Victory for LGBTQ+ workers’ rights

June 16, 2020 - On Monday, June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that their 1964 Civil Rights Act protects LGBTQ+ employees from being discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status. FINALLY!

In Canada, these rights have been recognized for the last TWENTY-TWO years. In 1998, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Vriend V Alberta that irrespective of sexual identity, or expression, employers could not discriminate.

“This is a historic win for LGBTQ+ communities; this comes at a very significant time and is a monumental victory,” said Donna Hokiro, Acting President of USW Local 1944. “This speaks to the decades’ of hard work that queer communities have done, fought for, and even died for, basic human rights and justice. What’s more, this landmark ruling comes down as we celebrate PRIDE month, making this particularly exciting. This is really incredible and a win that is long overdue. It’s shameful that in 2020, three Justices would have voted against this long-awaited change; the vote should have been unanimous. But nonetheless the majority opinion wins the day and this is an amazing victory for LGBTQ+ workers’ rights. It’s no longer legal to be fired because of who you love and who you are and this makes me profoundly happy.”

Institutional discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community is an offence to basic human rights. All workers deserve the same protections, in Canada, in the US, and around the world, whether they are unionized or not. 

USW Local 1944 applauds the Supreme Court for their historic ruling. However, much work still needs to be done until we can claim that all workers benefit from equal rights. Just this week, the murders of two Americans who were Black and trans were reported but have not received the proper coverage that their deaths warrant.

While Americans enjoy a long-awaited victory, globally the war against oppression and discrimination still rages on.

USW Local 1944 is proud to play an active part in the fight for equality and justice for LGBTQ+ communities, in and outside our Local Union.

In Solidarity,

USW Local 1944