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A global look at labor unions and sexual minorities

Laboring for Rights

Unions and Sexual Diversity Across Nations

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edited by Gerald Hunt

How do unions around the world respond to issues raised by sexual minorities? Much has been written on labor's response to issues raised by women and racial minorities, but there has been little work done on labor's engagement with gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered. The original essays in this collection attempt to fill that void by bringing together a group of experts who examine labor's response to such issues as benefits for same-sex partners, anti-discrimination language in collective agreements, and education. Speaking from a variety of racial backgrounds, sexual orientations, and political views, the contributors bring their unique personal perspectives and scholarly approaches to this groundbreaking book.

The chapters included in Laboring for Rights give a global vision to the increasingly important subject of equity in the workplace. They offer a much needed look at labor's involvement with current international workplace conditions from such diverse countries as the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, Britain, France, the Netherlands, and South Africa, as well as parts of the South Pacific. Some of these countries have strong and progressive labor unions; some, like the U.S., have relatively weak labor organizations. But whatever the context, as these articles demonstrate, there seems to be a growing and in some instances prospering gay/lesbian labor alliance in many parts of the world.

Laboring for Rights is a pioneering text in an important new area of labor study. It will engage readers interested in equality in the workplace, labor and organizational studies, gay and lesbian activism, and international, comparative studies.

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Excerpt

Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 (pdf).

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Reviews

"For the majority of industrial relations academics whose training and research keep us focused on the classical problems of labour-management relations, Laboring for Rights, edited by Gerald Hunt, offers a decided, and much-needed, shift in perspective. This book provides readers with information, much of which will be unknown to most readers, about the extent of 'bridge-building' between the lesbian/gay and union movements in a wide variety of countries. It is a first attempt to document what organized labour is doing in relation to lesbian/gay issues.... Laboring for Rights is an important and useful book because it broadens the common understanding about what unions do and why."
Industrial Relations

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Contents

Acknowledgments
1. What Can be Done? Sexual Diversity and Labor Unions in Perspective – Gerald Hunt
2. No Longer Outsiders: Labor's Response to Sexual Diversity in Canada – Gerald Hunt
3. Fighting It Out in Canadian Courts – Cynthia Petersen
4. A Short History of Gay and Lesbian Labor Activism in the United States – Christian Arthur Bain
5. Lesbian and Gay Caucuses in the United States Labor Movement – Miriam Frank
6. Domestic Partner Health Benefits: The Corporate Model vs. the Union Model – Desma Holcomb
7. The Limits to Union: Labor, Gays and Lesbians, and Marriage in Hawaii – Jonathan Goldberg-Hiller
8. Silence at Work: Trade Unions, Gender, and Sexual Diversity in the South Pacific – Jacqueline Leckie
9. Sexual Identity and the Australian Labor Movement in Historical Perspective – Shane Ostenfeld
10. At a Turning Point: Organized Labor, Sexual Diversity, and the New South Africa – Mazibuko K. Jara, Naomi Webster, and Gerald Hunt
11. On the Fringes of the New Europe: Sexual Diversity Activism and the Labor Movement – David Rayside
12. Labor Unions and Sexual Diversity in Germany – Ron Holzhacker
13. British Trade Unions and Sexual Diversity: Survey Evidence Since the 1980s – Phil Greasley
14. Moving Forward in UNISON: Lesbian and Gay Self-Organization in Action – Fiona Colan
15. Laboring for Rights in Global Perspective – Gerald Hunt
About the Contributors

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About the Author(s)

Gerald Hunt is an Associate Professor of Industrial Relations and Organizational Behavior in the School of Business and Economics at Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario, Canada.

Subject Categories

Sexuality Studies/Sexual Identity
Labor Studies and Work
Sociology


In the series

Queer Politics, Queer Theories, edited by Craig Rimmerman.

The last ten years have seen the growth of rich research in the politics of sexuality. Queer Politics, Queer Theories, edited by Craig Rimmerman, aims at developing this research both within and across disciplines. The series will focus on politics in the broadest sense: not only state- and government-oriented studies, but also community politics and the internal politics of new social movements. Such work may originate in political science, sociology, economics, American studies, philosophy, law, history, or anthropology. The series will be defined not by particular academic disciplines but by the questions raised in it. The keys are a concern for the play of power and meaning in discussions of sexuality, and/or a reading of the role of sexuality and sexual identities in conceptions of social and political studies or in our common life.

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