WINDY CITY TIMES
||3 leading carmakers pass partner benefits
This article shared 1002 times since Wed Jun 14, 2000
The Human Rights Campaign hailed as unprecedented the announcement last week by the Big Three automakers that they plan to offer health coverage to the same-sex domestic partners of their employees.
"This is a landmark announcement," said Kim Mills, HRC's education director who oversees WorkNet, the organization's workplace project. "Never before have we seen virtually an entire industry, along with its leading union, announce domestic-partner benefits simultaneously. And the fact that these are three of the largest companies in America, with hundreds of thousands of employees, demonstrates that domestic-partner benefits are becoming a standard business practice."
The three automakers—Daimler Chrysler Corp., Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp.—issued a joint announcement, along with the United Auto Workers. The decision to offer the benefits came after a pledge to study the subject that was part of current United Auto Workers and other labor union contracts, according to the auto companies and the UAW. The expanded coverage will begin Aug. 1, with specific details left up to each company. To qualify for benefits, employees will have to meet certain criteria, which includes being in a committed relationship with a partner of the same-sex for no less than six months.
"By taking this step together, the Big Three have bolstered the traditional American value of equal pay for equal work, regardless of sexual orientation" Mills said. "Domestic-partner benefits are one of the strongest signals a company can give to demonstrate that it values its lesbian and gay employees."
More than 3,400 private and public employers provide these benefits to their employees. Since the beginning of this year, an average of nine employers have announced these benefits each week, according to HRC's WorkNet, which tracks such trends. Many of America's leading companies offer these benefits, including: IBM, Microsoft, Shell Oil, Walt Disney, Fannie Mae, Citigroup, Xerox, Time Warner and United and American Airlines. With this new announcement, at least 97 Fortune 500 companies provide these benefits or have announced that they intend to. This includes at least 12 that have announced the benefits since January. Additionally, more than half of the Fortune 500 include sexual orientation in their written non-discrimination policy. ( A complete list is available on HRC's website at www.hrc.org/worknet ) .
This article shared 1002 times since Wed Jun 14, 2000
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