In 2014, marriage equality will be on the ballot in Oregon, and members of UNITE HERE Local 8 have become a driving force for marriage equality and transgender healthcare in their state. They stand proudly in solidarity with Oregon Pride at Work—an organization of community groups fighting for equal rights on shop floors, under the law and in the nation’s health care system—and over the past several months have participated in several events to demand equality for all.
In March, “Trans Month of Action,” over 70 participants (including students from Portland State University, REED College and the University of Portland and members of UNITE HERE, the AFL-CIO, AFT, AAUP, SEIU, the United Farm Workers and the Nurses union) attended a panel organized by Local 8 on discrimination against transgender in the health care system. Workers shared stories about their personal experiences with discrimination both in health care situations and on the job, and over 60 people signed pledges committing themselves to helping in the struggle for transgender equality.
On June 16th, Local 8 members marched with area students and members of Pride at Work in Portland’s 43rd Annual Pride Parade, all united under the theme “Working Towards Equality.” They will continue their work together as the vote for equality approaches.