For Immediate Release
June 7, 2001
CONTACT: Paula McKenzie
Scientists, Engineers and Technicians are Increasingly Joining Unions
Washington, DC – The latest publication from the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) Current Statistics on Scientists, Engineers and Technical Workers: 2000 Edition, offers new insight into this occupational category, as well as new findings such as Scientists, Engineers and Technicians are increasingly joining unions.
“In response to their changed status, scientists, engineers and technicians are increasingly turning to unions and the processes of collective bargaining to defend or recapture their professional autonomy and ensure participation in the decision-making that affects their work and their careers,” said Paul E. Almeida, DPE President. “Today, there are more union members in the professional specialties than in any other occupational category.”
Highlights of the analysis include the following facts:
- Minorities and women are better represented among technicians than among scientists and engineers.
- Scientists and engineers currently account for about 25% of all professionals, a percentage that will increase in the next few years as the technical professions are expected to grow at almost four times the rate projected for the entire labor force.
- Technicians and related support occupations are also rapidly expanding. Employment in these occupations is projected to increase by 1.1 million, or 22.2%, between 1998 and 2008.
- While the economy as a whole is expected to generate 14.4% more jobs over this decade, employment opportunities for scientists and engineers are anticipated to increase by about 51%, amounting to an additional 1.9 million jobs.
- The five occupations expected to grow most rapidly in the U.S. economy between 1998 and 2008 are all computer-related.
“The current revolution in technology is rapidly changing the way scientists, engineers and technicians work, their position in their employing organization, and their relationship to the public,” said Almeida. “While these technical employees once believed that their positions offered lifelong careers, the reality of today is quite different. Mergers, spin-offs, downsizing, rightsizing and privatization continually place them in harm’s way. Even those who have worked at the same desk doing the same job well for twenty years or more may experience employment with several different employers. For most of these employees, each change is accompanied by decreased benefits and increased insecurity.”
This publication presents a statistical portrait of scientists, engineers and technical workers, including current and projected employment; unemployment; earnings; union membership, and university and college education. This valuable reference work is intended for union leadership, staff and others who are working to better the condition of one of our nation’s most crucial human resources: highly educated and trained technical workers.
The Department for Professional Employees (DPE) represents 23 affiliated unions comprising more than four million white collar workers. In 1977, the AFL-CIO chartered DPE in recognition of the dramatic rise in professional and technical employees among union members.