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LGBTQ+ Labor Union Offices Destroyed in D.C. Riots

pride at work

The headquarters of several labor union organizations may have been set ablaze, but its president vows their work toward progress will not be diminished. 

Peaceful protestors were demonstrating across the country over the weekend following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was brutally murdered by a white police officer.

As they were peacefully protesting, an unrelated group of rioters took to the streets and smashed windows, scrawled graffiti, and set fire to vehicles and buildings along their path.

One of those buildings was the AFL-CIO building in Washington, D.C., the largest federation of labor unions in the United States that also houses the LGBTQ+ organization, Pride at Work, a nonprofit representing queer people and their allies with support from the labor movement.

The formation of Pride at Work began in 1994, the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riot. Prior to 1969, the labor movement mostly ignored issues that impacted LGBTQ+ workers. Groups like the Lesbian and Gay Labor Alliance and the Lesbian (San Francisco) and the Gay Labor Network (New York) eventually became consolidated into a larger LGBTQ+ workers organization that became Pride at Work.

The organization was recognized by AFL-CIO as a constituency group in 1997. As stated on the AFL-CIO website, today the organization continues to "educate the labor movement and wider culture about the importance of unions for LGBTQ workers and the value those workers provide employers."

The organization has been instrumental in advancing LGBTQ+ equality in the workplace and beyond. Most recently, the AFL-CIO supported the 2012 legal case that overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, which made same-sex marriage legal nationwide.

The president of AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, took to Twitter after news of the building's destruction hit, clarifying that the great work the labor movement does will not be diminished.

"Attacks like the one on the AFL-CIO headquarters are senseless, disgraceful and only play into the hands of those who have oppressed workers of color for generations and detract from the peaceful, passionate protesters who are rightly bringing issues of racism to the forefront," president of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, tweeted this morning.

"But in the end, the labor movement is not a building. We are a living collection of working people who will never stop fighting for economic, social and racial justice," he continued. "We are united unequivocally against the forces of hate who seek to divide this nation for their own personal and political gain at our expense."

Trumka added, "We will clean up the glass, sweep away the ashes and keep doing our part to bring a better day out of this hour of darkness and despair. Today and always, the important work of the @AFLCIO continues unabated."

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