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Pride At Work Chicago group launches

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Pride At Work has launched in Chicago, getting together as a coalition of LGBTQ members in labor and allies to build power in and out of the workplace. They held their third meeting July 30 at the Chicago Teachers Union.

As the national Pride At Work states on their website,, the group "is a nonprofit organization and an officially recognized constituency group of the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations). We organize mutual support between the organized Labor Movement and the LGBT Community for social and economic justice. In addition to national Pride at Work, more than 20 Chapters organize at the state and local level around the country."

At the July 30 meeting, more than a dozen people discussed next steps for the group, and they heard presentations about efforts to pass a marriage equality bill in Illinois, including the Oct. 22 March on Springfield.

There have been Pride At Work members and outreach in Chicago in past years, including through the Chicagoland Pride At Work group, but this is a new group.

Started in November 2000, Chicagoland PAW applied for a chapter charter in June 2001, according to founder Mel Ferrand. The founding members represented a broad spectrum of LGBTQ labor from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC), AFSCME, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), AFM and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The chapter continued through 2004 when it disbanded. The chapter met regularly in that time and one month received a bomb threat via telephone. The police responded immediately and no suspects were ever identified.

For information on Pride At Work Chicago, email .

Photo by Tracy Baim

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