Sunday, June 5
by Sue on Sun 05 Jun 2011 11:53 AM EDT
Target is holding a shareholder meeting here in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, June 8, 2011. This is the first such meeting since the corporation donated $150,000 to support an anti-gay candidate in their election bid.
There was immediate backlash. It is a terrible contradiction to tell us you want our shopping dollars and support us, then try to elect someone who denies us our basic equal rights. More on the donation specifics here. These donations are tricky, but understand that this was from the actual company. Executives within the company also made personal donations (including one from the CEO to Michelle Bachmann) which are troubling, but there's a little more gray when it comes to choices made by employees. The $150,000 donation came from the profits WE generate by shopping at the store, not the salaries of the employees.
Groups have united to plan a protest at the meeting on Wednesday, 12 PM at the new store site in East Liberty (you can't miss it).
Participating organizations include: Keystone Progress, Common Cause, Action United, Delta Foundation, We Are One Pennsylvania.
So why does this matter? Here's the perspective from Common Cause
The LGBTQ community should take heed of this. It is not a coincidence that they chose to support Tom Emmer, a State Rep running for Governor of Minnesota. It was a calculated decision that probably had to do with business, but conveniently overlooked Emmer's strong stance against marriage equality, LGBTQ parentings, and his affiliation with an "incendiary" Christian group. This man was much more Darryl Metcalfe than Tom Corbett if I can make so bold a continuum.
If you work in the East End or can get away for a bit mid-day, please make an effort to head to East Liberty and send a message. Let them know you are paying attention. We can't stop corporations from making huge financial donations to the 2012 elections. Do you want Target funding anti-equality candidates in Western Pennsylvania?
My post on personal choices around boycotting Target and other companies ... another time. It is constructive to know we can participate without the interminable inner struggle about where we spend our dollars. So let's take advantage of this opportunity, queer Pittsburgh, and send a message. We are paying attention.
Wednesday, June 1
by Sue on Wed 01 Jun 2011 03:11 PM EDT
I'm a little behind the curve, but kudos to Easton, Pennsylvania for doing what Allegheny County leadership won't by extending domestic partner benefits to your employees. Yes, I mention Allegheny County because I was genuinely shocked to read that only 5 municipalities across Pennsylvania have addressed this equal rights issue, especially given how many private sector employers offer these as a matter of routine. Allegheny County is woefully behind the ball with regard to the economic development indicator.
We should note that the Commonwealth provides domestic partner benefits. Truth be told, this is only half the battle. If the climate isn't LGBTQ-friendly in the workplace, people aren't going to out themselves to access these benefits. Another somewhat shocking fact is that not every public employee union affiliated with the City of Pittsburgh has added domestic partner benefits to their contracts. More than fifteen years after the City first offered them. What the heck is going on in those labor halls that they either don't have LGBTQ members OR those who are there aren't being taken care of? That's a black mark on labor.
It is imperative that we continue to work for employees paid with our tax dollars to access health insurance and other benefits for their families. That's a given in my book. However, we must also continue to push for LGBTQ-friendly ordinances -- and the statewide ordinance -- to provide workplace protections. The two go hand in hand.
I don't have a link, so I'll publish the press release in its entirety courtesy of the PA Diversity Network. One thing I did find on their website is a running list of LGBTQ municipal legislation. That's worth a read.