New York, NY – Effective January 1st, 2018, all eligible UNITE HERE workers with benefits through UNITE HERE HEALTH now have inclusive transgender health benefits, including coverage of gender confirmation surgery, hormone therapy, counseling services, and more. These benefits have already been available to all UNITE HERE union staff, and we are proud to announce that all UNITE HERE workers eligible through UNITE HERE HEALTH will now have access.
UNITE HERE has long been a leader in the American labor movement for securing equal protections for LGBTQ union members at work – protections that have existed even when no state or federal laws required them. The decision to provide Transgender Health Coverage was made by both union and employer trustees who govern the union’s health fund – UNITE HERE HEALTH.
“For thirty years, UNITE HERE has pioneered cutting-edge protections for LGBTQ members at work, including non-discrimination protections and a decades long commitment to providing life-saving LGBTQ healthcare,” said D. Taylor, International President of UNITE HERE. “Beginning with our union’s trailblazing work in the 1980s to provide HIV/AIDS healthcare for workers, UNITE HERE has a legacy of fighting for and winning the lifesaving healthcare our LBGTQ workers rely on. Providing inclusive coverage of gender affirming procedures along with transition counseling will transform the lives of transgender UNITE HERE workers and staff. UNITE HERE is proud to continue delivering healthcare and benefit victories that change lives for workers and their families.”
Over 200,000 UNITE HERE members have contracts that prohibit their employer from discriminating based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. UNITE HERE has provided healthcare for HIV/AIDS coverage decades ago. The union considers the ability to provide broad transgender health benefits to workers to be a civil rights victory for all working-class people.