The Department for Professional Employees (DPE) is a coalition of 23 national unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO which represent over four million highly skilled professional and technical workers. DPE unions include professionals in over three hundred occupations in health care and education; science, engineering and technology; journalism, entertainment and the arts; public administration; and law enforcement. The DPE is the largest association of professional and technical workers in the U.S.
The mission of the DPE is to assist its affiliated unions to achieve their objectives on behalf of professional and technical workers. It will do so by:
- Offering a forum for discussion, collaboration, and action;
- Promoting the efforts of professional and technical workers to organize, bargain collectively, and provide mutual support;
- Showing the high value of union membership to professional and technical workers and to the public;
- Building alliances with professional associations and societies promoting the interests of professional and technical workers;
- Fostering diversity in the professional and technical workforce; and
- Advancing public policies strengthening the security, well-being and status of professional and technical workers.
DPE is one of six constitutional “trades” departments that are part of the AFL-CIO structure. It was chartered by the Federation in 1977 in recognition of the remarkable increase in professional and technical employees among union members. Since then, that growth has accelerated as “the world of work” in the United States moves even more dramatically from blue to white collar.
As more professionals seek union representation, the work of the DPE is essential to professional and technical workers as well as to the vitality, diversification, and future of the American labor movement.