SEIU 500 Issues Statement Concerning McLaurin’s Troubling “Circus Freak” Comment

From SEIU Local 500 Executive Director David Rodich:

“It has come to our attention that SEIU Local 500 Political Director Mark McLaurin made what we believe to be insensitive and inappropriate statements regarding members of the transgender community in a semipublic online forum recently.

We wish to make clear that Mr. McLaurin was not speaking on behalf of SEIU Local 500 or its members. We do not support any statements that are meant either implicitly or explicitly to denigrate any group of people. Such speech has no place in our union or in the labor movement. We deeply regret any pain caused to anyone in the transgender community by his comments.

We at SEIU Local 500 hold an unwavering belief in the rights and dignity of all workers regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or identity, age, sex or religion. We believe our strong advocacy on behalf of both marriage equality and legislation to provide protection against discrimination for transgender individuals is evidence of that commitment. Every day we work on the shop floor, in our communities and in the political arena to advance those rights and respect for all workers.

We have addressed our concerns with Mr. McLaurin and have been given his assurance that he is committed to the values supported by SEIU Local 500, and that he will strengthen his efforts to ensure that his expressions and characterizations regarding all members of our community reflect the sensitivity and support necessary to be a representative of SEIU Local 500.”