Government employee training conference focuses on LGBT workplace issues

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The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) had a new focus this year at their training conference: problems in the workplace specifically in regards to LGBT community members.

The conference took place during AFGE’s Diversity Week in August, where participants took part in a AFGE Pride Training Summit , designed to bring to surface information and strategies around equal opportunity law and labor issues within the LGBT community.

“The issues facing our LGBT brothers and sisters on the job are very serious and it is our responsibility to represent workers equally,” said AFGE National Vice President for Women’s and Fair Practices Augusta Y. Thomas, according to a PR Newswire press release.

The program also provided a seminar on LGBT labor leadership, which demonstrated how LGBTA people can further their leadership abilities. The leadership training was specifically designed to further union building, which recognizes all federal and D.C. government workers regardless of who they are. In addition to the training, participants also learned appropriate terminology and discussed other safety, health, and inclusivity issues within the labor field.

The conference is meant to ensure that LGBT people are treated as equals within the workplace. “In a majority of states in this country workers can be legally discriminated against based on their sexual orientation. This is unjust and absolutely a cause to be taken up by the union. This training arms our labor activists with the tools they need to represent and provide an inclusive environment for LGBT members,” Thomas stated.

The training brought in many LGBT activists and professionals to speak to participants on the issues at large. Speakers included Thomas, as well as AFGE National Secretary-Treasurer Eugene Hudson Jr., AFGE District 3 National Vice President Keith Hill, Transgender Law Center Executive Director Mason Davis, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Executive Director Gregory Cendana, and Pride at Work executive Director Darren Phelps.

“For far too long issues facing LGBT workers have been pushed to the side,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said, as quoted by the PR Newswire press release. He continued, “As the leading labor union for federal and D.C. government workers, AFGE is committed to actively fighting on behalf of our LGBT brothers and sisters, and fostering a space where all members are welcomed and motivated to participate in the growth of our union.”

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