Posted on May 17, 2017
In Memory of Jack Golodner
Earlier this week, the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) received the sad news that founding president of DPE Jack Golodner passed away on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at the age of 85.
DPE’s full statement on Jack’s passing can be read here.
Those interested in sharing a thought, comment, or memory, can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Details on Jack’s memorial service will be announced on the DPE website in the coming weeks.
Posted on May 16, 2017
Politically Independent Professionals Would Join a Union
Professionals who identified as politically independent would support a proposal for a union in their workplace. According to the results of survey sponsored by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE), 55 percent of Independents would support a proposal to have a union.
The survey, conducted in October 2016, targeted non-union professionals. Of the 1,004 non-union professionals surveyed, 152 identified as Independent. Over two thirds of Independents worked in the private, for-profit sector and 60 percent were White. A strong majority of Independents described their views as “moderate,” while a nearly equal number said they were conservative and liberal.
Key findings about Independent professionals include:
- Over half of Independents said they would have a union to improve salaries and raises
- The traits that Independents valued most in a union were “fairness” and “integrity”
- Less than a third of Independents reporting knowing a great deal or a fair amount about professional unions
Independents’ perceptions about unions tended to be closer to Republicans than Democrats. Union effectiveness was something Independents were concerned about.
Professionals considering a union can learn more about becoming a union member by visiting DPE’s “Join A Union” webpage.
Posted on May 4, 2017
Democrat Professional Employees Overwhelmingly Support Joining a Union
Professional employees who identify as Democrats have a strong interest in joining a union. According to survey results, over 70 percent of professional Democrats would support a proposal for a union at their current job.
This finding about professional Democrats comes from analysis of the results of a survey of non-union professionals’ attitudes toward unions conducted in October 2016. The survey was sponsored by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE). Out of the 1,004 non-union professionals surveyed, 453 were Democrats. Most (56%) of the professional Democrats were employed in the private sector, while over a third (37%) were employed in the public sector. Additionally, a quarter work in engineering, business, finance, computer, and math occupations and over half (54%) earned under $75,000 per year.
Professional Democrats’ positive attitudes towards unions are not surprising, but there were findings that were not obvious. These findings include:
- A union’s commitment to fairness and equality were values Democrats cared about the most
- Three quarters of Democrats said better salaries and raises was a convincing reason to have a union
- Work-life balance was important to Democrats—over 60 percent thought it was a good idea to have a union to improve work-life balance and paid leave
- Only 28 percent of Democrats reported knowing a great deal or fair amount about unions for professionals
Democrats’ limited knowledge about unions reveals that union organizers should focus on communicating the benefits of unions. Additionally, professional Democrats are concerned about myths related to unions. Organizers should spend some time dispelling union myths.
To learn more about joining or forming a union, check out our “Join A Union” page. It has answers to many of the common questions about unions for professionals. Those with additional questions can contact us here.
Full analysis of Democrat professionals’ attitudes toward unions is available to DPE affiliates and should contact email@example.com. A preview of DPE’s full analysis can be viewed here.
Posted on April 19, 2017
Professional Republicans are Open to Union Representation
Newly released survey analysis reveals openness to the benefits of union representation transcends party lines. The analysis finds most Republicans are open to learning more about what a union can do for them.
These latest findings about Republican professionals comes from the Department for Professional Employees’, AFL-CIO (DPE’s) survey of non-union professional conducted in October 2016. Of the 1,004 professionals who took part in the survey, 399 identified as Republicans. Most of the Republican respondents were employed in the private, for-profit sector, 52 percent were aged over 45, almost 90 percent were White, and 41 percent made under $75,000 per year.
Like other groups of professionals, Republican professionals believed better salaries and raises was the most convincing reason to join a union. Professionals who identified as Republican were also more likely to be interested in a union that was “professional.” Republican support for union representation increased by six points after participating in the survey, which reveals that Republicans are open to the union message and can be persuaded to support a union in their workplace.
Organizers should focus on emphasizing unions’ effectiveness at improving wages, benefits, and working conditions—and persuading Republican professionals that unions are the most effective way to achieve these gains. Republicans have a number of concerns about unions—largely related to myths about unions—that should also be addressed by organizers.
Those interested in learning more about joining a union can find out more here.
Posted on April 10, 2017
Professionals in the South Are Interested in Unionizing
Low union density in the South tends to be attributed to anti-union sentiment among Southerners, but new survey data analysis showed that Southern professionals are open to joining a union. According to the analysis, a majority (58%) of professionals in the South would support a proposal for a union, and more could be persuaded to join a union with additional information about the benefits of union representation.
These findings are based on the results of a survey of 1,004 professionals sponsored by Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) in October 2016. For the analysis, DPE examined the attitudes of professionals in the Northeast, Midwest, South, and West. The following is the breakdown of survey respondents by region: 231 in the Northeast, 211 in the Midwest, 351 in the South, and 211 in the West.
Overall, geographic region was not the best predictor of union support—but some conclusions can be drawn about professionals’ attitudes toward unions in a specific region. One similarity to note is, regardless of region, all professionals believed improving salaries and benefits was the best reason to have union representation.
The differences between regions were more numerous. Professionals in the Midwest were the least supportive of union representation and appeared to be the hardest to persuade. Southern professionals did not know a lot about unions and are going to need more information about the benefits of a union to increase membership. By the end of the survey, roughly 60 percent of professionals in both the Northeast and West would support a proposal for union. Professionals in these regions were more dissatisfied with the current conditions facing professionals.
Organizers should keep these differences in mind and tailor their messaging depending on which geographic region they are located.
Posted on March 22, 2017
Professional Women are More Supportive of Unions than Professional Men
Over 60 percent of professional women would vote to unionize given the opportunity, revealing that professional women are more likely to want a union than professional men.
The Department for Professional Employees’, AFL-CIO (DPE’s) analysis of professional women’s attitudes towards unions showed that 65 percent thought it was a good idea for employees to be represented by a union and 62 percent would support a proposal to have a union in their workplace. As highlighted on DPE’s blog earlier this month, 56 percent of male professionals ages 21 to 44 would support a proposal for a union at their current job, while only 42 percent of male professionals ages 45 and over would support having a union.
This analysis is based on a survey of 1,004 professional employees conducted in October 2016. Professional women were over half of the survey respondents, with 522 participating. Most of the professional women who took part in the survey were White and younger than 45. Over half worked in the private, for-profit sector, while 22 percent were employed in the public sector. As far as political ideology, 30 percent identified as conservative while 37 percent identified as liberal.
Key findings include:
- 62% of professional women would support a proposal to have a union in their workplace to represent them and their colleagues
- 66% thought receiving better salaries and raises was a convincing reason to have a union
- A majority of professional women believe having a union would improve their health and retirement benefits, job security, and pay
- Over two-thirds of professional women believed it was important for a union to stand up to management and defend employees’ interests
- 61% wanted a union that would ensure equal pay for equal work
Workplaces that are heavily female provide opportunities for union organizing. Less than half of women are satisfied with career advancement opportunities and having a voice at their job. Additionally, half of professional women surveyed felt undervalued. Communicating how union representation can help employees negotiate for a raise, as well as fair and equal treatment in the workplace, should be a message that resonates with professional women.
Posted on March 20, 2017
Young Professionals Discuss Drawing Millennials to Unions at DPE’s ‘Future of Work’ Event
Deadspin writer Hamilton Nolan kicked off DPE’s symposia on young professionals and unions last week, as keynote speaker. Nolan, a member of Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) emphasized the importance of organizing in growing the labor movement.
In addition to Nolan’s keynote address, the March 16 event in Washington, D.C. featured two panels of young union members and staffers.
The first panel, “How younger professionals view work and unions,” was moderated by assistant professor at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor relations, Rachel Aleks. The panelists included: Kelly Stec, a grad student and state vice president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Michigan; Matt Koch, a master electrician and member of Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 150; Ryan Rule, a design and analysis engineer and president of Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA); Felicia Sharp, a professional employee at the Department of Defense and president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 1410; Ryan O’Boyle, a video editor and business representative for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1212; and Ben Whitehair, an actor and national board member of SAG-AFTRA.
The panel discussed how they were introduced to unions—which many of the panelists credited to their union family members.
“I grew up in a union household, and ‘don’t ever cross a picket line’ was up there with ‘always brush your teeth’,” said Stec.
Each of the panelists also described how they got involved in their current union and what they thought would attract other young members. A number of the panelists, including Whitehair, said that millennials want to get involved in union activities but don’t know the next steps.
“Building a millennial membership” was the topic of the second panel, which was moderated by Nolan. The panelists included: Alyssa Picard, director of AFT’s higher education department; Josh Austin, content editor at Actors’ Equity Association (AEA); Megan McRobert, digital organizer at Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE); Alan Barber, president of International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 70; and Bill Lyons, director of the membership and organization department at AFGE.
Many of the union representatives spoke about how face-to-face organizing is still the most effective way to increase membership. Additionally, some of the panelists discussed how their union’s involvement with social issues excited their members and helped with organizing.
Overall, the panels provided the DPE affiliate unions that were in attendance with guidance on how to communicate with, organize, and involve young professionals.
DPE President Paul E. Almeida gave the opening and closing remarks at the event.
The millennial event is part of DPE’s “Future of Work” series, focusing on where work is headed.
Posted March 17, 2017
DPE Releases Guide to Creating a New Hire Orientation Program
This week, DPE released to its affiliate unions a guide to developing their own new hire orientation programs. The guide aims to assist affiliates in increasing their member sign-ups among new hires.
Growing Your Union: Engaging Professionals Through New Hire Orientation overviews a successful new hire orientation program and provides step-by-step instructions on how union leaders and staff can create or enhance their own orientation program.
Growing Your Union was developed specifically for organizing professional employees. The guide draws upon interviews with union leaders and staff responsible for their unions’ orientation programs, observation of existing orientation programs, content analysis of union welcome packets, relevant social science research, and data from DPE’s survey of professionals and their attitudes toward unions.
Research has shown that well done new hire orientation programs increase sign-ups and commitment to the union.
Preview Growing Your Union here.
DPE affiliates interested Growing Your Union can contact us for a copy. DPE staff is also available to give a presentation to your union’s leadership.
Posted March 7, 2017
Most Young Male Professionals Support Unions
Young male professionals are different from older male professionals in that a majority would support union representation.
The Department for Professional Employees’ (DPE’s) analysis of the attitudes of male professionals ages 21 to 44 reveals that over half would support a proposal for a union at their current job. Compared to the attitudes of professional males over 45, young male professionals are much more supportive of unions. Only 42 percent of older male professionals would support a proposal for a union at work.
DPE’s analysis is based on an attitudinal survey of 1,004 professional employees conducted in October 2016. Young male professionals were 274 of the survey respondents. Most of the young male respondents were White and employed in the private sector. Over 40 percent were employed in engineering, business, finance, computer, and math occupation and 45 percent identified as Republicans. Just under half of the young male professionals who participated in the survey earned under $75,000 per year.
Key findings include:
- 56% of younger male professionals would support union representation at their workplace
- Better salaries, benefits, and improved work-life balance were younger male professionals’ top reasons for wanting a union
- Younger male professionals believed it is important for a union to improve salaries and benefits (70%), stand up to management (66%), speak out on behalf of quality work and service (63%), and understand the concerns of their profession (62%)
- Over 40% of younger male professionals feel professionals in their field were undervalued
Younger male professionals’ openness to union representation provides an organizing opportunity for unions. Union organizers should focus on unions’ effectiveness at making workplace improvements.
For information about DPE’s full analysis of the attitudes of younger male professionals, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Those interested in a preview of DPE’s analysis of male professionals ages 21 to 44 can view it here.
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.
You can find out more about our full analysis of private, for-profit sector employees’ attitudes towards unions by contacting email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.