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:
- Adapting to Change in Work
- DPE’s General Board Meets
- Offshore Outsourcing
- Lunch and Learn with DPE
- Outreach to Associations
- DPE meets with Future Professionals
ADAPTING TO CHANGES IN WORK – At its June 6 meeting, the Committee on the Evolution of Professional Careers took a big step. In the words of Committee Chair Gregory J. Junemann, President of IFPTE, the Committee moved “from discussing the problem to discussing the solutions.”
At two earlier meetings, the Committee heard from Dr. Lynn Karoly of RAND and Professor Thomas Malone of MIT. Both highlighted the trends away from regular employment on a fixed schedule at a single location for a single employer and toward temporary work on projects in multiple settings for multiple employers.
On June 6, Thomas A. Kochan of MIT built on their theme. Dr. Kochan is Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management; Professor of Engineering Systems at MIT; Co-Director of the Institute for Work and Employment Research, Sloan School; Co-Director of the MIT Workplace Center; and author, Restoring the American Dream: A Working Families’ Agenda for America(available September 2005 from The MIT Press). He argued unions need new approaches to organizing that reach out to the public through innovative means of integrating work and family. He provided an appropriate prelude for the discussion of action steps that followed.
Representatives from 11 unions affiliated with DPE – AEA, AFGE, AFT, AFTRA, IATSE, IAMAW, IFPTE, RWDSU, SAG, UAN, and USWA – focused on responses to a written survey of union priorities. Their deliberations tentatively identified seven points for common effort from more than 100 possible topics: Electing pro-labor politicians, identifying professional issues for a union agenda, broadening skill development as a union service for members and prospective members, using occupational identity, providing health care and retirement, retaining a unified labor movement, and reconciling democratic processes with effective functioning.
DPE’s GENERAL BOARD MEETS – On June 21 the General Board of DPE held its annual meeting. This year’s meeting was the quadrennial election year, the following officers were elected to serve as the DPE’s Executive Committee Ed McElroy, Chair; Paul E. Almeida, President; Bill Lucy, 1st Vice President; Linda Foley, Treasurer; and nine general vice presidents Gregory Junemann, IFPTE; Phil Thompson, SEIU Local 517M; Tom Lee, AFM; Alan Eisenberg, AEA; Stuart Appelbaum, RWDSU; Greg Hamblet, UFCW; joining the Board as new members are Larry Cohen, CWA; Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, AFTRA; and Walter Cahill, IATSE.
On behalf of the entire Board, Chairman McElroy thanked retiring Board member and past DPE Chair Morty Bahr, CWA for his years of dedicated service to his union, the AFL-CIO, the DPE and working people everywhere.
The DPE Board accepted the quadrennial report of activities carried out by the officers and staff of the department, the entire report is available on the DPE web page at www.dpeaflcio.org or www.dpeaflcio.org/pdf/DPE_general_board_2001-2005_final_report.pdf.
OFFSHORE OUTSOURCING – The export of U.S. jobs offshore—including white collar jobs—and its impact on America’s workforce and economy has been a central issues in the ongoing national debate about the impact of globalization. However, while organized labor has sounded the alarm about the adverse effects upon both workers and the nation, there is still lacking a public consensus about the magnitude of the problem. In part this is due to the lack of reliable data on the current offshoring phenomenon. While there have been efforts by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and others to expand the range of data, these collections remain fragmentary and hampered by a clear understanding of what needs to be measured. Recent studies by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and others have reinforced a growing consensus about the need for better data.
To address this dilemma, in 2004 Congress enacted Public Law 108-447 which included a provision authorizing the issuance of a grant to the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA)—a Congressionally-chartered, non-profit organization established to improve governance at all levels—to conduct a comprehensive study of offshoring job losses. Academy Fellow Janet Norwood, a former commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, chairs the panel of experts in public management and government statistics in directing this review. In recognizing the disparity of views on this issue, Congress directed that “information and opinion should be collected from stakeholders in business, education, and government, as well as professional associations and employee organizations.”
In late spring, the DPE received a formal request from the Academy to meet with them to discuss development of their analysis. In early June, Paul Almeida and Mike Gildea along with the AFL-CIO’s Thea Lee and Ron Blackwell met with NAPA representatives to outline labor’s perspectives on:
- how offshoring should be defined;
- our experience on the extent of net job changes from offshoring activity, both for the workers who are members of the Department for Professional Employees of the AFL-CIO and others;
- the adequacy of available data to support any conclusions or inferences about trends in offshoring activity and its impact on U.S. jobs and the overall economy; and
- approaches and methodologies that can be used with currently available data or additional data needed to develop a better understanding of offshoring activity.
DPE and the Federation will continue working with the Academy as their study continues.
LUNCH AND LEARNS WITH DPE – continuing series of programs on the state of the health care system and proposals for change.
UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE IN AMERICA – For Universal Health Care in America, Look beyond the Beltway: States Are Leading the Way – Few people seriously expect this Congress to enact the far-reaching health care reforms that are needed. In response, local movements have emerged in a number of states with the common goal of winning universal coverage. On June 7, close to 50 people joined DPE for a special program and discussion featuring Mark Blum, Executive Director, America’s Agenda, Health Care for All (www.americasagenda.org) and Barbara Roop and Michael Carr, Co-Chair and Campaign Manager respectively of Health Care for Massachusetts (www.healthcareformass.org). While storms prevented Executive Director of the Illinois Campaign for Better Health Care Jim Duffet from being on the panel, Mark Blum briefed the participants on the Illinois Campaign’s activities and progress (www.cbhconline.org). Headed by retired UFCW President, Doug Dority, America’s Agenda: Health Care for All was launched last fall for the specific purpose of leveling the playing field for statewide universal health care campaigns. The lively discussion included an update on California, where the state Senate voted in May to establish a statewide universal health insurance system (www.healthcareforall.org/singlepayer.html; Don Bechler, email@example.com).
Program participants included representatives of AFT, AFTRA, CWA, OPEIU, TNG-CWA, the Laborers, UAN, UNITE-HERE, the AFL-CIO, Alliance for Retired Americans, American Income Life, American Medical Students Association, American Medical Women’s Association, California Physicians’ Alliance, Center on Disability and Health, Center for Economic Policy Research, Cornell University, Metropolitan Washington Public Health Association, National Women’s Health Network, U.S. Department of Labor, Georgetown Living Wage Campaign, CooperSoft, and the Society for Human Resource Management, among others.
FOCUS ON WOMEN: PROACTIVE STRATEGIES TO LEAD LONGER AND HEALTHIER LIVES, 12 noon – 2:00 p.m., Thursday, August 18, a program and discussionfeaturing Marilyn Gaston, M.D., former Assistant Surgeon General and co-author of Prime time: the Complete Guide to Health and Wellness for Midlife African American Women and Co-Director 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.
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 – DPE has been developing relationships with professional associations including the American Public Health Association (APHA), the American Library Association (ALA), the National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO), among others, assisting its affiliates develop a presence at their meetings and conferences via programs and other events, proposed policy resolutions, and the dissemination of union materials and information.
THE LIBRARY ASSOCIATION’S ANNUAL CONFERENCE held June 24-29 in Chicago attracted some 24,000 library workers from ALA’s membership of 60,000. Expanding DPE’s connection to ALA, Assistant to the President, Pamela Wilson, was involved in developing conference programs and sessions, including,
- Debate: Do Unions or Professional Associations Belong in Libraries? (1:30-3:30 p.m., June 26)
- Pay Equity Studies: It Doesn’t Take a Consultant (9:30-11:30 a.m., June 27); and
- Outsourcing and Downsizing/Degrading: False Economies or Fiscal Prudence? 4:00- 5:30 p.m., June 27), and others.
These sessions featured representatives from DPE affiliates, including Saul Schneiderman, President, Library of Congress Professional Guild, AFSCME Local 2910; Ray Markey, Past-President, New York Public Library Guild, AFSCME Local 1930; Lydia A. Morrow Ruetten, Governors State University library faculty, University Professionals of Illinois, Local 4100, IFT, AFT, and Ellen Reich, Labor Economist, AFSCME, among others. Pamela Wilson joined Saul Schneiderman and ALA Past-President, Maurice J. (Mitch) Freedman on the panel for the debate on unions vs. professional associations for library workers. Then:
- DPE, along with the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA), a companion organization to ALA, and the ALA-AFL-CIO Joint Committee on Library Services to Labor Groups sponsored a Networking Breakfast on June 26.
Pamela participated in the meeting and program of the ALA-AFL-CIO Joint Committee on Library Services to Labor Groups (which includes representatives from AFT, SEIU, UFCW and other unions) and the meetings of the ALA-APA Standing Committee on Better Salaries for All Library Workers, chaired by Diane Fay, Past-President, Boston Public Library, AFSCME Local 1526, where programs for next year’s Annual Conference were planned and proposed policy resolutions on support for overtime pay protection and the freedom to join unions were discussed. ALA-APA promotes unionization as a key strategy to improve the status and salaries of librarians (www.ala-apa.org). Activist library workers from AFSCME, SEIU, RWDSU-UFCW, and other affiliates were involved in forming this organization and its materials, including Advocating for Better Salaries and Pay Equity Toolkit, and the advocacy video, working@yourlibrary: for LOVE or MONEY?.
Library workers are represented by AFGE, AFSCME, AFT, CWA, IFPTE, SEIU, and RWDSU-UFCW. Materials have been developed to assist affiliates representing library workers, including a fact sheet available from both ALA-APA and DPE’s Websites (http://www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/factsheets/fs_2005_library_workers.htm), a bibliography on pay equity studies regarding professional and technical occupations, and other materials on the benefits of unions for library workers.
APHA–PROPOSED POLICY RESOLUTION ON SUPPORT FOR OVERTIME PAY PROTECTION – The American Public Health Association (APHA) represents more than 50,000 public health professionals. Its 2005 Annual Meeting will be held from November 5-9 in New Orleans. The “late-breaking” and therefore temporary resolution on Support for Overtime Pay adopted by APHA at its 2003 Annual Meeting has been updated and finalized for proposed adoption as a permanent policy resolution at APHA’s 2005 Annual Meeting. Assistants to the President, David Cohen (author of the resolution) and Pamela Wilson have been working with members of the APHA Joint Policy Committee toward this end. This resolution 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.
APHA was an important voice in what became a national outcry to stop the regulations that the Bush Department of Labor proposed and maintain overtime pay protection. In addition to adopting a resolution, APHA was signatory to a September 16 letter to Congress from DPE President Paul Almeida in support of the Harkin amendment which would have preserved new overtime pay protections for lower wage workers and restored overtime pay for others.
The Department has been developing and expanding its connection with APHA for several years. Pamela Wilson currently chairs the Labor Caucus within APHA. Programs are planned for this year’s Annual Meeting.
For more information about this or ALA, contact Pamela, 202/638-6684, or email@example.com.
DPE MEETS WITH FUTURE PROFESSIONALS – Outreach to students is enormously important for the future of the labor movement. Almost 17 million students are currently enrolled in community colleges, four-year institutions, and universities, rising to more than 18 million by 2013. Most are preparing for a professional or technical career and are potential union members. Yet the vast majority has little understanding of the vital role that unions play in our society and how they work to improve the status of the professions and help individuals achieve their career goals. Few learn about unions at home; fewer still in school.
For the past four years, DPE has been meeting with groups of outstanding high school students from all across the country who are visiting Washington for 11-day National Young Leaders Conference programs. On June 22, DPE President Paul Almeida and Assistants David Cohen and Pamela Wilson met with 25 students in the AFSCME Board Room and on June 29 with 46 students in the new IBEW auditorium. The students asked about the history of labor in the U.S., the costs and benefits of union membership, outsourcing, and the role of unions in our society. Two further meetings are scheduled for July 13 and 20. For information about the National Young Leaders Conference and its programs, see http://www.cylc.org/nylc or contact Pamela, 202/638-6684, or firstname.lastname@example.org