By on November 11, 2015

Ford Oakville Assembly Plant. Photo courtesy wikipedia.org

The United Auto Workers in its latest proposed contract with Ford will protect workers from discrimination based on those workers’ gender identities or expressions, a potentially sweeping measure for a normally conservative industry.

According to the contract, the proposed agreement would protect any employee regardless of “race, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, union activity, religion, or … any employee with disabilities.”

The UAW’s contract with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles included for the first time language that covered gender identity for those workers.

“During this round of bargaining the union expressed the importance of the parties both maintaining and strengthening policies that ensure the equal treatment of all employees,” the union wrote.

Michigan and Kansas, where Ford builds many of its vehicles, do not have statewide laws that specifically protect workers from discrimination based on gender identity. In Illinois, where Ford builds the Taurus, workers are protected under statewide laws.

A spokeswoman from Ford did not comment directly on the proposed contract, but said that Ford “diversity inclusion goes into how we operate for a long time now.”

The proposed contract with Ford employees would cover roughly 52,000 workers. Similar deals with General Motors and FCA cover 52,600 and 40,000 workers at the automakers respectively.

The UAW is one of the largest unions in the U.S. and represents 390,000 workers.

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62 Comments on “UAW’s Contract Includes Protections For Gender Identity, Expression for Nearly 400,000 Workers...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    About time!

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    Wouldn’t it be more correct for Ford to say “diversity inclusion *has gone* into how we operate for a long time now”?

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    In other news, it won’t be long before Ford produces almost no cars (i.e. non-CUV, SUV or pickup) within the U.S.

    *Please credit me for hat tip, TTAC – thanks.

    http://www.motortrend.com/news/tentative-ford-uaw-contract-moves-most-car-production-outside-u-s/

    Viva la Ford!

  • avatar
    tonycd

    Good! Glad to see there isn’t yet one comment from some troglodyte lamenting an “assault on our values,” blah blah blah. Hard to see why anyone would give a damn what bearing your gender has on your ability to install a bearing, if you’ll pardon the pun.

  • avatar
    Timothy

    Fantastic news and bravo to UAW, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler for taking important steps to ensure their workers are not discriminated for who they are.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    But nothing in there about people who self-identify as conservatives.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Mostly because conservatives don’t have to fear for their lives just for being conservative.

      • 0 avatar
        Timothy

        Well said.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        This self identity nonsense is more about divide and conquer than self expression.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          How so?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I like several types of music, alternative, late 80s to late 90s punk/ska, jazz, most classical, and early to mid 90s gangsta rap. Because I like jazz which was created by blacks, or because I liked some of the gangsta rap which is almost exclusively written and performed by blacks, does that mean I can logically self identify as black? My answer to myself is you are who you are for better or worse and that includes NOT being black. When I was in high school there were groups of people who were clearly not black in any way, trying to act as if they were. I shook my head at this because just because I like an aspect of a culture, doesn’t mean I am or could ever be part of that culture. You are who you are for better or worse and pretending to be anything else is only fooling yourself.

            Paraphrasing Vonnegut in Mother Night: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be”. If you want to PRETEND to be something you clearly are not, as much as I personally don’t care, the only person you fool is yourself. Self loathing Marxists in control of greater society encourage this behavior to keep people divided.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            I’m…not sure what race or music had to do with it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Its people wanting to be part of a race or culture that they are not, so they pretend and “identify” with it.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            That implies that those in danger of discrimination or worse are just pretending for the fun of it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be”

            https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/1222244-mother-night

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Interesting to ponder:

            It seems kind to let each person self-define. Yet when only the individual can define himself, who will define those who cannot speak? Who will assert “the other’s’” right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? It becomes impossible for anyone to truly protect the humans who are unable to call themselves men, women, gender-neutral, gay, straight, nerds, goths, Wiccans, Muslims, Christians, or anything else. They become mere clusters of cells, mere animal flesh and blood, mere inconveniences to be exploited or eliminated—no more human than Christian women in the hands of ISIS, Jewish subjects in the hands of Nazi medical researchers, or Tutsi beneath Hutu machetes.

            http://thefederalist.com/2015/11/11/how-our-new-definition-of-freedom-causes-cruelty/?utm_source=The+Federalist+List&utm_campaign=6d7c906561-RSS_The_Federalist_Daily_Updates_w_Transom&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cfcb868ceb-6d7c906561-83773569

        • 0 avatar
          April S

          The whole self-identify concept is due to there is really no way to test for it. It just is.

          • 0 avatar
            John

            Well, with DNA ancestry analysis, there now is a “way to test for it” in certain instances. The self-identity concept fascinates me. I was particularly interested in the way the media celebrated Caitlyn Jenner, who identifies as female, while castigating Rachel Dolezal, who identifies as Negro.

          • 0 avatar
            April S

            As far as Ms. Dolezal is concerned in my opinion it could be either an extreme case of affinity to African American culture and/or just a simple case of finding a way to further her career.

            Being trans is a persistent and profound feeling of uneasiness with ones gender. it is a physical issue, not a societal construct.

            It would be as if you woke up with female genitalia and breasts. More than likely it would disgust you. You “knew” they were not to supposed to be there. It’s the same way with me except the incorrect parts (in my case male) have been there all my life.

            Unfortunately most of the general population think this is some sort of moral failing. We are perverts or crazy. They do not want to accept this is a physical condition. Like a heart murmur or a cleft palate.

            Trans folks did not choose this. The only choice we have is to do something about it.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        Yeah, the self-identifying are being slaughtered in US auto plants. About dmnd time they got a handle on it. Good on ya, UAW. You guys have always been on the cutting edge of societal evolution and taxpayer bailout funding. Keep those Demo politicians happy and the money will always be there.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          You’ll notice I wasn’t talking about auto plants in that context.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “Keep those Demo politicians happy and the money will always be there.”

          Well, if the majority of “Repubs” were as adamant about equal rights for gay people as they are for, say, gun rights, then I daresay more gay people would send them their money. Nothing says you can’t be gay and identify with conservative ideas like lower taxes, less government, de-regulation, etc. You’d probably be surprised how many gay people would go along with this kind of stuff. But when that party’s social policy agenda is hell bent on making gays ride the back of the bus, I’d say getting their money and votes is going to be one hell of an uphill struggle. No one’s going to vote or support a party that doesn’t support their right to be a first class citizen.

          So the money goes to “Dems” instead. And you know what? We’ll take it…and their votes, too.

          Lesson there for the GOP? Nawwww…couldn’t be…nothing to see here, move along.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            I won’t defend em Freedmike. Both parties suck. The Dems gave 10B to to the UAW. The Repubs have their own issues.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            @thelaine……Sir, though we occupy a different position on the political spectrum, I’ve always enjoyed , and respected your views/ comments.

            10 B to the UAW….? Yes sir that’s a whole lot of cash. That being said the 10B bailed out GM, all of GM including the salary , and non union employees . Rick W received a 20 mil buy out , along with a very generous pension. Many other high level management , arguably the same group , that managed to run a once thriving business into the ground, all come out of it relativity unscathed.

            The merits of the bailout has been debated here for the last 6 years. Some valid arguments been made from both sides.

            Someone as smart as you, knows full well, that while the UAW members certainly got a piece of that cash, but certainly not all of it

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Mikey,

            Thank you for the courtesy. There is no commenter on TTAC I respect or enjoy reading more. I think the amount is accurate, but if it was less or more it would not change the point. I think it was just a political payoff and not necessary even if people think the rest of the bailout was necessary. Regardless, I am very grateful that you pulled through the crisis and did not lose your retirement.

            http://www.heritage.org/research/testimony/2013/08/auto-bailout-or-uaw-bailout-taxpayer-losses-came-from-subsidizing-union-compensation

            As for the executives, they should have been bankrupted (or worse – I wanted to say “shot” but I know people can be literal), rather than paid.

            On other topics, I doubt we are as far apart as you may think. Live and let live is what I believe, and I despise bullies and the cruel. Even gratuitous discourtesy is irritating.

            The topic of this post just invites narcissistic and ostentatious holier-than-thou moral preening, so I like to at least present some counterpoints.

          • 0 avatar
            April S

            There are plenty of rich self-loathing gays willing to shell out the big bucks to the Republican party. They really think their money will insulate themselves from the discriminatory policies of the GOP.

            Anyway, they would be more than willing to sell out their less off gay brothers and sisters for a tax break.

            It’s really sad and pathetic.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “rich self-loathing gays”

            I must bark laughter at that.

            We’ve been good friends for years with several rich gays and I guarantee they’re anything but self-loathing.

            Of course they’re politically conservative because they now have income, property and status to protect. They rightly feel no more solidarity with poor people who happen to be gay than they do for any other poor people.

            All but one of them started life with no assets beyond minds and bodies willing to work. I think they’re awesome.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Conservative is a receding political view. But since it is a political view and one that can be changed without changing the physical body or core part of the identity it has no natural protection rights.

      Well…I should rephrase that: It has plenty of protections because most states prohibit employers for firing on political grounds (though it doesn’t stop them). The real advantage is that conservatives tend to amass in boardrooms so you’re unlikely to be fired from your fortune 500 company as long as you support welfare for the rich.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    That’s cool. Is it something that’s been a problem?

  • avatar

    Good! It’s really about good manners.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      If only.

      Our efforts began on February 12, 2015, when a group of approximately 30 students of color had a closed dialogue to share their experiences at CMC. Some of the words used by the students to describe how their identity affected their experience at CMC were: “misunderstood,” “intimidated,” “don’t belong,” “fragmented,” “excluded,” “daunting,” “conflicted,” “isolated,” and “scared.” Students reported feeling a strong pressure to assimilate and an inability to fully express their racial, ethnic, sexual, gender, and religious identity. Students of color mentioned having to resort to other campuses to obtain support and culturally relevant resources.

      Students have also reported feeling marginalized inside the classroom through microaggressions, racially insensitive professors, and curriculums that exclude narratives of color. Students have been asked by professors to represent their entire racial group—a problematic idea, as one person cannot fairly represent, and should not be able to represent, an entire group. Students have reported professors constantly mistaking them for another student of color in the class, which is deeply invalidating, as it shows students that their teachers characterize and distinguish them by their skin color and not by their personhood. Students expressed a desire to have more comprehensive sensitivity trainings for current faculty, as well as a desire to see more faculty that share their backgrounds.

      http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2015/11/the-yale-missouri-virus-is-spreading.php

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        This looks like a good, unbiased source of information.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          “Unbiased”

          It’s funny you think such a thing exists in this context.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            Well to be fair, it’s hard to take anything from powerline seriously. They’re down in the trolling territory of right-wing blogosphere types. I generally appreciate left-wing resources but I’m careful with their use as well. But if you want to discuss actual politics that happen with real live humans, you’re going to have to step back from those nuts and trend towards more focused news outlets like the NYT or AP. Knight-Ridder/McClatchy group are actually a decent feet-on-the-beat news organization that doesn’t get much press.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Lots of echo in that otherwise empty chamber.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Personhood is a new word to me, apparently it has something do with abortion?

        http://www.personhood.org/

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    “The United Auto Workers in its latest proposed contract with Ford will protect workers from discrimination based on those workers’ gender identities or expressions, a potentially sweeping measure for a normally conservative industry.”

    What, is this guy new?

    I’m sure it will be found somewhere in the great Farago era GM Death Watches, but the idea that the automative industry is “normally conservative” makes me think you must be using the cynic’s definition of the word “conservative”, and that you are a 90s kid, so that this is conserving what was radical 20 years ago.

    One of the arguments from the left for Mr. Obama to proceed with the GM bailout was that the automotive industry had the most progressive union contracts, had the most progressive GLBT protections, had all the checkboxes.

    If there’s an industry that has not been shy about adopting the Progressive causes, it is the domestic auto industry. That’s what’s so baffling as to why Debbie Wasserman Schultz was saying how progressive domestic auto was….while driving something like a Nissan Murano. I remember that picture on TTAC. It’s so baffling that people who claim to be politically conscious consumers buy from Honda and Hyundai, while it’s the old redneck hick flyover country backward Trump-loving Republicans of the Midwest and South who buy domestic.

    EDIT: I at least remembered the Debbie photo – https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/quote-of-the-day-busted-edition/ — oddly not using the TTAC Debbie tag. I’m sure that it was her or Rattner or one of them who made the case for the progressiveness of the bailout.
    EDIT2: Automatic => automotive.

  • avatar
    April S

    As someone who was sexually harassed/abused due to perceived sexual orientation/identity these workplace protections are a good thing.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Ill word this carefully. I can recall, a few co workers that one could say fit into, what today we call the LGBT community. Some were open, some were not. I would be lying if I said ” it was widely accepted”
    I can tell you this. All of us ,hourly, and salary, union and non union were made very much aware , that any harassment , jokes , Etc etc, would be subject to discipline , up to and including termination.

    I can think of few , very few, that didn’t take it seriously . There was , as promised , severe, consequences . That would be circa 1995 ….?

    So today it’s now part of contractual language.? That’s a good thing. . It’s a shame that it’s not a given.

    I believe that the auto workers, and manufactures , in 2015, have far more pressing issues to deal with.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Should help bring about a reduction in maternity leave that can really mess up a team.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Hurray for progress.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I’m sure than many of here , can recall the the infamous group of Jeep workers knocking back a few beers , and burning a couple of fatties , while on thier lunch break ???As I recall it was a pretty diverse group, certainly some visible minority’s . With 36 + years on the plant floor,I would bet my pension, that a couple of those guys, were members of a “less” visible minority.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Even the fender protectors are getting into the act.

  • avatar
    TW5

    I’ve never understood why some people need permission to express themselves and exercise their freedom. Strange quirk that surely leaves people feeling isolated and ostracized.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Religious, nationalist, wartime-patriotic, environmentalist, integrationist, now gender-liberationist; all public messaging in an advanced society uses the political argot of its times.

    Just another case of “You gotta say this sh1t.”

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      I’m confused by what you mean in this case. Do you mean you have to say socially progressive things to be elected or to strive in society even when you don’t mean it?

      It’s not hard to take a ‘live and let live’ ethos and while there are times it gets too sensitive pretty much nobody to the right-side of the spectrum in the US has used the overly sensitive moments to find a middle ground but instead used it as a justification to repeal civil liberties. You would actually find a number of allies on the left if you just stopped trying to say that all reach is overreach. I’m careful about what should and shouldn’t be policed but we haven’t even come close to institutional overreach on social progression issues.

  • avatar

    I would also add AI and Androids to this list. They are coming and I am against humans in any shape or form discriminating of those who identify their origin or gender as AI programs or Androids.


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