are as LGBTQIA+ people. Unfortunately, there has been an extreme rise in anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric and the passing of discriminatory laws targeting LGBTQIA+ individuals, with over 550 anti-LGBTQ laws introduced across the country in 2024. These discriminatory laws have widespread implications, impacting not only unions and their members but also their families and friends.

It is vital that the labor movement demonstrate unwavering support for LGBTQIA+ individuals and actively work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable environment for all workers. By addressing these issues and standing in solidarity with marginalized communities, labor organizations can play a pivotal role in promoting a more just and inclusive society for all.

Embracing diversity and advocating for the rights of marginalized communities should be a top priority for the labor agenda, aligning with the values of fairness and equality that unions aim to uphold. Additionally, there is a need for more diversity in Union Halls and apprenticeship programs, especially considering that 30 percent of Generation Z identifies as LGBTQIA+ and is part of the current workforce.

As the labor movement undergoes a generational shift, with young people, including LGBTQIA+ individuals, expressing interest in joining, unions must work to be more appealing to future members. This involves creating inclusive workplaces and contracts that incorporate gender-inclusive healthcare, inclusive language, and strong non-discrimination policies. Notably, union contracts often provide more inclusive and protective measures for LGBTQIA+ workers than state laws. By actively supporting LGBTQIA+ rights, labor organizations can significantly contribute to building a more just and inclusive society for all.

Stand in solidarity with us as we strive to bring LGBTQIA+ worker power to our union halls. Stand with us in solidarity as we aim to win the strongest collective bargaining agreements out there. Stand with us on picket lines and stand with us in the fight for our rights when we are being attacked legislatively for simply being who we are. We need our labor family now more than ever. Together, we will win.

Pride at Work, where I serve as membership and program director, is a constituency group of the AFL-CIO that works to bring together the labor movement and the LGBTQIA community and address the issues that workers from diverse backgrounds face. Constituency groups of the AFL-CIO work to help broaden union demographics and we are here to help you and your local unions in contract language, LGBTQIA issues training, healthcare fights, and anything else you may need. Contact us at

Elizabeth Rockett is the membership and program director of Pride at Work.

The opinions of guest commentaries in Allegro do not necessarily reflect the views of Local 802, including its officers, staff or members. To submit a guest commentary to Allegro, first send an e-mail of inquiry to