AASP Campaigns Move Forward

 

 
bd10267_1.gif (311 bytes) Workplace Campaign

The first stage of our Singles-Friendly Workplace Campaign is nearing completion.

Several months ago, we sent a letter and a packet of information to the Human Resource Director of each of the Fortune 500 companies. We asked them to participate in the first national survey on the status of unmarried workers.

When only a few responses trickled in by the October 15 deadline, we sent another letter to these companies to let them know that we really wanted their input. A few more companies responded.

Some of the employers who completed the surveys include: Kellog, First Union, Auto Zone, Georgia Pacific, Kinder Morgan, PPL, Cendant, Nationwide, AFLAC, Fifth Third Bancorp, Praxour, Xerox, and Delta Airlines.

State Farm declined to participate, stating that: "As we review benefits and policies, we do consider reaction and impact on our single employees. We have not, to date, established any formal programs or processes for this group, however. Therefore, while we appreciate the invitation, we will not be participating in your survey."

Corporate giant AT&T called us to say that they lacked the resources to answer the seven questions posed in the survey.

The formal results will be tabulated in January and will be published on our website. A summary also will appear in the next quarterly newsletter.

We plan to send a similar survey to several hundred unions in February. Those results will be published on our website this summer.

Government studies show that about 40 percent of the nation’s full-time work force are single or unmarried. Federal law does not prohibit marital status discrimination in employment decisions and such legal protections are unavailable in most states.

Once the information gathering phase of our workplace campaign is finished, we plan to develop strategies to improve the way unmarried workers are treated by their employers.

We are pleased that some employers who responded to our survey indicated they would be willing to share information about AASP with their employees.

In the next few months, we plan to take them up on this generous offer by supplying posters for employee bulletin boards and an article to publish in company newsletters.

bd10267_1.gif (311 bytes) Stop the Stigma Campaign

AASP has enlisted the help of the ACLU to stop the stigmatization of children born to unmarried parents. At the request of AASP, the following letter was sent by the President of the ACLU of Southern California to the American Judges Association, National Association of Women Judges, and Council of Chief Judges of Courts of Appeal.

"The board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California recently endorsed the"Stop the Stigma Campaign of the American Association for Single People (AASP).

"The purpose of this campaign is to call to the attention of judges the harmful effects of stigmatizing language sometimes used in their written opinions and orally from the bench when they refer to children born to unmarried parents.

"Each year about 33 percent of births in the United States involve children born to unmarried parents. Also, a large segment of the adult population were born at a time when their parents were not married.

"The research of AASP has shown that a majority of states continue to stigmatize such children. In 17 states there are statutes on the books which refer to children born outside of wedlock as ‘bastards’ or ‘illegitimate.’ Some appellate judges in 37 states continue to refer to these children as ‘illegitimate’ rather than as ‘children born to unmarried parents.’

"The ACLU of Southern California agrees with the AASP that it is time to stop the name calling. Statutes are the embodiment of the collective will of the people. Judges pledge to be fair and impartial. We think you would agree that it is not fair to label children in such a derogatory manner.

"While legislators in some states may also play a role by revising statutes which use offensive language, in a majority of states the problem is largely one created by judges. AASP’s brochure about the Stop the Stigma Campaign demonstrates this point.

"AASP has drafted a sample resolution which your association may wish to consider adopting. A copy of that resolution is enclosed for your review.

"I look forward to learning of any action which your organization takes with respect to this issue. Thank you very much for taking the time to consider this important matter."

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