OUTreach Press Release in Response to Walmart’s CEI Score from HRC

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For Immediate Release: November 19, 2015

Contact: Amy Gray,



Group calls for changes to Walmart’s high Corporate Equality Index score with the HRC in light of alleged discrimination cases involving LGBTQ workers

(Washington, D.C.) – UFCW OUTreach, the LGBTQ constituency group for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), along with the Making Change at Walmart campaign, released the following statement in response to Walmart’s high Corporate Equality Index score from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Walmart recently received a near perfect score of 90 out of 100 for its Corporate Equality Index score from the HRC. The company received this accolade despite two discrimination suits filed by Walmart workers in the past few months and numerous stories of alleged harassment and discrimination from LGBTQ Walmart workers.

The two suits include the most recent one from Samantha Azzarano, who alleges that she was harassed and then fired from a New Jersey Walmart for being transgender. The other discrimination suit was filed by Jacqueline Cote in Massachusetts, who alleges that she was repeatedly denied when she tried to add her same-sex spouse to her Walmart health insurance.

“It’s disappointing and quite frankly irresponsible that once again HRC has issued Walmart a 90 rating in the Corporate Equality Index. This year alone, Walmart has had to defend itself in two alleged discrimination cases involving LGBTQ workers. How can HRC continue to justify a high rating for a company with this kind of record? The LGBTQ community deserves to know the full truth about Walmart and why they should spend their dollars elsewhere,” said Michele Kessler, President of UFCW OUTreach.

Throughout the year, union members and LGBTQ  advocates have been telling HRC that “enough is enough,” when it comes to the HRC not holding Walmart accountable for all of the accounts of alleged discrimination and harassment experienced by that LGBTQ Walmart workers and their families.

UFCW OUTreach held meetings with HRC staffers in efforts for the organization to create a better and more comprehensive system when it comes to the Corporate Equality Index and stressed the importance of valuing companies with strong union practices. UFCW OUTreach also sent a letter to Chad Griffin, President of the HRC, calling for the organization to suspend Walmart’s high rating in light of Walmart’s stances on citywide legislation in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and statewide legislation in Arkansas, that caused serious setbacks in protections for LGBTQ people in the state.

The Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, where Walmart is both a member and has a representative on the Board of Directors, voted unanimously, to support the repeal of a citywide nondiscrimination ordinance that included protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In addition, Walmart refused to speak out against Arkansas Senate Bill 202 (SB 202), a statewide law which went into effect earlier this year that prevents any jurisdiction from passing an ordinance to ban discrimination.

“Together, we are standing up to the HRC and calling on them to hold Walmart responsible for what is happening to these LGBTQ workers. We will not stop until Walmart changes for the better, and organizations like HRC serve as true allies to LGBTQ workers and discontinue its support for companies that fail in promoting LGBTQ workers’ rights,” said Kessler.

UFCW President Perrone: “We Will End LGBTQ Discrimination in the Workplace”

UFCW Vows to Fight for LGBTQ Rights at Work and Advocate for Comprehensive Healthcare for Transgendered Workers
image via Maria Elena Durazo

image via Maria Elena Durazo

ORLANDO — Today, Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), the largest private sector union in the nation, addressed LGBTQ union members at the AFL-CIO Pride at Work conference in Orlando, Fla. The UFCW was the first labor union to endorse the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), legislation that would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The UFCW also implemented a policy of including gender reassignment surgery as part of a comprehensive Health and Welfare plan for union employees:

“Even though we are celebrating marriage equality this summer, too many LGBTQ workers still endure discrimination in workplaces that are far from equal. Today, in 29 states, it is still legal to fire a worker on the basis of their sexual orientation. In 33 states, a worker can be fired for being transgendered.
“Right now, the only way for these workers to gain the protection at work that we all deserve is through a union contract.
“In this spirit, I am proud to say that as part of our long commitment to equality for all workers, the UFCW is changing our Health and Welfare plan to include gender reassignment surgery. While this is a change that should have been made long ago, it is a change that I am proud of.
“The UFCW is committed to putting an end to discrimination in the workplace. We will stand up, speak out and fight for what is right when companies disregard the value of hard-working men and women, based on whom they may love or who they are.”
We are 1.3 million families standing together to build an economy that every hard-working family deserves.

UFCW President Perrone Statement on the Equality Act

“No one should be fired or discriminated against because of who they are or love.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement in pridesupport of the introduction of the Equality Act.

“Workers across America go to work every day in fear that they will be fired for simply being who they are. From state to state, LGBTQ workers do not have the adequate protections from being discriminated against or from losing their jobs because of who they love or because of their gender identity or expression.

“The Equality Act takes meaningful steps towards ensuring better protections for LGBTQ workers and families. The fact that so many workers continue to face discrimination at their workplace, often with little recourse, demonstrates that we must continue working towards building the better America each and every one of us deserves.

“Currently union contracts are often the only protection LGBTQ workers and their families have to combat discrimination. Our UFCW family strongly supports full equality for LGBTQ people both at home and on the job. We support the basic right for everyone to have employment opportunities and to keep their job regardless sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression.

“Our legislators should follow the path that labor has set for LGBTQ equality and protections. For the better America we all believe in, I urge Congress to pass the Equality Act.”


Join the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) online at

We are 1.3 million families standing together to build an economy that every hard-working family deserves.     @UFCW