NGLTF Executive Director Calls For Dialogue With Exxon Mobil Corp.
Oil company's decision to discriminate against domestic partners will not stand, Lobel warns. 'Equality begins at home — and in the workplace,' she says
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
The decision by Exxon Mobil Corp. to deny domestic partner benefits to newly hired employees should serve as a wake-up call to every consumer and every worker concerned about the democratic notion of workplace equity, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said Tuesday.
Exxon Mobil officials said Monday that the company will only extend domestic partner benefits to both same-sex and opposite-sex former Mobil employees who were receiving benefits before the two companies merged. Workers who were with Exxon before the merger will continue to be ineligible to receive the benefits, as will newly hired workers by Exxon Mobil.
"The movement for domestic partnership benefits is rooted in the democratic notion of equal pay for equal work," said NGLTF Executive Director Kerry Lobel, who on Tuesday called on Exxon Mobil officials to meet with representatives of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered movement to discuss the new policy. "Benefits comprise approximately 40 percent of a worker's compensation. This means that Exxon Mobile's decision to withhold domestic partner benefits puts the oil giant squarely at odds with the notion of economic justice in the workplace. Consumers should remember this injustice when they choose where to spend their hard-earned dollars. Equality begins at home — and in the workplace."
Lobel noted that other oil companies‹Amoco, Chevron and Shell‹offer domestic partner benefits. Chevron was a recent sponsor of Creating Change, the annual training and skills-building conference sponsored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Lobel predicted that the decision by Exxon Mobil will hurt the company in two ways. First, consumers who support workplace equity may decide to take their business elsewhere. Second, current and potential employees may decide to join companies that offer better benefits.
"There are more than 4.5 million unmarried couples living together in the United States," Lobel said. "One-third of these are same-sex couples, but the rest are not. These families have chosen to define their own family structures for themselves. More and more companies every day are recognizing our society's changing family structures by altering their benefits packages to meet the needs of a changing workforce. Exxon-Mobil has turned back the clock and slapped 4.5 million Americans and its more than 100,000 employees in the face‹and in the pocketbook."
The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movementís premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.
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