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:
- DPE’s Executive Committee Meets
- AGMA, Washington Ballet Achieve Collective Bargaining Agreement, Ending Three-Month Lock-Out
- Pending Decision: Nurses, other Professionals, Leads
- First Katrina Radio Town Hall Broadcast/Meeting
- Lunch and Learn with DPE – Health Consequences of the War in Iraq
- Professionals on the Rise in the Work Force & the Labor Movement – New DPE Fact Sheet Includes Latest Finding
- Health Care and Information Technology
- Signing On
- DPE in the News
DPE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETS – As part of the AFL-CIO’s winter meeting the DPE’s Executive Committee met in San Diego on February 26. Three vacancies were filled according to the DPE’s constitution by the Executive Committee. Filling the remainder of the existing term which ends in June 2009 is Baxter Atkinson, President of the American Federation of School Administrators; Nancy Wohlforth, Secretary-Treasurer, Office and Professional Employees International Union; and John McGuire, Senior Advisor, Screen Actors Guild.
AGMA, WASHINGTON BALLET ACHIEVE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT ENDING THREE-MONTH LOCK-OUT
AGMA (The American Guild of Musical Artists, AFL-CIO) and the Washington Ballet, reached an agreement on Monday, March 6, 2006, ending a three-month lock-out that threatened the prestigious ballet company’s season. According to AGMA, the agreement was reached after a five-day bargaining marathon, mediated by the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service.
BENEFIT GOES FORWARD
GOTTA DANCE, Featuring Stars of the Washington Ballet
March 9 – 12, 2006
American Dance Institute
Dancers from the Washington Ballet will perform in GOTTA DANCE, a benefit sponsored by the American Dance Institute, from March 9 – 12 at 1570 East Jefferson Street, Rockville MD. Tickets are $35. Reservations: 301.984.3003. Proceeds will go to the dancers, who have been locked out the Washington Ballet since this past December.
PENDING DECISION: NURSES, OTHER PROFESSIONALS, LEADS – Pending before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are three cases – Oakwood Healthcare, Inc., Golden Crest Healthcare Center, and Croft Metals, Inc. – that could damage workplace protections for nurses, other professionals, and lead workers of every sort in the private sector. In January, President Bush made recess appointments that give the NLRB a full complement of Board members and make a decision soon more likely. That decision could affect the line between lead workers – whose rights are protected under the National Labor Relations Act – and supervisors, whose rights are not.
On February 28, 2006, David Cohen, Assistant to the President for Education and Organizational Development, briefed union legislative representatives in the AFL-CIO Health Care Task Force. Joining him in the presentation were Mary Lehman MacDonald, AFT Healthcare Director; Bill Cunningham, AFT Associate Director of Legislation; and Sam Lieberman, AFT Legal Fellow. Lobbyists participating in the discussion came not only from unions representing nurses and other professionals, but from the Building and Construction Trades Department and its affiliates.
A DPE initiative sparked by an AFT request in summer 2005 developed a menu of bargaining possibilities, backed by legal analysis, with which to anticipate a bad NLRB decision. It also led to a work group focusing on messages, education and mobilization, which conferred by conference call on February 23.
Also on February 23, eight unions – the United American Nurses (UAN), the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), United Steelworkers (USW), Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) and the United Auto Workers (UAW) – announced an alliance representing nearly 200,000 registered nurses, RNs Working Together. At its winter meeting the following week, the AFL-CIO Executive Council approved RNs Working Together as an Industry Coordinating Committee. RNs Working Together took the threat to nurses’ advocacy for patients from the pending NLRB cases as its first focus; to see its fact sheet, click on http://www.aft.org/healthcare/download/RNsworkingtogether.pdf.
For questions or comments, contact David Cohen at DPE, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320, extension 13.
FIRST KATRINA RADIO TOWN HALL BROADCAST/MEETING – The first radio Town Hall broadcast/meeting was held on February 18 in Houston, the city with the largest concentration of Katrina survivors outside Louisiana. Among the speakers were Wilson C. Boveland, Director of Member Rights, United Teachers of New Orleans; Juanita Bailey, Grievance Specialist, United Teachers of New Orleans and Jim Lefton, Representative, United Steelworkers. Among the participants were representatives of the Houston Federation of Teachers, the United Teachers of New Orleans, CWA, USW and other unions. The program was broadcast on KPFT, 90.1 FM, Houston’s Pacifica station and on KPFK, 90.7, its Los Angeles sister station; Internet listeners could stream the broadcast via the Pacifica Website, www.pacifica.org. Further Town Hall broadcasts/meetings are being planned for the spring.
Emerging from a DPE Lunch & Learn on the lessons of Katrina held November 9, 2005, this new communications project involving labor, community organizations and the Pacifica radio network aims to provide accurate information and resources to facilitate the return of residents to the Gulf Coast region. Communication will take place by means of Town Hall meetings simulcast, locally and nationally on noncommercial and commercial broadcast media.
For more information about this project, see http://www.dpeaflcio.org/interest/interest_02-13-2006.htm or contact Pamela Wilson by phone: 202/638-6684, or email, email@example.com.
LUNCH AND LEARN WITH DPE – HEALTH CONSEQUENCES OF THE WAR IN IRAQ – DPE President Paul E. Almeida noted that the AFL-CIO resolution calling for the rapid return of all troops from Iraq adopted in July 2005, marked “the first time in its 50-year history that the federation has taken a position squarely in opposition to a major U.S. foreign policy or military action. This historic event paved the way for today’s program,” he said, introducing the February 23 Lunch and Learn program, “Health Consequences of the War in Iraq.”
The program attracted more than 60 people from labor, public health, government, public interest, community, and professional organizations, as well as university faculty and students, and members of the media. Among the organizations represented were AFGE, CWA, IAM, IFPTE, OPEIU, TNG-CWA, UMWA, Utility Workers, AFL-CIO, Coalition for Labor Union Women, Center to Protect Workers Rights, U.S. Labor Against the War, Fairfax Education Association, American Medical Students Association, American Medical Women’s Association, Metro D.C. Public Health Association, DC Primary Care Association, Society of Primary Care Policy Fellows, D.C. Department of Health, Society for Occupational and Environmental Health, Families, USA, Military Families Speak Out, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Green Party, Center on Disability and Health, Gray Panthers, CA Health Care Organizing Project, George Washington, American, East Carolina, and Maryland Universities, WPFW 89.3 FM, and Press Associates.
The program and discussion featured Barry Levy, M.D., co-editor of War and Public Health; Past-President, American Public Health Association and a panel including, Brooks Sunkett, Vice-President for Public, Healthcare and Education Workers, CWA; Nancy Wohlforth, Secretary-Treasurer, OPEIU; Co-convener of U.S. Labor Against the War; Garret Reppenhagen, Iraq Veterans Against the War, who served in Iraq as Cavalry Scout/Sniper with the U.S. Army’s First Infantry Division; Elizabeth Frederick, Military Families Speak Out, an organization of 3,000 military families who oppose the war in Iraq and have a loved one who served or serves in the military. A transcript of this program along with other information related to the program will be posted on the DPE Website later in March.
The Iraq War Lunch and Learn was the tenth in a series of DPE programs examining the health care crisis. DPE is planning to feature a version this program at the Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association, which will be held November 4 – 8 in Boston. The Department is discussing other possibilities for building on this program.
A Lunch and Learn on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Displacement and other Psychological Problems in the Aftermath of War, Hurricanes and Other Disasters is planned for April 26.
For further information about the series, contact Pamela Wilson by phone, 202/638-6684, or email, firstname.lastname@example.org
PROFESSIONALS ON THE RISE IN THE WORK FORCE & THE LABOR MOVEMENT – NEW DPE FACT SHEET INCLUDES LATEST FINDINGS – Employment in professional and related occupations is expected to grow faster and add more workers (six million) than any other major occupational group, according to the latest projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This amounts to a 21.1% increase in professional and related workers between 2004 and 2014 (24 of the 30 fastest-growing occupations require a post-secondary award or higher) while total U.S. employment is projected to increase by less than 13% over this period. White collar workers already account for 63% of the work force and more than 51% of all union members. Currently, there are more union members among professionals than any other occupational group. A new fact sheet from DPE examines the changing world of work, including the rapid growth in professional and related occupations, growing disparities in educational requirements for new jobs, union membership among professionals and other workers, the growth of the service sector, and the status of white collar women.
To obtain copies of DPE fact sheets, visit the Website, www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/factsheets/htm, or email Marcie Lawrence, email@example.com. For information about ongoing research, contact Pamela Wilson, by phone: 202/638-6684, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
HEALTH CARE AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY – Through the Department of Health and Human Services, the Bush Administration established the so-called “American Health Information Community” (AHIC) to push for the national use of information technology in health care. DPE has participated actively in a coalition of consumer groups hosted by the National Partnership for Women and Families and, last month, contributed to developing and revising a set of consumer principles on health information technology (HIT). The coalition sent the principles – which will be posted to the DPE website – to the AHIC staff.
DPE and its union allies are pushing for principles that will respect patients and the health care workforce: input for health care workers from the start in developing HIT; integrating HIT in the workplace; keeping HIT data from being off-shored and thus threatening U.S. patient data confidentiality; and providing funds for retraining workers HIT displaces. DPE has urged also the creation and maintenance of a firewall shielding electronic medical records from employers and insurers.
For questions or comments, please contact David Cohen at DPE, 202-638-0320 x. 13, email@example.com.
SIGNING ON – DPE has joined other unions and consumer groups in commenting on proposed rules for donations to health care providers of items relating to health information technology, a sensitive area because of the potential for abuse in seeking patient referrals; see http://www.dpeaflcio.org/pdf/Comments%20-%20Proposed%20Rule%20CMS-1303-P.pdf and http://www.dpeaflcio.org/pdf/Comments%20-%20Proposed%20Rule%20OIG-405-P.pdf.
DPE IN THE NEWS – In the days prior to the Lunch & Learn, “Health Consequences of the War in Iraq,” the hosts of several shows airing on WPFW, 89.3 FM., including Joni Eisenberg, To Heal DC; and Damu Smith, Spirit in Action, announced the program and provided contact and other information. Gloria Minott, host of Metro Watch (Local News) interviewed Pamela Wilson about theprogram on February 22. The program was reported on in an article for Press Associates Union News Service, “Iraq War’s U.S. Health Impact Goes Beyond Troops”, posted under Breaking News on www.dpeaflcio.org.
In addition, the DPE and a few of its affilates were mentioned in the press recently. Please click the following link for more information: http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006603020526.