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 is published every month. Issues of NewsLine are accessible on the DPE web page www.dpeaflcio.org. Feedback welcome; send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In This Issue:
- Mike Gildea to Retire
- Kentucky River Flows On
- DPE Unions Plan New Models of Unionism
- AEMI ICC – Organizing Research Strategically
- Immigration Bill Stalls
- Anti–Indecency Bill Passes but Without Performer Fines
- Scientist and Engineers – Vital Statistics
- Lunch and Learn with DPE – VA Health Care: It’s the System!
- Reaching out to Professional Associations – American Library Association
- Coming Soon… Depression & the Workplace: Labor’s Role in Promoting Health
- Signing On
- DPE in the News
MIKE GILDEA TO RETIRE – Seven years ago Mike Gildea joined the DPE as its legislative director and later as Executive Director. Mike has been masterful at focusing the department’s programs on the white collar workforce and making sure the AFL-CIO was on the same page. He is the resident expert at both the department and the AFL-CIO on H-1B, L-1 and other guest worker programs along with most immigration matters that deal with white collar workers.
Mike also knows the ins and the outs of the FCC and their many rules and how this Administration has attempted to change them. These rules not only affect members within several of the DPE unions but more importantly all of us as consumers of news. These are just a few of his strong points.
We will greatly miss Mike’s 38 years of labor experience and history. But mostly we’ll miss the daily friendship and leadership that he brought to the office everyday. Mike’s last day with DPE will be August 18th. This will end the 80 years reign of Gildeas in the labor movement, that’s how long Mike and his dad logged in on behalf of working families.
Mike and his lovely wife Peggy (recently retired from the Meany Center) are building a new home in North Carolina. Several events are being planned to wish Mike and Peggy well in their retirement. On August 10, from 2pm till 4pm a drop in reception will be held at the AFL-CIO building on the first floor, so if you are in the neighborhood please stop in and wish them well.
KENTUCKY RIVER FLOWS ON – The week of July 10, the AFL-CIO raised to national visibility issues around which unions affiliated with DPE created work groups a year ago. The AFL-CIO coordinated demonstrations in some 20 cities, including on July 13 at NLRB headquarters. DPE President Paul E. Almeida led the DPE staff in protesting there – with a thousand other unionists.
Under the National Labor Relations Act, a “supervisor” may be excluded from a bargaining unit and deprived of union representation. In a 2001 case involving nurses called Kentucky River, the Supreme Court rejected an NLRB attempt to define a “supervisor.” An AFT request in summer 2005 triggered extensive work by DPE and its affiliated unions to prepare for a decision in three cases requiring the NLRB to try again: Oakwood Healthcare, Inc., Golden Crest Healthcare Center, and Croft Metals, Inc.
If an NLRB dominated by Bush appointees misplaces the line between a “supervisor” and a lead person, the consequences could be disastrous. In a report of July 12, 2006, the Economic Policy Institute estimated hundreds of thousands of workers could lose contract protections while millions more become ineligible to organize; see http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/ib225.
Despite the stakes, the NLRB formally denied a request for oral argument. DPE joined its affiliated unions in lobbying members of Congress to ask for an NLRB hearing.
For questions or comments, contact David Cohen at DPE, email@example.com, 202-638-0320, extension 13.
Late night Comedy Channel viewers of the Colbert Report even saw Stephen Colbert take a shot at the Kentucky River case in his popular segment The Word to view this see:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arSyu4he-kU
DPE UNIONS PLAN NEW MODELS OF UNIONISM – At a June 15 meeting, unions affiliated with the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) divided its work on new models for unions among three multi-union work groups: union learning representatives (ULRs), professional associations, and independent contractors and antitrust.
Participants – representatives from AEA, AFGE, AFSCME, AFT, AFTRA, CWA, IATSE, IBEW, IFPTE, IUPAT, SAG, UAN, and USW, plus Albert Shanker Institute staff – signed up for one or more of the work groups. The first two groups will meet on July 24 (ULRs) and 25 (professional associations). All three work groups aim to report to the larger group in September.
DPE President Paul E. Almeida framed the objectives: to develop pilot programs of ULRs, to identify professional associations with which to meet, and to analyze the roles unions might play for independent contractors and other workers not in traditional employment relations. Professor Richard W. Hurd of Cornell gave a quick overview of the possibilities professional associations offer unions, while David Cohen, DPE Assistant to the President for Education and Organizational Development, did the same for the other two topics. Participants discussed candidly their unions’ interests in – and experiences with – each topic.
On July 19, at the invitation of the Albert Shanker Institute, David Cohen joined two meetings in Boston preceding the AFT convention: a presentation about ULRs in two major British teachers’ unions, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (by its Senior Assistant Secretary, Mary Howard) and the National Union of Teachers (by its President, Judy Moorhouse); and a meeting of the AFT delegation led by AFT Secretary-Treasurer Nat LaCour that studied ULRs in London through the British Trades Union Congress in May.
Over the last dozen years, ULRs have connected tens of thousands of English workers with educational and training programs, stemmed or reversed membership losses, and brought into union activism unprecedented numbers of women, minorities, and younger employees. The number of ULRs has soared to some 14,000, with a target of 22,000 by 2010. In one union, ULRs have become a part of a workplace team that includes union stewards and union health and safety representatives. For more information, click on http://www.unionlearn.org.uk/, which provides an overview of unionlearn, the umbrella program the TUC launched in May.
AEMI ICC – ORGANIZING RESEARCH STRATEGICALLY – On June 22, DPE President Paul E. Almeida convened a working group of the Arts, Entertainment and Media Industry, Industry Coordinating Committee (AEMI ICC) to focus on strategic research for organizing. Participating were representatives of AEA, AFM, AFTRA, NABET-CWA, TNG-CWA, IATSE, IBEW, OPEIU, SAG, WGA,E, and the AFL-CIO.
A union-by-union account of projects and plans brought a high degree of consensus about focal points for the research. Presentations by Ken Zinn, AFL-CIO Director for Strategic Research, and Ed Feigen, AFL-CIO Strategic Campaign Coordinator, refined the research objectives and began to shape its scope.
For additional information, please contact David Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 extension 13.
IMMIGRATION BILL STALLS – Opposition by GOP conservatives in the House to the Senate-passed amnesty/guest worker immigration bill has likely delayed action for several months. House Republicans have embarked on field hearings in an attempt to turn this issue into a political liability for the Democrats on what they’re calling “Kennedy-Reid” Senate bill. Meanwhile Kennedy and Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter are doing their own road show extolling the virtues of their bill including its panoply of guest worker proposals in the bill. The legislation includes some of the worst H-1B provisions imaginable courtesy of Kennedy. These provisions would allow in hundreds of thousands more H-1B foreign workers while all but destroying annual visa limits—caps—now mandated under immigration law. Under H-1B , generally an American employer can fire their U.S. workers and replace them with H-1Bs and the American worker has no recourse. Both DPE and the AFL-CIO have opposed the Senate bill.
With polls showing huge popular dissatisfaction with both Bush and the GOP Congressional majorities, the big question is—Will the Democrats blow this political opportunity to make real congressional gains (and shoot themselves in the foot over the immigration issue by appearing to be weak on the border security and the guest worker issues)?
Has Kennedy once again waltzed the Democrats down the primrose path as he did when he capitulated to Bush on both No Child Left Behind and Medicare Prescription Drugs, and then later recanted with public mea culpas? Only time and November 7 will tell.
ANTI–INDECENCY BILL PASSES BUT WITHOUT PERFORMER FINES – The hullabaloo that erupted after Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction” three years ago gave rise to a national anti-indecency jihad led principally by Christian right organizations. Their Goal: To impose huge fines on both networks and on-air talent for perceived indecent behavior. Ignoring serious first amendment issues, GOP opportunists in Congress saw a golden opportunity for a political “two-fer”, i.e. score points with their conservative political base while striking a blow at the liberal Hollywood and the entertainment communities.
Soon after the Jackson incident, Republicans introduced and quickly passed House legislation that would impose the first ever fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars against performers and broadcast professionals. Unions, including AFTRA and SAG as well as DPE, joined with the broadcast, music, TV and movie industries, first amendment advocates and others in opposing the legislation. In the meantime, local stations were so cowered by the anti-indecency crusade that many of them pulled an airing of Saving Private Ryan from the 2004 Veterans Day fare because of concerns over language content. Fortunately saner heads prevailed in the Senate where legislation increasing fines for objectionable content excluded on-air personalities—a view that prevailed in conference and was signed into law by Bush.
Sadly though, the anti-decency crusade didn’t end there. The trade press recently reported that the FCC, under new GOP Chairman Kevin Martin, is looking into a number of complaints regarding sports programming and the expletives deleted uttered by athletes, race car drivers and others. Stay tuned—the clash of the holy rollers versus NASCAR could be fun to watch!
SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS: VITAL STATISTICS – Scientists and engineersaccounted for 24% of the professional labor force in 2005. That year, 3,246,000 professional workers were employed in computer and mathematical occupations, while 2,558,000 were employed in engineering occupations and 1,087,000 in life and physical science occupations. Meanwhile, the latest Labor Department projections show that due to the increasing exodus of highly skilled jobs overseas, the vast majority of occupations expected to experience the largest job growth are low-wage service occupations. This is in sharp contrast to the 2000—2010 projections, which anticipated an IT boom.
This new fact sheet includes information on: current numbers and recent growth; occupational employment projections reflecting the offshoring of high tech and IT jobs; median weekly earnings; women’s situation; Blacks and Hispanics in science and engineering; and union membership.
Find it at: http://www.dpeaflcio.org/
To comment on the fact sheets or to obtain information about ongoing research, contact Pamela Wilson: 202/638-6684 or email@example.com.
NEW LUNCH & LEARN WITH DPE –
DEPRESSION & THE WORKPLACE: LABOR’S ROLE IN PROMOTING HEALTH – Noon – 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, August 2.
Every year, 9.5% of the population, or about 19 million American adults, suffer from a depressive illness – and there’s a strong link between depression and other chronic illnesses. The economic cost of this is high, but the cost in human suffering is incalculable. But there ARE model solutions—and unions have a key role to play in promoting employee wellness.
The program will address the signs, symptoms, causes, and effects of depression, as well as treatment options, and a discussion of model approaches to achieving and maintaining physical and mental health.
Speakers will include:
- MARILYN GASTON, M.D. (former Assistant Surgeon General) and GAYLE PORTER, Ph. D. (licensed clinical psychologist; former faculty at Johns Hopkins and Howard Universities), Co-Directors of the Gaston & Porter Health Improvement Center, and co-authors of Prime Time: The African American Woman’s Complete Guide to MidlifeHealth and Wellness.
And a panel of representatives from:
- NEW YORK STATE PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION, AFT
- UNITED STEELWORKERS (USW)
- COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS OF AMERICA (CWA)
Our moderator is:
- PAMELA BREWER, Ph.D., host of MyNDTALK on WPFW, 89.3 FM radio; a psychotherapist in private practice.
Materials from the programs are posted to the Website following the event:http://www.dpeaflcio.org/programs/lunch_and_learn.htm. The programs are now being recorded. Recordings from the program on the VA and the program on depression will be made available on the Website in August.
For further information, or to register, contact Pamela Wilson by phone: 202/638-6684 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
PREVIOUS LUNCH & LEARN –
VA HEALTH CARE: IT’S THE SYSTEM! “The VA health care system is the largest in the U.S.”, noted DPE President Paul E. Almeida, who chaired this June 20 Lunch & Learn program. “For the last six years, customer satisfaction with the system, as measured by the annual National Quality Research Center survey, exceeded that for private health care…. And this high level of quality was achieved without huge budget increases,” he said. He pointed to VA medical research that “benefits all Americans and has provided training to thousands of new practitioners.” This program focused on a discussion of the VA and the lessons that can be learned from it.
The program attracted more than 50 representatives from labor, veterans, public health, professional, government, community, consumer, and organizations as well as university faculty and students, and media representatives. Among the organizations represented were AFGE, AFSCME, AFT, IAM, IFPTE, LIUNA, NEA, UAN, UFCW, USW, the AFL-CIO, Department of Veterans Affairs, D.C. Department of Health, American Medical Women’s Association, Metro D.C. Public Health Association, American Rights at Work, Alliance for Retired Americans, America’s Agenda, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, DC Primary Care Association, Consumers Union, Summit Health Institute for Research and Education, National Partnership for Women and Families, Park and Howard Universities, and WPFW, 89.3 FM.
The program and discussion featured John M. Bradley, III, 37 years in the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee; Omega C. Logan Silva, M.D., M.A.C.P., Past President, American Medical Women’s Association; former assistant chief of the Metabolic Section and chief of the Diabetic Clinic, DC VAMC; and a panel from the frontlines: Kathryn Parker, RN, Washington, DC, VAMC (United American Nurses); J. David Cox, R.N., Salisbury, NC VAMC (AFGE); John Shalanski, DSW, Wilkes-Barre VAMC (AFGE), & Danny Soto, Disabled American Veterans.
This was the twelfth in a series of Lunch & Learns on the health care crisis sponsored by DPE.
REACHING OUT TO PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS – AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION – The Annual Conference was held June 22-28 in New Orleans and attracted more than 16,000 participants. It was the first major meeting to be held in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. At this meeting:
- A Resolution on Support for Freedom to Form Unions: The Employee Free Choice Act was adopted by ALA-APA.
DPE worked closely with the ALA-APA Committee on the Salary and Status of Library Workers toward the adoption of this resolution. The ALA-APA Council voted to adopt the resolution at the Annual Meeting on June 26.
- Awards: * AFSCME Local 1526 at the Boston Public Library (Council 93) was honored with the SirsiDynix-ALA-APA Award for outstanding achievement in promoting salaries and status of library workers and Eileen Muller, president of the Brooklyn Library Guild, Local 1482 (District Council 37), received an honorable mention.
* Joan Cassidy, librarian, New York State United Teachers, Latham, NY was honored as the 2006 recipient of the John Sessions Memorial Award presented by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of ALA, for her work in creating the Albert Shanker, “Where We Stand” database. The award is named in honor of John Sessions, former AFL-CIO Education Director and co-chair of the AFL-CIO/ALA Joint Committee.
ALA-APA sessions with a labor focus included: Benefits – Past, Present, & Future; Better Salaries and Pay Equity Advocacy Training; Successful Strategies for Collective Bargaining; Ignored Too Long: the Benefits of Managing a Library with a Union and Affordable Health Care Options. Sally Tyler, Public Policy Analyst, AFSCME, who discussed benefits for library workers, was among the union representatives on the agenda. The session on affordable health care options featured Jim Brown, Director of the Health Insurance Resource Center, Actors’ Fund of America:www.ahirc.org.
DPE has been a member of the AFL-CIO-ALA Joint Committee on Library Services to Labor Groups for the past two years. Pamela Wilson, Assistant to President Almeida, now co-chairs the Joint Committee and is working to expand its union membership. Union librarians Jessica Storrs, AFSCME, Barbara Rosen, CWA & Jannie Cobb, National Labor College are among its members. At this year’s annual meeting, the committee sponsored a session:
- Race, Poverty and Aging Baby Boomers, featuring Monique Harden, Esq., Co-Director, Advocates for Environmental Human Rights & Andrew Sum, Ph.D., Director of Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University. This session was a Library Journal “pick” for the ALA. Their PowerPoint presentations will be posted to the DPE Website.
Next year’s Annual Meeting will be held in Washington, D.C. Initial meetings to plan the 2007 meeting, including the development of bibliographies and other materials were held in New Orleans.
SIGNING ON – DPE joined AFGE, AFSCME, AFT, CWA, and other unions in a letter in a July 10 letter to Senators seeking the same appeal rights for federal employees against contracting out decisions that contractors receive.
DPE IN THE NEWS – As a prelude to the Lunch & Learn program on VA Health Care, DPE worked with the Washington, D.C.-based Pacifica station, WPFW, 89.3 FM to help facilitate an edition of To Heal DC, focused on VA health care, which aired on June 20. The program featured an interview with Lunch & Learn speaker, Omega C. Logan Silva, M.D., M.A.C.P., Past President, American Medical Women’s Association; former assistant chief of the Metabolic Section and chief of the Diabetic Clinic, DC VAMC. The Lunch & Learn was publicized on this and other programs on WPFW.