LGBT Advocacy and the AFL-CIO

This June, city streets in America will bloom with colorful celebrations. Pride, this year, marks the 47th anniversary of Stonewall, and the first year since Obergefell v. Hodges. While most of those celebrating are no stranger to the struggle for equality, it can be easy to forget the struggle of the past and the struggles still needed today. Pride at Work, the AFL-CIO LGBT constituency group, and its members have been fighting for LGBT equality since before the organization was founded in 1994. Today, Pride at Work, along with the labor movement, continues the fight for LGBT rights and equality for all workers.

Pride at work is also celebrating its 22nd anniversary this month. On June 24th, 1994, LGBT union activists gathered in New York City to remember the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. In New York, this network of activists held “The Founding Conference of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender People in the Labor Movement” creating the organization known today as Pride at Work. Three years later, in 1997, it became one of the seven official constituency groups of the AFL-CIO.

Last summer, Pride at Work donated a collection of records and objects including posters, t-shirts, correspondence, meeting minutes, speeches, and conference materials to the University of Maryland Special Collections and University Archives.  This donation compliments our many other Labor collections consisting of AFL-CIO Department records, trade department records, international union records, union programs, union organizations with allied or affiliate relationships with the AFL-CIO, and personal papers of union leaders.  Learn more about our Labor Collections here.

After months of work, we are proud to say that an inventory of the collection is complete and the collection is housed in Hornbake Library awaiting researchers and the public. Please contact us for details on how to access the collection.

The collection spans the history of the organization. One can dive into the collection and follow the organization’s development from a network of LGBT labor activists to the organization that exists today. You can also discover the full scope of work Pride at Work undertakes. In The Diamondback, Jerame Davis, executive director of Pride at Work, described the organization’s work saying that it “‘it focuses primarily on educating labor, LGBT issues and educating the LGBT community about labor issues.’” The collection truly reflects this mission. You can also find records related to P@W’s fight for domestic partnership benefits, work to fight discrimination and document hate crimes, you can read speeches delivered across the country and this world by Nancy Wohlforth,  retired OPEIU Secretary-Treasurer, P@W co-president, and member for the AFL-CIO board.

Our Labor Collections team invites you to come and discover what Pride at Work’s historic motto “an injury to one is an injury to all” looks like when put into practice.


3 thoughts on “LGBT Advocacy and the AFL-CIO

  1. Pingback: A Look Back at 2016 | Special Collections and University Archives at UMD

  2. Pingback: Nancy Wohlforth: Uniting the Labor and LGBT Movements | Special Collections and University Archives at UMD

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