The Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) was formed in 1977 to be the voice for working professionals in America’s unions. DPE is a coalition of 23 national unions representing more than four million professional, technical, and other highly skilled workers. DPE’s affiliates represent teachers, physicians, engineers, computer scientists, psychologists, nurses, university professors, actors, technicians, and others in more than 200 professional occupations.
With the support of DPE, working professionals are organizing and using the collective bargaining process not only to win better wages and benefits, but also to improve the quality of the specialized services they provide. Through their unions, nurses have gained higher standards for patient care, teachers have created opportunities for better classroom instruction, and social workers have successfully limited caseloads at human services agencies to ensure better patient care.
DPE’s research and advocacy programs are helping organized labor respond to the growth in professional and technical employment, the emergence of new technologies, and changes in the professional and technical workforce. These changes are eliminating some jobs and drastically changing others. As a result, increasing numbers of professional and technical workers are seeking a meaningful voice in the workplace. DPE works with its affiliates to help workers achieve that voice, and to assure dignity and improved status for individuals and their professions. Most importantly, DPE provides its affiliates with a forum in which to discuss matters of common concern and coordinate efforts to address them.