Pride at Work, founded in 1994, is a non-profit organization that represents and advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) labor union members across the United States. Pride at Work is a constituency group of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), being officially recognized in 1997. The organization's records include correspondence on LGBTQ advocacy issues, subject files on gay rights issues in the workplace, files on LGBTQ discrimination, Pride at Work's governing National Executive Board (NEB) meeting minutes, speech transcripts, Pride at Work and other union publications and newsletters, fiction and non-fiction education films, artifacts, and posters. Topics addressed in the records include domestic partnerships and gay marriage, diversity in the workplace, hate crimes, the Stonewall Democrats, and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Early records from co-founder Nancy Wohlforth are present in the collection as well.
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27.42 Linear Feet (17 records storage boxes and 1 moving box (non-standard size).)
23 Items (23 posters) ; Range in size from 8x8" to 18x24"
51 Videocassettes (45 VHS tapes and 6 MiniDV tapes)
6 Videodiscs (6 DVDs)
12 Sound Discs (12 CDs and CD-Rs)
2 Sound Cassettes (2 audio cassette tapes)
These records document the organization of Pride at Work, an AFL-CIO constituency group that represents and advocates for LGBTQ union members across the United States. The records document the work and activities of Pride at Work since its formation in 1994, including their Labor Leadership Initiative training and education, and the evolution of the organization’s history.
The types of records are: correspondence, meeting minutes, speeches, conference materials, publications, and news clippings. This collection also contains photographs, oversize posters, memorabilia (such as t-shirts and stickers), VHS tapes, MiniDV tapes, DVDs, CDs, and audio cassette tapes.
As indicated by the eleven series, this collection includes information about: the founding and administration of Pride at Work, their National Executive Board (NEB), LGBTQ rights legislation, correspondence with other unions and labor rights groups, documentation of their participation in rallies and marches, training and education materials, participation in world-wide LGBTQ conferences, speeches, correspondence with local Pride at Work chapters in the United States, the Pride at Work newsletter, and news clippings on the LGBTQ movement and related topics.
Executive Director, Jerame Davis
Prior to 1969, the labor movement mostly ignored issues that affected LGBTQ working people. The events at Stonewall Inn and the rebellion that followed woke up many in the ranks of labor to the need to step up efforts to include all workers, including LGBTQ workers. After Stonewall, unions began to recognize that discrimination based on sexual orientation was another assault on working people, one that victimized union members and weakened efforts at solidarity among working families.
As the 1970s began, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) was the first union to pass a resolution against discrimination based on sexual orientation. In 1974, the Teamsters worked with the LGBTQ community members in San Francisco on a boycott against the anti-union Coors Brewing Co. Over the next few decades, support for LGBTQ rights in the labor movement continued to grow. The AFL-CIO passed a resolution that called for legislation to ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. More and more unions started creating LGBTQ caucuses and opened up space for LGBTQ workers to be activists and open about their sexual orientation.
While some unions took the lead, the labor movement was largely silent on issues related to LGBTQ rights and issues. This led LGBTQ union activists to come together to form Pride At Work. The activists met in New York in 1994, the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion. Earlier efforts at organizing had led to groups such as the Lesbian and Gay Labor Alliance (in the San Francisco Bay Area), the Lesbian and Gay Labor Network (New York) and the Gay and Lesbian Labor Activists Network (New England). Efforts such as these would eventually be consolidated into a larger LGBTQ workers organization, Pride at Work. In 1997, the organization was officially recognized by AFL-CIO as a constituency group.
Among Pride At Work's first campaigns were efforts to pressure Chrysler to ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Chrysler made the requested changes in 1999 and Ford and General Motors soon followed. Domestic partner benefits were gained a year later. In 2005, Pride at Work successfully convinced the AFL-CIO to support marriage equality. In 2012, the AFL-CIO supported the legal case that led to the national legal recognition of same-sex marriage.
Today, Pride at Work continues to educate the labor movement and wider culture about the importance of unions for LGBTQ workers and the value those workers provide employers. Pride at Work also supports electoral candidates that support LGBTQ workers and helps LGBTQ working people run for political office.
Quinnell, Kenneth. "LGBT History Month Pathway to Progress: The Founding of Pride At Work" AFL-CIO Blog, October 29, 2019. https://aflcio.org/2019/10/29/lgbt-history-month-pathway-progress-founding-pride-work
This collection is organized into 11 series:
This collection was donated to University of Maryland Libraries by Jerame Davis of Pride at Work on July 22, 2015.
In the summer of 2017, this collection was inventoried by Ben Bradley. In 2019, Jennifer Eidson wrote a processing plan and in 2020, Eidson intellectually arranged the collection using the preliminary inventory. The expected collection series were expanded to eleven series during intellectual arrangement, and all other description was written for the finding aid in ArchivesSpace. Original box and folder numbers are retained until physical processing is possible when processing resources are available again after the pandemic. It is expected that the arrangement of the series, and the folders within, will be refined during physical processing. When the collection was inventoried, folders containing sensitive content were identified, and are now restricted for 75 years.
The box list for Series 1 is available online. To view the box list for Series 2-11, please consult the attached inventory.