Public Employee Press
Out, proud and fighting for the union
By MIKE LEE
Gay Pride Month kicked off on June 1, when the union’s Lesbian & Gay Issues Committee held its annual ribbon-cutting event at union headquarters in Manhattan.
The LAGIC co-chairs, Valentin Colon, president of New York Public Library Guild Local 1930 and Yolanda Pumarejo, SSEU Local 371 executive vice president, welcomed the crowd, while Local 154 President Juan Fernandez, Deborah Pitts, DC 37 secretary and president of 1113, Local 924 President Kyle Simmons and other union leaders and members were part of the celebration.
Keynote speaker Barbara Edmonds, DC 37’s director of field operations, told the gathering, “As we celebrate with our sisters and brothers in the LGBTQ+ community, we must keep in mind that all stand together as one against the ongoing storm we face, whether it be attacks on unions, on immigrants and to protect the rights and benefits that we have fought for.”
LAGIC, founded in 1989, has been on the forefront advocating equality for the LGBTQ+ community, and its members have been fierce fighters in the union.
The organization’s influence was reflected in the decisive role DC 37 played in the Municipal Labor Committee negotiations with the city to extend health benefits to domestic partners.
LAGIC has successfully fought for the legalization of same-sex marriages and greater acceptance of LGBTQ+ people inside and outside the union movement.
A large contingent of DC 37 members participated in the both Queens Gay Pride on June 2 and later at the Gay Pride March in Manhattan on June 24.