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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
In This Issue:
- Job Export Reports Flawed
- 25th AFL-CIO Constitutional Convention
- Public Policy: Digital TV; Opposing DoD Union Busting; & Health Care
- Lunch and Learn with DPE: Focus on Women
- Outreach to Associations – Communicating with APHA
- The Dominant Service Sector
- Outreach to Pre-Professionals
- DPE in the News
JOB EXPORT REPORTS FLAWED—Three recent studies that claim sending white-collar jobs overseas will benefit workers are seriously flawed and misleading, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The pro-job export studies by the McKinsey Global Institute, Global Insight and the Institute for International Economics are based on faulty data and false assumptions, said EPI economist Josh Bivens, author of “Truth and Consequences of Offshoring.” The studies overstate the benefits of sending jobs abroad and ignore the likely economic costs to America’s workers, Bivens said. For more information, visit http://www.epi.org.
25TH AFL-CIO CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION—Emphasizing bold steps taken by union members at the 25th AFL-CIO Constitutional Convention, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney on July 28 told the nearly 1,000 Convention delegates: “We have accomplished a great deal and put the union movement on a stronger footing. The work we have done together will enable more working people to gain the benefits of union membership and to gain a stronger voice in the laws and policies that shape everyday life in America.”
Sweeney who, together with AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka and AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thompson, was re-elected by enthusiastic acclamation July 27, and praised the work and dedication of the nearly 1,000 union leaders and member delegates as the federation wrapped up in Chicago.
He stressed the Convention action approving resources for organizing, ensuring year-round political and legislative mobilization, expanding the union movement’s leadership diversity at all levels and boosting workers’ economic power at home and around the globe.
DPE’s submission, Resolution 22: “Organizing Professional Workers,” was adopted by the convention and will place a greater emphasis on organizing white collar workers.
Out of nine newly elected Vice Presidents to the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council seven were from DPE unions: Andrea E. Brooks, AFGE; Larry Cohen, CWA; Gregory Junemann, IFPTE; Laura Rico, AFT; Thomas Short, IATSE; Nancy Wohlforth, OPEIU; and Robbie Sparks, IBEW.
For a complete report of the 25th AFL-CIO Convention go to www.aflcio.org.
PUBLIC POLICY: DIGITAL TELEVISION TRANSMISSION (DTV)— Following up on past efforts at the FCC, the Department backed congressional efforts to set a firm timetable for the conversion to DTV, an issue that concerns a number of affiliates in this broadcast medium. In a letter to the chairman of the House Commerce Committee, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) the DPE noted that “there are clearly many special interests which have enormous commercial stakes in this matter” but that Congress’ primary concern should be “the protection of consumer interest and choice as well as the continued viability of free, over-the-air television.” The communiqué further stated that “American consumers—not cable operators—should be able to control the quality and quantity of local programming available” given the investment they will make in converting to this new technology. Specifically, the DPE requested:
- An allocation of a portion of federal funds from the return and multi-billion dollar resale of the analogue spectrum to help low income consumers acquire the technology necessary to receive the new signal, the cost of which are in the $50 range.
- Incorporation of a multi-cast must carry requirement that no cable operator can discriminate among local television stations and deny consumers access to certain local programming streams. In addition, since digital allows for more multiple transmission streams over the same size band width as analogue, this requirement would also guarantee that stations—at a time of severe employment contraction in this industry—would employ more on and off air personnel to create and broadcast additional programming for the viewing public.
- Reservation of an appropriate amount of returned analogue spectrum for public safety purposes to assure that first responders have improved emergency response capabilities and enhanced on-the-ground communications to confront catastrophes like 9/11 and the recent London train bombings where the lack of sufficient spectrum was an issue.
- Better accountability through the adoption of standards that will assure that broadcasters meet their public interest obligations—such as providing a defined amount of local content—as part of the licensing agreements that give them use of the public airwaves.
OPPOSING DOD UNION BUSTING—The DPE leadership and staff joined with nearly 2000 activists and leaders from federal unions at a Capitol Hill rally opposing new anti-worker rules for Department of Defense employees that eviscerate the already minimal collective bargaining and civil service protections. Without congressional intervention, these rules will go into effect shortly. The fear is that they will be exported by the Bush administration throughout the rest of the federal government.
HEALTH CARE—In the weeks before the August recess, Congress and the Bush Administration sped up efforts to create a national information technology (IT) infrastructure for health care. On its own and in coalitions, DPE advocated involving health care workers in the creation and design of the system, protecting against outsourcing and off-shoring, and thinking through how to integrate the new technology and the organization of work. DPE also fought to maintain state protections and standards that shield patients. Among its efforts:
Senators Enzi (R-WY), Kennedy (D-MA), Frist (R-TN), and Clinton (D-NY) proposed the Wired for Health Care Quality Act (S. 1418) to push development of a national “interoperable” health IT system, with the goals of improving quality and cutting costs. The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee reported out the bill in July. It may be on a fast track for the Senate floor after the recess. With the AFL-CIO and unions affiliated with DPE including AFSCME, AFT, UAN and others, DPE urged that representatives of health care workers participate in the advisory and decision-making bodies that the bill creates at the national, regional, and local levels. For Senate staff working on the legislation, DPE gathered examples from organizational development experts showing the importance of workers’ input to the redesign of work accompanying new technology. DPE stressed that outsourcing and off-shoring health care data accumulated through a nationwide IT system could not only cost U.S. jobs, but endanger privacy and security.
DPE joined the AFL-CIO, unions affiliated with DPE (including AFGE, AFSCME, AFT, CWA, IAM, IBEW, and USWA), and other organizations in a letter of July 25 to Members of the House of Representatives opposing the Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 525). The bill would carve out association health plans from regulation by the states in the name of making health care insurance less expensive for small business owners and workers. Its adverse consequences would include driving up costs for many more workers than the bill would help; eliminating state patient protections ranging from cancer screenings to maternity care; and increasing risks of fraud and abuse. The bill passed the House by 263 to 165 on July 26 – 36 Democrats joined 227 Republicans – and is pending in the HELP Committee in the Senate. To read the letter, click on http://www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/letters/ltr_–_2005_07_25.htm.
With the AFL-CIO and many health care and consumer advocacy groups including the National Partnership for Women & Families and the National Consumers League, DPE signed on to an August 5 letter to Michael O. Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services. The letter nominated Dr. David Lansky, Senior Director of the Health Program of the Markle Foundation, to represent consumer and privacy interests on the American Health Information Community, which seeks to assist a transition to electronic health records nationally. To see the letter, which sets out Dr. Lansky’s background, click on http://www.dpeaflcio.org/pdf/AHICDavidLanskynomination8505.pdf. For information about the American Health Information Community, go to http://www.phdsc.org.
For comments or questions, please contact David Cohen at DPE, email@example.com, 202-638-0320 extension 13.
LUNCH AND LEARN WITH DPE—A continuing series on aspects of the health care system and proposals for change.
FOCUS ON WOMEN: PRO-ACTIVE STRATEGIES TO LIVE LONGER AND HEALTHIER, 12 noon – 2:00 p.m., Thursday, August 18. Rising health care costs is a central issue in women’s health. More than one-quarter of non-elderly women and two-thirds of uninsured women forgo medical care due to costs, according to a new national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Among those who see health professionals, large percentages of women say no one talks to them about diet, exercise, nutrition, smoking, screening tests, STDs or HIV. All this and more will be addressed in this special DPE program on women’s health. The program will include vital information and winning strategies to achieve wellness and wholeness for individuals, their families, and communities. Are you too stressed to feel blessed? The program will address emotional distress – stress, anxiety and depression – as well as physical.
Featuring: Marilyn Gaston, M.D., (former Assistant Surgeon General) and Gayle Porter, Ph.D., (a licensed clinical psychologist; former faculty at Johns Hopkins and Howard universities), co-authors of Prime Time: the Complete Guide to Health and Wellness for Midlife African American Women and Co-Directors of the Gaston and Porter Health Improvement Center; and Carolyn Jacobson, Director, Coalition of Labor Union Women’s Contraception Equity Project and Outreach Coordinator, Cervical Cancer Prevention Works, CLUW’s cervical cancer awareness project.
Among those who have registered for the program are representatives of labor, government, academic, and public interest organizations, as well as professional societies.
LUNCH AND LEARN COMING SOON…
WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY? 12 noon – 2:00 p.m.,Thursday, September 15, a program and discussion led by Marcia Angell, MD, the former Editor-in-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, and the author of The Truth about Drug Companies. Dr. Angell is currently Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
For more information about the series, contact Pamela Wilson, by phone: 202/638-6684 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
OUTREACH TO ASSOCIATIONS–COMMUNICATING WITH APHA— The Department has been developing and expanding its connection with the American Public Health Association (APHA) for several years and has been involved in planning programs, developing and supporting policy resolutions, and disseminating a broad range of information. At the invitation of APHA, Pamela Wilson, Assistant to President Almeida, who currently chairs the Labor Caucus within APHA, and Deborah Weinstock, AFL-CIO, an active member of APHA’s Occupational Health and Safety Section, had the opportunity to brief the APHA staff on the relationship between organized labor and public health during one of the Association’s quarterly staff meetings. The potential for greater connection and collaboration was emphasized.
APHA’s ANNUAL MEETING, which attracts some 15,000 participants, will be held from November 5-9 in New Orleans. This year’s Labor Caucus sessions: A Voice at Work for Health Care Workers; Issues of Concern to Labor, and The Role of Labor Physicians in Identifying Health Hazards will feature speakers from AFSCME, AFT and UAN, among others. The Labor Caucus resolution on support for overtime pay protection, which urges that the Bush Administration withdraw the regulations insofar as they cut back overtime protections, that Congress take legislative action if the Administration doesn’t, and that other allies support the APHA position will be discussed and voted on by the Governing Council following a public hearing at the Annual Meeting.
THE DOMINANT SERVICE SECTOR — More than three out of every four jobs in the U.S. economy are in the service sector. In 2004, unions represented significant numbers of service sector employees, especially in education (38% of all employees; 48% of elementary and secondary school employees), public administration (36%), and transportation (35%). Many of these are professional employees.
Employment in this sector is expected to increase by almost 20% between 2002 and 2012, while employment in the goods-producing sector will increase by little less than 4%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that in 2012, the service sector will employ 129.3 million people.
A new fact sheet from DPE provides information about the service sector, including current and projected employment; the offshoring of white collar jobs; women’s situation; union membership; and service sector trade. The fact sheet will be available soon from the Web site: www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/factsheets.htm. If you have questions or comments, contact Pamela Wilson, email@example.com
OUTREACH TO PRE-PROFESSIONALS—DPE hosted its third meeting this summer of high school students visiting Washington for 11-day National Young Leaders Conference programs. More than 25 college-bound high school students from communities throughout the nation participated. President Almeida and Assistant to the President, David Cohen talked about the role of unions in providing a voice for professionals and improving working and social conditions. Questions included: How do you form a union and what are the benefits of membership? How do you negotiate benefits? What is the cause of outsourcing and what can be done about it? What about globalization? Students also asked about strikes and their consequences. For information about NYLC and its programs, see http://www.cylc.org/nylc or email Pamela Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org
DPE IN THE NEWS: ORGANIZING PROFESSIONALS: The most recent edition of the Bureau of National Affairs publication Labor Relations Week included in its Convention Report major actions at the AFL-CIO convention including a half page summary of the DPE-authored action plan resolution Organizing Professional Workers. For the text of the statement visit the following link: http://www.aflcio.org/aboutus/thisistheaflcio/convention/2005/upload/res_22.pdf.