The purpose of this newsletter is to inform you of recent activities by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO as well as emerging issues affecting the professional and technical workforce. NewsLine will be published on the first of every month. Issues of NewsLine are accessible on the DPE web page www.dpeaflcio.org. Feedback welcomed; send to email@example.com.
In This Issue:
- Into Overtime on Overtime
- Forum on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health and Health Care
- Organizing Professionals: The ‘Unconference’ Conference
- Reaching out to Pre-Professionals
- Putting Work into the Curriculum
- Labor Caucus Sessions @ APHA Attract Cosponsorship by Major Sections of the Association
- Public Policy
HAPPY LABOR DAY!
INTO OVERTIME ON OVERTIME – On August 23, more than 500 union demonstrators, many from unions affiliated with DPE, protested the Bush Department of Labor (DOL) overtime take-away by going to the source: DOL headquarters in Washington, DC.
DPE President Paul E. Almeida flagged the demonstration for all DPE affiliates in a DPE Alert! on August 17. At the demonstration, which marked the effective date of the final regulations, he led a contingent of DPE staff. DPE staff also assisted in outreach in preparation for the protest.
Among the speakers: AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Arlen Specter (R-PA). The two Senators pledged a continuing legislative battle to undo the damage. Workers spelled out the triple whammy that the Bush attack will mean: less overtime pay, longer hours, and increased childcare expenses without the income to afford it. Among the signs: “President Bush: Hands Off My Overtime Pay!” and “Cut Chao, Not Overtime Pay.”
For a sampling of the extensive national news coverage before, on, and after the effective date of the regulations, see “Breaking News” on the DPE website, http://www.dpeaflcio.org/.
Big employers lost no time in exploiting the new rules. The St. Petersburg Times in Florida reported on August 22 that “many employers” face a question for low-paid workers who, under the new rules, might not qualify for overtime if they earn more than $23,660 a year: “Does the company increase their base salaries to avoid the overtime issue or just plan to pay them overtime?”
“J.C. Penney made that choice,” the report continued, “slightly increasing salaries of many department managers in its stores just past $23,660.”
To give employees a chance online to question a wage-and-hour attorney about the new regulations, the AFL-CIO community affiliate Working America has launched “Ask a Lawyer About Overtime Pay,” http://www.workingamerica.org/issues/ot_atrisk.cfm.
For questions or comments, please contact David Cohen at 202-638-0320 extension 13, firstname.lastname@example.org.
FORUM ON RACIAL AND ETHNIC DISPARITIES IN HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE DRAWS 100 REPRESENTATIVES FROM LABOR, PUBLIC HEALTH, ACADEMIA, & CONSUMER ORGANIZATIONS – Close to 100 people participated in this August 24 program and discussion, including representatives of AFGE, AFSCME, AFT, SEIU, UAN, USWA, the Laborers, the Teamsters, the AFL-CIO, CBTU, CLUW, the American Public Health Association, Metropolitan Washington Public Health Association, D.C. Health Department, Families U.S.A., the Center on Disability and Health, the National Cancer Institute, the American Medical Students Association, Howard University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, SUNY Stony Brook, National Consumers League, NARAL, National Women’s Law Center, Society for Women’s Health Research, US PIRG, California Universal Health Care Organizing Project, Washington Independent Writers, National Insurance Alliance, Latino Health Initiative, National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, Senate Screening and Coordination Committee, Abundant Life Center, National Public Health and Hospital Institute, and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, among others.
The program and discussion featured Brian Smedley, Ph.D., Study Director and principal author of the groundbreaking Institute of Medicine report, Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care, and Sheila Thorne, President and CEO, Multicultural Healthcare Marketing Group, a leading expert in multiethnic health care marketing who has spent more than 20 years designing and implementing health marketing, education, and communications campaigns for African, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American communities and the physicians, nurses, dentists, researchers and pharmacists who serve them. Both presenters gave compelling Power Point presentations. Copies are available from Pamela Wilson, email@example.com.
This is the third in a series of DPE programs examining the state of the health care system and proposals for change. We encourage active participation in these programs. Please spread the word.
The next program in the series will be:
Do We Get What We Pay For?
International Comparisons: Highlighting the U.S. Health Care System Compared to Those of Canada, Great Britain, and Germany.
We spend twice as much as other developed countries yet judging by lifespan and infant mortality, most developed nations are healthier than the U.S. The fourth program in the series will have this focus. Details of time and place in next month’s Newsline.
For further information about the series, contact Pamela Wilson by phone, 202/638-6684, or email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
ORGANIZING PROFESSIONALS: THE ‘UNCONFERENCE’ CONFERENCE – OnMarch 14-16, 2005, DPE will sponsor a conference on white-collar organizing, “Organizing Professionals in the 21st Century,” at the Crystal City Hilton in Crystal City, Virginia. The conference Planning Committee includes representatives from DPE affiliates AEA, AFT, TNG-CWA, AFSCME, IFPTE, UFCW, and WGAE, as well as the Albert Shanker Institute and the Organizing Research Network. Its design starts with a demographic overview and new attitudinal research; provides workshops that focus on varied means to drawing unorganized workers into unions, from outreach to pre-professionals to union-sponsored education and training to novel Internet techniques; and aims at continuing sectoral discussions and task forces. For questions or comments, please contact David Cohen at 202-638-0320 extension 13, email@example.com.
REACHING OUT TO PRE-PROFESSIONALS – DPE hosted its third meeting this summer involving a group of high school students visiting Washington for an 11-day National Young Leaders Conference program. Twenty-five college-bound high school students from communities throughout the nation participated. President Almeida, David Cohen, and Pamela Wilson talked about the role of unions in providing a voice for professionals and improving working and social conditions. Questions included: How do professionals and unions find each other? What can be done to keep manufacturing and other jobs in the U.S.? Can corporate America be changed? For information about NYLC and its programs, see http://www.cylc.org/nylc or email Pamela Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org.
PUTTING WORK INTO THE CURRICULUM – DPE and AFT are among the labor sponsors for a joint labor-management project funded by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, “Workplace Issues and Collective Bargaining in the Classroom,” administered by the Community Services Agency of the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO. DPE Assistant to the President for Education and Organizational Development David Cohen participated in meetings of the Educator Recruitment and Training Committee on August 11 and 26, which is preparing for a second train-the-trainer for teachers and other educators. Scheduled for October 21-22, 2004, at the National Education Association Headquarters, 1201 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC, the session will introduce teachers to using the exciting and interactive project curricula. For information about the project or the training, contact Jim Auerbach at the Community Services Agency, Jauerbac@dclabor.org. For information about DPE’s participation, contact David Cohen, email@example.com.
LABOR CAUCUS SESSIONS @ APHA ATTRACT COSPONSORSHIP BY MAJOR SECTIONS OF THE ASSOCIATION – This year’s Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association will be held in Washington, D.C. from November 6-10. The Labor Caucus sessions have attracted co-sponsorship from the Occupational Health and Safety Section, Public Health Nursing, and Health Administration, among other Sections and Caucuses.
The programs for the 2004 Annual Meeting have been planned in collaboration with the AFL-CIO Nurse Committee, the AFL-CIO Public Policy Department, and other Caucus members. The five 90-minute Labor Caucus sessions at this year’s Annual Meeting are:
Organized Labor and Public Health (10:30 a.m. – 12 noon, Monday, November 8);
The Nurse Staffing Crisis: Aspects of the Problem (4:30-6:00 p.m., Monday, November 8);
Worker’s Freedom to Join Unions: It’s a Public Health Issue (12:30-2:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 9)
The Nurse Staffing Crisis: Solutions (2:30-4:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 9)
The Labor Movement and National Health Policy (12:30-2:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 10)
These sessions will feature speakers from DPE affiliates, including AFSCME, AFT, SEIU, UAN, and USWA, as well as the AFL-CIO, CLUW, Kaiser, and academics and public health officials sympathetic to labor. The sessions will be cosponsored by several major Sections and Caucuses within APHA. We urge you to encourage participation at these events and at the Labor Caucus Business Meeting (6:30-8:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 9) where the program for 2005 will be discussed.
PUBLIC POLICY: Good News! Congress has been in recess and won’t return until after Labor Day.