Controversy erupted after General Motors raised a flag atop its Fort Wayne, Indiana truck factory in honor of Pride Month. General Motors, however, stood by its action and said that the flag will remain until Saturday evening – as planned. The controversy backfired for anti-gay critics by offering the company sympathetic attention from powerful friends. The United Auto Workers (UAW) union released a statement in support of General Motors’ display of the Pride flag: “The UAW opposes all discrimination and believes there is a definite connection between civil, human and workers’ rights.” Controversies such as these help to open the eyes of those who have not yet come out in support of LGBT rights in the workplace. General Motors and the UAW are continuing the necessary discourse between LGBT rights and workers’ rights, and it is revealing to American workers that these forms of human rights are fundamentally intertwined in the fight for social justice.
Read below for an excerpt from the WSJ.com story:
A rainbow-colored piece of cloth flapping atop a Fort Wayne, Ind. truck factory is drawing attention to General Motors Co.
A GM plant there raised the flag on Sunday in honor of gay pride month. The plant’s manager rolled out the banner at the request of an employee group representing gay workers, the company said.
It’s GM’s latest gay-friendly display. Earlier this month it transformed the LED-display atop its Detroit headquarters into a rainbow in honor of the city’s annual gay pride celebration. GM also published a gay-themed ad for its Chevy Volt battery powered car, featuring the car “coming out” to its more traditional parents. “So, whatever revs your engine, we support you 100%” said the ad, which ran in a Michigan newspaper aimed at the gay community.
In Fort Wayne, not everyone is thrilled with the display.
Some employees have complained. A columnist for the local newspaper, The News Sentinel, criticized GM’s decision in a column headlined: “Is GM ‘Gay Motors’ now?”
“Whether that represents a gesture of tolerance and respect or a slap in the face to traditionally minded employees is a matter of considerable debate,” columnist Kevin Leininger wrote.
It was a big enough flap to get the attention of the United Auto Workers union, which represents the factory. “The UAW opposes all discrimination and believes there is a definite connection between civil, human and workers’ rights,” the union said in a statement supporting the display of the flag. . . .