A group of LGBT labor activists is launching a nationwide campaign to push unions to bargain for transgender health benefits for their members. Pride At Work, in collaboration with the Transgender Law Center, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the SEIU Lavender Caucus, plans to ask labor groups, including local labor councils and state labor federations, to pledge to include trans benefits in future contract negotiations. The effort is historic -- and badly needed: Gabriel Haaland, co-chair of Pride At Work's Transgender Caucus, estimated that fewer than 10 percent of all union contracts mandate health insurance benefits for transgender people. The organizing effort will kick off in March with actions and educational programs in at least 10 cities. Some unions already recognize the importance of the issue -- SEIU, for example, endorsed the idea of including trans benefits at a recent national convention. And transgender employees of the 2.1 million-member union are covered.
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