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:
- Count Down to the Conference: DPE Organizing Conference 2005
- Next Wave Organizing Conference
- Professional Guest Worker Visas
- Media Reform Caucus
- DPE Protests BLS Decision On Data Collection On Women
- UAN Strategic Planning
- Professional Associations: DPE At ALA Midwinter Meetings
- “Lunch And Learns” Planned For ‘05
COUNT DOWN TO THE CONFERENCE – Over one hundred national and local union decision-makers, organizers and academic and union researchers have already registered.
On March 14-16, 2005, the Department for Professional Employees (DPE), in conjunction with the Albert Shanker Institute and the Organizing Research Network, will host Organizing Professionals in the 21st Century at the Crystal City Hilton, Arlington, VA. To see the agenda, click on http://www.dpeaflcio.org/org_conf_agenda.htm. To join us at the conference you can get a registration form on our website at http://www.dpeaflcio.org/org_conf_reg_form.htm.
Here’s your chance to share what’s working, tap new research commissioned for this conference, brainstorm, shape research for our future, and use new ways to help professionals organize. Professional and technical workers form the fastest growing, and one of the most heavily unionized, segments of our economy.
Among the nine general sessions and dozen workshops:
● A report on and forecast of demographic, economic, and technological trends for professional and technical workers;
● A specially commissioned polling of three groups of unorganized professionals to analyze what’s likely to enhance their willingness to organize;
● A specially commissioned analysis of data from the NLRB and five states focusing on women professional and technical workers and organizing; and
● How more than 30 bargaining units at a single employer cooperated to raise union membership from 56,000 to 86,000 over 6-1/2 years.
Other sessions range from “Professionals Organizing to Function as Professionals” to “Into Cyberspace and Beyond! New Tactics for Organizing.” The topics draw on the experience and expertise of DPE-affiliated unions: building a union without collective bargaining, alliances and affiliations between unions and professional associations, outreach to pre- and young professionals, professional education as a core for organizing, and forms of organizing in entertainment and media, education, health care, engineering and science, information technology, the public sector, contingent employment, and outside the U.S. For further information contact David Cohen at 202-638-0320 extension 13, email@example.com.
NEXT WAVE ORGANIZING CONFERENCE – On January 27-28, 2005, New York Law School sponsored the “Next Wave Organizing Conference.” Among the topics: organizing freelancers and information technology workers; non-majority union organization; and the Internet as a means to forming interest groups. Among the speakers: AFL-CIO Assistant to the President Karen Nussbaum, CWA Organizing Director Ed Sabol, Fred Feinstein of the University of Maryland, Rutgers professor Charles Heckscher, and Working Today founder Sara Horowitz. Assistant to the President David Cohen represented DPE, and conference organizer Seth Harris of New York Law School announced the coming DPE conference, Organizing Professionals in the 21st Century (see “Count Down to the Conference” above).
PROFESSIONAL GUEST WORKER VISAS – DPE Executive Director Mike Gildea along with AFL-CIO representatives met with the staff of Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) to discuss re-introduction of a more expansive version of his 2004 H-1B reform bill (H.R. 5413). The earlier bill, crafted after DPE discussions last year with his office, included stronger guest worker prevailing wage requirements, a ban on the subcontracting of visas, a private right of action for aggrieved foreign and domestic workers as well as beefed up enforcement mechanisms. In current discussions, DPE pushed for keeping the annual H-1B cap at 65,000, limiting the visa to three instead of 6 plus years, implementation of a labor market test tying visa availability to unemployment rates, extending no layoff and recruitment of U.S. worker provisions to all H-1B employers, tighter visa qualifications standards, limiting the total number of professional guest workers an employer may hire from all such visa categories and payment of available fringe benefits–along with the prevailing wage–to visa holders. A new bill is expected to be introduced shortly.
MEDIA REFORM CAUCUS – In anticipation of Congress reopening the Telecommunications Act and a likely frontal assault by big media coupled with likely congressional consideration of other media issues, a number of DPE congressional allies in the U.S. House of Representatives are organizing a new Media Reform Caucus. DPE’s Mike Gildea attended the initial planning session for the group which included staff from the offices of Representatives Hinchey, Watson, Inslee, David Price, Sanders, Slaughter, Sherrod Brown, and Schakowsky. A number of reps from media reform public interest organizations also attended including former FCC Commissioner Gloria Tristani. The primary purpose of the caucus will be to create a broad-based bipartisan network of those members interested in media reform issues, act as a clearinghouse of information related to this public policy area, provide information and education to House members generally on these issues as they arise, advise members of local/regional/national events relating to media reform efforts and engage in other appropriate activities. For further information contact Mike Iger in Rep Maurice Hinchey’s Office (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202-225-6335) or Shawn Chang with Rep. Diane Watson (Shawn.Chang@mail.house.gov ; 202-225-7084)
DPE PROTESTS BLS DECISION ON DATA COLLECTION ON WOMEN – The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced plans to discontinue data collection from the Current Employment Survey (CES) survey on the number of women workers in the U. S. after July 2005 while expanding reporting in other areas (http://www.bls.gov/ces/cesww.htm). The CES is a monthly nationwide survey of payroll records for supervisory workers in more than 300,000 businesses. In a letter to BLS Commissioner, Kathleen Utgoff, DPE President Paul E. Almeida urged BLS to a reconsider the decision and to continue publishing women worker information. “With a gender breakdown, the payroll survey is capable of painting a reliable picture of where women are working across industries and business cycles. Without a gender breakdown, that picture becomes far more difficult to obtain,” he wrote.
The letter is posted at www.dpeaflcio.org/news/news/news_2005_10_01.htm. BLS posted a notice describing these proposed changes in the Federal Register on December 22; the 60-day comment period for this notice runs until February 22. http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/06jun20041800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2004/E4-3731.htm. Pamela Wilson, Assistant to President Almeida, addressed this issue at the January meeting of the National Council of Women’s Organizations. For further information, contact her at DPE: email@example.com
UAN STRATEGIC PLANNING – DPE participated in the mid-January United American Nurses strategic planning initiative which included UAN leadership and staff, representatives of its Organizational Structure Committee; its elected state leaders of collective bargaining as well as state staff. A briefing by officers and staff highlighted the extraordinary progress of the UAN–which will celebrate its fifth anniversary at its National Labor Assembly in March–led to the formulation of priorities for UAN action. DPE President Paul E. Almeida attended as did Assistant to the President for Education and Organizational Development David Cohen who conducted preparatory interviews, assisted in shaping the agenda, and facilitated the discussion.
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS: DPE AT ALA MIDWINTER MEETINGS – Expanding its connection to the American Library Association (ALA), Pamela Wilson, Assistant to President Almeida, attended the mid-winter meeting of the American Library Association, held in Boston from January 13-19. Library workers are represented by several DPE affiliates including AFGE, AFSCME, AFT, CWA, IFPTE, SEIU, and UFCW.
Preparations, including convention sessions, materials and programs for ALA annual meeting (June 23-29 in Chicago) were discussed under the auspices of the ALA’s Allied Professional Association’s and several of its committees. They early meeting will include sessions on:
- Do Unions and Professional Societies Belong in Libraries?
- Outsourcing and Downsizing/Degrading: False Economies or Fiscal Prudence?
- Pay Equity for Library Workers;
- A Networking Breakfast, co-sponsored by DPE; and
- Telling Workers’ Stories in the Community.
- Other ALA-APA sessions will address discriminatory practices; communications skills, and salary negotiation.
Materials are being developed to further this work, including an expanded and updated DPE fact sheet on library workers, and an updated and expanded bibliography on pay equity. DPE is working with the ALA-APA committee, and affiliates to plan these programs and develop materials. For information about ALA and the Annual Meeting, see www.ala.org; for information about DPE’s involvement, contact Pamela Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org.
“LUNCH AND LEARNS” PLANNED FOR ‘05 – The DPE series of lunchtime programs and discussions regarding problems in the health care industry and proposals for change will continue into 2005. Programs planned for this year include a June session featuring America’s Agenda: Health Care for All and a discussion of several state labor-supported strategies for winning universal healthcare reform; and a September 15 program on the What’s wrong with the pharmaceutical industry, featuring Marcia Angell, MD, the former Editor-in-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, author of The Truth About Drug Companies. Ms. Angell is currently the Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, More programs are being planned for ‘05. For information about these programs or the series, contact Pamela Wilson: email@example.com.