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:
- AFL-CIO Hurricane Relief Update
- Nurses and Supervisory Status
- Recording Arts on the Hill
- Professional Development for Classroom Teachers
- Lunch and Learn with DPE (Healthcare Series)
- Outreach to Associations – APHA’s 2005 Annual Meeting Rescheduled
- DPE In the News
AFL-CIO HURRICANE RELIEF UPDATE
TOLL-FREE NUMBERS—Union members can call the AFL-CIO toll-free number,
1-877-AFLCIO9 (1-877-235-2469), to get hurricane relief help and to volunteer to take part in relief efforts. The Red Cross has posted a toll-free number in its shelters across the country as the resource for union members. Several affiliate unions also have toll-free numbers for members in need of help in the aftermath of Katrina. The list is available at www.aflcio.org/hurricane.
MORE VOLUNTEERS NEEDED—Please help get the word out. As many as 1,000 volunteers are needed to work in very difficult circumstances for three weeks at Red Cross shelters. Those interested in volunteering should send an e-mail to email@example.com or call 1-877-235-2469. In the Washington, D.C.-area, volunteers are needed to staff a 12-hour-a-day hurricane relief phone center at the AFL-CIO national office that handles calls from hurricane survivors as well as donors and volunteers. To sign up for the phone center, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
$10 MILLION AND COUNTING—Union members are responding generously to pleas to help hurricane survivors. The AFL-CIO Union Community Fund’s special Hurricane Relief Fund has received more than $330,000 on the way toward the AFL-CIO’s $500,000 goal. The fund is supporting AFL-CIO Worker Centers throughout the Gulf Coast area. Many affiliate unions have established their own funds to assist members (for a full list, see www.aflcio.org/hurricane). While most funds have not been totaled yet, early figures show unions and their members have donated more than $10 million. Tax-deductible contributions to the Union Community Fund Hurricane Relief Fund may be made online at https://secure.ga3.org/08/UCF_Katrina_Relief; checks may be mailed to Union Community Fund Hurricane Relief Fund, P.O. Box 27306, Washington, D.C. 20038-7306.
WORKER CENTERS OPEN—Across the country, union members are coming together in phenomenal ways to set up and staff Worker Centers to provide information and assistance to survivors of Katrina. In the Atlanta center, members of Communications Workers of America Local 3250 spent 15 hours installing and programming computers they donated. AFSCME Local 1644 and UAW Local 882 each are providing 10 full-time volunteers for two weeks to work at the center, which is housed in the auditorium of Electrical Workers Local 613. Two local doctors have volunteered their time to work at the center to provide medical care for survivors—they’re writing emergency prescriptions, providing eye exams and more. When the center opened last week, survivors came in and were “ecstatic” about being able to use the computers because computers at shelters always are busy, says Cynthia Ware, the AFL-CIO community services liaison in Atlanta. They are searching the Web primarily for loved ones, jobs and housing. For Sweetie Marsh, a volunteer at the Atlanta Center and member of CWA Local 3204, helping the survivors is her way of giving something back to her community. “You can’t help but have compassion and empathy for what people have experienced. As a union member, I wanted to do something to reflect the concern that we have for others.” The Atlanta Worker Center is one of seven the AFL-CIO has opened in the Southeast; others are in Baton Rouge, La.; Dallas; Houston; Mobile, Ala.; Pearl, Miss.; and San Antonio. Please let members know they can volunteer by calling the centers: Atlanta: 404-586-7393; Baton Rouge: 800-383-2464; Houston: 713-923-9473; Mobile: 251-478-0162, 251-478-0137 and 251-478-0118; and Pearl: 601-664-6855, 601-664-6097 and 601-664-6057. The numbers for the Dallas and San Antonio centers are not yet available.
SURVIVOR DATABASE ON TAP—The AFL-CIO is creating a database to connect union hurricane survivors with their unions and provide those unions with important information on their members’ needs. Katrina survivors can call the AFL-CIO toll-free hurricane hotline, 1-877-235-2469, or speak with staff at the Worker Centers to let volunteers know which union they belong to and where they now are located. The AFL-CIO will share the information with affiliate unions so they may contact their members.
FEDERAL REGULATIONS SUSPENDED—The AFL-CIO is fighting hard to overturn President George W. Bush’s executive order suspending the Davis-Bacon Act’s prevailing wages for federal construction contracts. The administration has suspended several other federal rules that protect workers.
NURSES AND SUPERVISORY STATUS—At the request of AFT, on September 13, 2005 DPE hosted a meeting to anticipate potentially crucial NLRB decisions – Oakwood Healthcare, Inc. and two others – about nurses and supervisory status. A bad result could strip nurse leaders from bargaining units nationally. DPE President Paul E. Almeida welcomed officers and staff from AFSCME, AFT, UAN, and USWA. He noted the pending cases could have ramifications not just for nurses, but for all professionals. AFL-CIO Associate General Counsel Nancy Schiffer framed the issues by explaining the statutory background, NLRB doctrine, and Supreme Court decisions. The participants focused on planning for collective bargaining, effective organizing, and messages that will mobilize a broad response.
To read or print out 10 questions on which the NLRB invited briefs in 2003, click on http://www.nlrb.gov/nlrb/press/releases/kyriver.pdf. Of the many briefs responding to the questions, two may be especially useful: the amicus (“friend of the court”) brief of the AFL-CIO, http://www.nlrb.gov/nlrb/about/foia/Oakwood%20KY%20River/7-RC-22141%20(Brief%2013).pdf, which focuses on the legal arguments; and the brief from the UAW and USWA joined by a number of other unions as amicus curiae, http://www.nlrb.gov/nlrb/about/foia/Oakwood%20KY%20River/7-RC-22141(Brief%2014).pdf, which ties the realities of nursing to the legal debate.
For questions or comments, contact David Cohen at DPE, email@example.com, 202-638-0320 extension 13.
RECORDING ARTS ON THE HILL—On September 7, 2005, the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), both affiliated with DPE, joined the Recording Academy, other music industry groups, and more than 50 music professionals from across the United States, for a first: Recording Arts Day on Capitol Hill. Designed to underscore for legislators and policy-makers the cultural, economic, and educational importance of music, the day ended with the 5th Annual Grammys on the Hill Awards dinner, hosted by the Recording Academy and co-sponsored by both AFTRA and AFM. Honored at the dinner were long-time union member and recording superstar Gloria Estefan; Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who chairs the Songwriters’ Caucus in the Senate; and Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Democratic Whip and an advocate for artists’ rights. Among the others in attendance: AFM President Tom Lee and AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR CLASSROOM TEACHERS—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. On September 1, 2005, DPE Assistant to the President David Cohen joined staff from AFT, the Council, the National Labor College, and the Teamsters in a professional development seminar for teachers and paraprofessionals in the Alexandria City Public Schools. In the morning, the agenda focused on young workers in service industries in the United States, from fast food to retail; in the afternoon, on young workers in the garment industry in Central American maquiladoras. The seminar participants planned to bring the materials to their home schools. They described the session as one of the best professional development days they had attended – a positive end to a productive project.
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 LIVES—On August 18, more than 60 representatives of labor, government, academic, women’s, consumer and community organizations, as well as professional societies, participated in a program 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. The program included vital information and winning strategies to achieve wellness and wholeness for individuals, their families, and communities.
OUTREACH TO ASSOCIATIONS—APHA’s 2005 ANNUAL MEETING RESCHEDULED: APHA’s Annual Meeting, scheduled for November 5-9 in New Orleans has been rescheduled for December 10-14 in Philadelphia. The three labor caucus sessions planned for the Annual Meeting include: 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. For information about the Annual Meeting, go to APHA’s Website: www.apha.org; for information about the Labor Caucus, contact Pamela Wilson, by phone, 202/638-6684 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
DPE IN THE NEWS – WPFW PROMOTES DPE—The Washington, DC-based Pacifica station, WPFW 89.3 FM, has promoted DPE Lunch and Learn programs, including the August program, Focus on Women: Pro-Active Strategies for Leading Longer and Healthier Lives and the September program, What’s Wrong with the Pharmaceutical Industry. DPE Assistant to the President Pamela Wilson, worked with WPFW To Heal DC producer, Joni Eisenberg, to develop on-air announcements, used throughout the day on the station. DPE has also facilitated interviews for speakers from a range of our affiliates on WPFW. For further information, contact Pamela Wilson, by phone, 202/638-6684 or email, email@example.com