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Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note


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Collection
Title:Gay and Lesbian Labor Activists Network records
Dates:1987-2001
Call Number:M86

Historical Note

The Gay and Lesbian Labor Activists Network is a Boston-based, non-profit, membership organization that was established in 1987. Beginning as a series of potluck meetings to meet other gay and lesbian union activists, the group's focus soon led to serious discussion about issues such as being out at work and in the union. It became evident that the needs of gay and lesbian workers were not being addressed, so the group decided to promote a pro-gay agenda within the labor movement. To this end, the Gay and Lesbian Labor Activists Network adopted the dual mission of struggling for lesbian and gay liberation and against homophobia in the labor movement, and educating the lesbian and gay community about the importance of unions, organized labor, and the struggles of working people.

Since its inception, the Gay and Lesbian Labor Activists Network has worked on a range of projects that reflect the mission of the organization. Members have been visible in the labor community, providing support to campaigns of mainstream unions, such as that of the local teamsters against Burke Distributing Company. Members also have spoken at union meetings and brought gay and lesbian issues to the forefront of the labor movement. Additionally, the Gay and Lesbian Labor Activists Network members have campaigned for domestic partner benefits, bargained for non-discrimination language in company policy, and worked on legislative and political campaigns.

Of particular interest are the local projects in which the Gay and Lesbian Labor Activists Network was involved, including the benefit for the United Farm Workers and Fenway Community Health Center in 1989. This event brought together the two sides of the Gay and Lesbian Labor Activists Network, the labor community through United Farm Workers and the lesbian and gay community through the Fenway Community Health Center. In 1990 the Gay and Lesbian Labor Activists Network was occupied with three major campaigns: the Committee to defeat the anti-gay referendum, negotiations with Fenway Community Health Center to build its new building with union labor, and the Walk for Life. In 1992, the Gay and Lesbian Labor Activists Network worked with other unions to organize a forum on HIV in the Healthcare Workplace. In 1994, it joined with several other organizations in a campaign to defeat Governor William Weld.

Among the Gay and Lesbian Labor Activists Network's greatest achievements is its role in forming a national organization for lesbian and gay labor rights. In 1993, the group joined with gay and lesbian union activists from California, New York, and Washington, D.C. to begin the process of establishing a national movement. At the Stonewall Conference in New York in June 1994, Pride At Work, the national lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender labor organization was established. Pride At Work became a constituency group of The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) in 1997, and he Gay and Lesbian Labor Activists Network is now considered a local Pride At Work organization.