Posted February 17, 2017
Motivated by Higher Salaries and Success, Private Sector Professionals Are Attracted to a Union that Rewards Performance
Private, for-profit sector professionals are unique in their motivation to earn higher salaries and excel at their jobs, as well as their desire to have a union contract that rewards individual performance.
The Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE), in its analysis of the attitudes of private, for-profit professionals, found that these professionals value higher salaries and career advancement as the most important aspects of their job. They want a union that will be effective at improving salaries, but also one that preserves their ability to be rewarded based on merit.
The analysis is based on a DPE-sponsored survey of 1,004 professional employees conducted in October 2016. The survey included 599 private, for-profit sector professionals. These professionals tend to be more white, male, and conservative. Architecture, engineering, business, finance, computer, and mathematical science occupations were common among these professionals, with 42 percent being employed in one of these fields. For salaries, 33 percent earned more than $100,000 per year.
Key findings include:
- 59% of for-profit sector professionals identified receiving better salaries and annual raises as the most convincing reason to have a union
- Just over half (51%) of for-profit sector professionals would support a proposal to have a union in their workplace
- 51% of for-profit sector professionals said a serious problem in their job was management puts the financial bottom line ahead of quality of service
- Only 31% of these professionals knew a great deal or fair amount about unions
These findings present both challenges and opportunities for those organizing private, for-profit sector professionals. Due to for-profit professionals’ lack of exposure to information about unions, there is room to educate them on the benefits of union representation. Organizers should highlight how a union can help for-profit professionals negotiate for better wages and benefits as well as stand up to management. Additionally, sharing other union contracts that reward professionals based on performance would help garner support for a union at private, for-profit workplaces. Communicating a pro-union message, demonstrating union effectiveness, and busting union myths should be part of the strategy to reach private, for-profit sector professionals.
Professionals in the private, for-profit sector interested in learning more about joining a union can find out more here.
Full analysis of private, for-profit sector employees’ attitudes towards unions by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Those interested in a preview of DPE’s analysis of private, for-profit sector can view it here.
Posted February 16, 2017
Join DPE in Supporting the Arts
DPE understands the cultural and economic benefits of the arts and is proud to have affiliates that represent professionals working in the arts, entertainment, and media industries. While it may be easy to conjure up images of glamorous Hollywood award shows, the reality is that most people working in the arts are middle-class Americans working to provide for their families. Arts professionals, from performers to stagehands, can be found in large cities and small towns all across the United States.
DPE is concerned by reports in The Hill last month that the Trump administration may be looking at defunding the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and eliminating public funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Defunding, privatizing, or otherwise eliminating the NEA, NEH, or CPB will only hurt everyday people while having nearly no impact on the federal budget. The Washington Post reports that the institutions’ combined funding equated to 0.02 percent of federal spending in 2016.
NEA-backed activities and grants provide support for the arts in every state and the District of Columbia. These projects take place in both urban centers and rural communities. Additionally, 40 percent of projects supported by the NEA occur in low income areas. Some examples of NEA-supported activities include:
- A community-based public art project in York, Alabama
- A choral works concert in Baltimore, Maryland
- A multidisciplinary arts camp in Sitka, Alaska
The arts are not just a cultural good, they also help the U.S. economy. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, arts and cultural industries contribute $704.2 billion to the nation’s GDP—more than U.S. construction and agriculture industries. The arts also generate 4.7 million jobs in the U.S. and return $22.3 billion dollars in federal, state, and local revenue.
DPE encourages you to join us in standing up for the arts by signing the Americans for the Arts’ petition calling on President Donald Trump to protect these important cultural institutions.
Posted February 15, 2017
DPE Launches New Page for Professionals Thinking about Joining a Union
Are you interested in joining the more than six million professionals that are union members?
DPE’s new “Join A Union” page is meant to answer professionals’ questions about union representation.
The page provides information on why professionals join unions, the advantages of joining together in union, and the first steps in forming a union at work.
Those who have been thinking about forming a union at work should check out this new resource.
Posted February 15, 2017
DPE Presents Survey Results to AFGE National Executive Council
On February 9, 2017, DPE President Paul E. Almeida and Assistant to the President/Research Director Jennifer Dorning made a presentation to the American Federation of Government Employees National Executive Council detailing the findings of DPE’s October 2016 attitudinal survey of nonunion professionals. DPE’s presentation focused on the attitudes of public sector professionals toward unions.
The survey showed that public sector professionals strongly favor union representation at work and expressed a need for salary and working condition improvements. The presentation was well received and spurred questions about professionals and the potential for organizing.
Posted February 8, 2017
SPEEA Meets with DPE in D.C.
Yesterday, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA)—International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) local 2001—met with DPE in Washington, D.C.
The SPEEA members in attendance were briefed on the results of DPE’s survey of professionals. The survey, which found that a majority of professionals want a union and a raise, led to a discussion of successful organizing tactics among the SPEEA members. A number of members were interested in a breakdown of professionals’ attitudes toward union representation by geographic region. DPE will release an analysis of the results by region in the coming months.
DPE also had Ron Hira, a professor of public policy at Howard University, overview the issues with U.S. high-skilled guest worker programs—specifically the H-1B visa. Hira stressed that the complexity of the H-1B visa program has created exploitable loopholes that employers use to displace American workers and lower working conditions for foreign workers in the U.S. The H-1B visa program has been a frequent topic in the news due to outrageous cases of abuse, like at UCSF, and legislation in Congress aimed at reforming the program.
While in Washington, D.C. for IFPTE’s 2017 Legislative Advocacy Conference, SPEEA will be meeting with members of Congress and their staff to discuss topics of concern to its members.
DPE affiliates interested in learning more about the survey of professionals, guest worker programs, or our organizing tools can contact us here.
Posted February 6, 2017
DPE Releases Analysis of Public Sector Professionals’ Attitudes Towards Unions
Professionals in the public sector who want to join a union should know they are not alone.
According to the results of a survey sponsored by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE), most of their colleagues want a union too. The survey found overwhelming support (69%) for union representation among public sector professionals—the most support out of any sector.
The findings are based on a DPE-sponsored survey of 1,004 professional employees conducted in October 2016. The survey included 209 public sector professionals. Over half of these professionals were female and 62 percent were White. Federal and local government employees made up almost half of the respondents.
Key findings include:
- More than two-thirds of public sector professionals would join a union at their current job
- Over 60 percent of professionals in the public sector identified better salaries and benefits as the reason to have union representation
- 68 percent of public sector professionals want a union that defends employees’ interests
- A majority of public sector professionals supported having a union for a stronger voice at work
Public sector professional employees expressed a greater need for a raise than professionals in other sectors. A majority of these professionals wanted a union to gain better wages and benefits.
Additionally, when compared to professionals in other sectors, public sector employees were more discontent with their work environment, with strong majorities feeling undervalued as well as concerned about arbitrary procedure and rule changes at work. Concerns with management explain why public sector professionals are more focused on having a union that has their best interests in mind and gives them a stronger voice.
Public sector professionals openness to union representation, need for a raise, and dissatisfaction with their work environment presents a lot of opportunities for union organizers to make gains in the public sector. Organizers should focus on communicating and demonstrating unions’ effectiveness at negotiating for higher salaries—on average union members make 25 percent more than non-union members—and improving relationships with supervisors and managers. Additionally, organizers should be conscious of the union myths and make an effort to bust them.
Full analysis of public sector professionals’ attitudes towards unions is available to DPE affiliate unions by contacting email@example.com. Those interested in a preview of DPE’s analysis of public sector professionals can view it here.
Posted February 3, 2017
UCSF Justifies IT Layoffs as a Way to Cut Costs, Misuses the H-1B Visa Program
UC San Francisco (UCSF) says it will save money by firing IT professionals and replacing them with employees of the Indian outsourcing company HCL Technologies.
Last month, the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) President Paul E. Almeida wrote to University of California President Janet Napolitano urging her to reverse the decision to lay off 79 IT professionals and use the H-1B visa program to outsource their work. In its response, UCSF defended the layoffs and outsourcing, claiming it would save the public university money. The letter also admits UCSF employees affected by the layoffs helped train their replacements.
UCSF’s use of the H-1B visa program is inappropriate and runs counter to the purpose Congress laid out for the program. The H-1B program is intended to “help employers who cannot otherwise obtain needed business skills and abilities from the U.S. workforce by authorizing the temporary employment of qualified individuals who are not otherwise authorized to work in the United States.” Clearly, cutting costs is not the purpose of the program.
UCSF’s misuse of the H-1B program highlights why DPE believes the program must be reformed, to ensure U.S. workers don’t continued to be replaced with cheaper workers in the United States.
Posted January 10, 2017
DPE to UC President Napolitano: Rescind Decision to Layoff 79 UCSF Employees, Don’t Abuse H-1B Visa Program
As highlighted this weekend in the Los Angeles Times, UC San Francisco (UCSF) is laying off 79 IT professionals and using the H-1B visa program to outsource their work. Ahead of their February 2017 layoffs, the UCSF workers have been forced to train their replacements, who work for the Indian outsourcing company HCL Technologies.
In a letter sent today, DPE president Paul E. Almeida urged UC President Janet Napolitano to reverse UCSF’s decision to fire these IT professionals and move their work to India. As the letter points out, Congress never meant for the H-1B visa program to be used by employers to replace U.S. workers with cheaper workers in the United States or abroad.
The developments at UCSF underscore why DPE believes the current H-1B program must be reformed so that it works for U.S. workers, highly skilled foreign workers, and employers. Right now the program is regularly used to outsource and offshore good jobs to lower wage markets, and to replace U.S. workers with cheaper workers in the United States. The top H-1B employers are companies like HCL Technologies that specialize in shipping U.S. jobs overseas, mostly in the IT industry. These companies rarely sponsor H-1B employees for lawful permanent resident in the United States.
For more about the H-1B visa program and other high-skilled temporary visa programs, check out DPE’s fact sheet.
Posted January 6, 2017
Hart Research Briefs DPE Affiliates on 2016 Survey of Professionals Results
Hart Research highlighted the finding that a majority of professionals support union representation in their workplace and most want a union to help increase their salaries.
“Most professionals want and deserve a raise,” said DPE President Paul Almeida in response to the survey results.
The briefing also focused on the finding that the attitudes of professionals who would not support a union in their workplace are moveable—or can be persuaded—by communicating union success.
Hart Research also highlighted obstacles to changing the opinions of these “disapprovers.” They include doubts and myths about union effectiveness, protection of poor performing workers, and involvement in politics.
DPE will release new demographic-based reports from the survey data every two weeks starting on Monday, January 9, 2017. Full survey data and all of the materials from yesterday’s briefing are available to DPE affiliates. Contact us for more information.
Old blog posts can be viewed here.