Once again, Washington’s state legislature has declined to extend their employment rights law to the categories of sexual orientation and sexual identity. This is apparently a legislative ritual – every year the bill is introduced, and every year it’s defeated. This time, the AFL-CIO blames Microsoft:
Last month, Microsoft Corporation secretly revoked its support for the Washington State non-discrimination bill. This Senate bill, H.B. 1515, would have barred discrimination on based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Defeated by one vote in the state Senate on April 21st, undoubtedly, Microsoft’s actions doomed the bill. Redmond, Washington based state senator Bill Finkbeiner voted against the bill; Microsoft is headquartered in Redmond. Pandering to anti-gay sentiment and the corporate bottom line, Microsoft betrayed their workers and worldwide customers.
Note that this is the official statement of “Pride at Work” an AFL-CIO affiliate. Note also the multiple factual errors: “HB” means House Bill, not Senate Bill; the bill’s ancestors have been defeated for several years running, with and without Microsoft support; Microsoft never supported this year’s bill, so there was nothing to withdraw; support and opposition are public, so there’s no such thing as “secretly withdrawing support”; the Gates lobbying firm testified in support of the bill.
The real beef is Microsoft support for free trade:
Also last month, Microsoft began lobbying for CAFTA – an extension of the North American Free Trade Agreement to six countries in Central America. Like NAFTA, CAFTA would eliminate thousands of US jobs. “The actions of Microsoft are further eroding the rights of its employees in the name of increased profit,” said Marcus Courtney, president of WashTech/CWA Local 37083. WashTech has been engaged in a multi-year campaign to organize workers at Microsoft.
…and this whole gay rights thing is a smokescreen.
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