The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) campaign has refuse to stand behind and support African-American workers in Mississippi trying to organize at a Nissan plant.
Seventeen members of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights were asked to sign on to a letter to Nissan North America citing the National Labor Relations Board’s finding that Nissan has “threatened its employees with termination because of their union activities”
Only the Human Rights Campaign and the National Urban League declined to sign on to the letter that was signed by the NAACP, the National Organization for Women, Unidos USA, the National Council of Churches, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice, among others.
Randi Weingarten, the out lesbian leader of the American Federation of Teachers, said, “It’s deeply disappointing that HRC would not stand for the workers’ rights and affirm that human rights and civil rights are synonymous with workers’ rights, particularly at a time when there is an assault on those we represent. We need to stand to together on behalf of all of us. Unions like my own and so many other labor unions have been soldiers in the fights for LGBTQ priorities for decades. And when it comes to LGBTQ issues, we don’t shy away from championing them regardless of what other feathers it might ruffle. I weighed in strongly with Mary Beth Maxwell of HRC [who served in the Obama administration as the principal deputy assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Labor]… who refused to acknowledge the seriousness of this situation.”
Jerame Davis, of Pride at Work at the AFL-CIO, said, “We’ve been documenting HRC’s less than friendly labor policies for a while. HRC gets most of their money from corporations, and they don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them. This wasn’t a big ask. This was almost pro forma — to voluntarily recognize the union after a vote and not to fight it.”
Davis emphasized, “You can still be fired in 28 states for being LGBT. Union-busting is an LGBT issues because the union contract [with a clause banning anti-LGBTQ discrimination] is the only thing that can protect LGBT workers” in many places.