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:
- Capitol Majorities
- In Arts, Entertainment and Media, Coming Together for Workers
- DPE to FCC: For Democracy, Oppose Media Consolidation
- Working on Work: Unions Build New Models
- US Health Care System in International Perspective – New Fact Sheet
- Outreach to Associations: American Public Health Association Annual Meeting
- Lunch and Learn with DPE
CAPITOL MAJORITIES – On November 7, 2006, organized labor made history. It won worker-friendly majorities in both Houses of Congress, elected governors, and ended anti-worker rule in many state legislative chambers. From DPE President Paul E. Almeida to intern Kathleen Hyland, every member of the DPE staff pitched in – and DPE was proud to join the extraordinary efforts of its affiliated unions and the AFL-CIO.
IN ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT AND MEDIA, COMING TOGETHER FOR WORKERS –On November 15, 2006, the Arts, Entertainment, and Media Industry (AEMI), Industry Coordinating Committee (ICC) convened around a jam-packed agenda that ranged from crucial public policy to strategic organizing research.
Chaired by DPE President Paul E. Almeida, the meeting brought together representatives from 10 unions affiliated with DPE – AEA, AFM, AFTRA, NABET-CWA, TNG-CWA, IATSE, IBEW, OPEIU, SAG, and WGA,E – plus the AFL-CIO and Cornell University. First up: the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) review of its media ownership rules. In field hearings by Commissioners Adelstein and Copps and an official FCC hearing in Los Angeles on October 3, the unions affiliated with DPE spoke out, individually and in coalitions, for democracy, diversity, and localism. Like DPE, many also filed comments with the FCC. See “DPE to FCC: For Democracy, Oppose Media Consolidation” below.
In June 2006, DPE hosted a meeting of AEMI organizing directors, who outlined a template for strategic research. AFL-CIO Director for Strategic Research Ken Zinn sketched the importance of that research for the workers whom the unions in the AEMI ICC represent. He introduced Maria Figueroa and Jeff Grabelsky of Cornell University, who will work with the AEMI ICC, its constituent unions, the AFL-CIO, and DPE to carry out the research.
The meeting also took up affiliate reports about organizing, negotiations, and specific employers; ways to enable other unions to identify and use union employers in producing and broadcasting events and commercials; and an announcement from TNG-CWA President Linda Foley of December 11, 2006 as a day of action, Stand Up for Journalism, to protest nationwide job cuts, with the theme “Democracy Depends on Journalism. Good Jobs Mean Good Democracy.”
DPE TO FCC: FOR DEMOCRACY, OPPOSE MEDIA CONSOLIDATION – If big media conglomerates grow bigger, what happens to democracy? What happens to a diversity of viewpoints, local news, and competition?
For the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), guardian of the public airwaves, these are key questions. Its 2003 proposals – heavily tilted toward the Bush Administration constituency of Biggest Business and rejected in 2004 by a Court of Appeals – were hardly reassuring. In 2005, the Supreme Court let the Court of Appeals decision stand. So the FCC went back to the drawing board in July. See http://www.fcc.gov/ownership/.
On October 23, 2006, unions affiliated with DPE, DPE, and the AFL-CIO weighed in. Our view: Ownership matters. Lifting ownership limits will mean increased consolidation, fewer sources of content, whether news, entertainment, or music; less local content, less diversity of opinion, and higher barriers to minority ownership.
For the joint AFL-CIO/DPE comments to the FCC, see “DPE to FCC: Oppose Media Consolidation, Ensure Different Points of View – AFL-CIO & DPE Comments, October 23, 2006” at http://www.dpeaflcio.org/. Here are other materials from DPE affiliates:
AFM comments (with Future of Music Coalition)
CWA news release
SAG news release
SAG, DGA, PGA, AFTRA comments
By the October 23 FCC deadline, its reconsideration drew 128,753 comments; see http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/websql/prod/ecfs/comsrch_v2.hts. Reply comments are due by December 21, 2006.
The FCC held its first public hearing on October 3 in Los Angeles; see “In Arts, Entertainment And Media, Coming Together For Workers” above. On November 14, the FCC announced its second public hearing on December 11 in Nashville, TN. On November 22, the FCC released information about 10 studies it plans.
WORKING ON WORK: UNIONS BUILD NEW MODELS – Define traditional employment as working full-time for a single employer at a single location on a fixed schedule, and it’s dwindling in the U.S. A quarter of all U.S. workers are part-time, contingent, project hires, temporary, networked from their homes with high-speed data, independent contractors – anything but traditional employees – and the trend is accelerating.
Over two-and-a-half years, unions affiliated with DPE have worked under its auspices – and in partnership with the Albert Shanker Institute (ASI) – to create new models for unions representing professional and technical workers in the new world of work. In October, three work groups met for a second time around professional associations, independent contractors and antitrust, and union learning representatives (ULRs). In one or more of the three meetings were representatives from AEA, AFM, AFSCME, AFT, AFTRA, CWA, IAMAW, IFPTE, IUPAT, SAG, USW, and ASI.
At the October 10 meeting of the Work Group on Professional Associations, Professor Richard W. Hurd of Cornell described one association’s effective use of market segmentation to increase its membership. Its tailoring of services by career stage brought growth despite a stable constituency. Phil Kugler, AFT Assistant to the President for Organization and Field Services, reported on the affiliation of a professional association with AFT. Maria Somma, Organizing Coordinator for the USW Health Care Workers Council, detailed employer efforts to deskill a profession through delegation and automation. The theme of deskilling resonated, both as a shared concern with professional associations and a threat to the public safety.
The Work Group on Independent Contractors and Antitrust met on October 13, 2006. Its September meeting brought three focal points: 1) to investigate how individuals and unions can combat employers’ abuses in misclassifying employees as independent contractors; 2) to analyze the limits for genuinely independent contractors who want to organize through unions; and 3) to clarify the role of a union in a unit affected by independent contractors doing the same work. With regard to opposing misclassification, DPE staff reviewed multiple initiatives at the federal and state levels, including labor partnerships, legislation, and research. The participants decided to ask the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee to host a workshop on misclassification at its annual conference.
The Work Group on Union Learning Representatives met on October 16, 2006. In England, ULRs connected tens of thousands of organized workers over the last 12 years with educational and training programs, reversed union membership losses, and brought into union activism women, minorities, and younger employees. The number of ULRs soared to some 14,000, with a target of 22,000 by 2010. For more information, click on http://www.unionlearn.org.uk/.
The ULR work group took up a draft definition of ULRs for U.S. unions, key decisions for piloting a ULR program, and model collective bargaining agreements from English unions that provided for ULRs. Especially valuable were reflections from CWA on its long experience with continuing lifelong learning.
US HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IN INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE – NEW FACT SHEET – Despite having the smallest percentage of the population with government assured coverage of any developed nation (34% versus 100% in most developed countries), Americans pay the highest health care taxes in the world. The U.S. spends considerably more on health than any other OECD country and also spends the highest proportion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on health care. Meanwhile, the U.S. ranked 37th out of 191 member states in terms of “overall health system performance” in the World Health Organization’s 2000 World Health Report (below such countries as Columbia, Saudi Arabia, and Portugal). The U.S. has the seventh highest infant mortality of the 30 OECD member countries and the ninth lowest life expectancy of the OECD member countries.
This updated and expanded fact sheet includes information on the three main types of health care programs in OECD countries, and covers the high private administrative costs of the U.S. health care system; health insurance: rising premiums and falling coverage; portrait of the uninsured in America; disproportionately less coverage for small firms, part-time workers, younger workers, children, and minorities; the effects of less coverage on health; and the quality of U.S. health care in an international context.
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
OUTREACH TO ASSOCIATIONS: AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETING, NOVEMBER 4 -8 IN BOSTON. APHA attracted close to 14,000 participants to its Annual Meeting in Boston. The Labor Caucus, currently chaired by DPE Assistant to the President Pamela Wilson, plans programs and develops potential resolutions. At the 2006 Annual Meeting Labor Caucus sessions included:
- Labor Rights Are Human Rights
- Nurse Supervisory Status: Prescription for Instability?
- Labor, the War in Iraq & Public Health
- This session was followed by a special discussion session, Taking Action
- A plenary session, War & Public Health, sponsored by the Peace Caucus, featured a focus on U.S. Labor Against the War
The sessions were cosponsored by several major Sections and Caucuses within APHA. The session on Labor Rights Are Human Rights was also co-sponsored by American Rights at Work. Continuing education credits were available for all three Labor Caucus sessions.
Resolution on the Right for Employee Free Choice to Form Unions Adopted — APHA adopted a resolution on the Employee Free Choice Act on November 7. Co-sponsored by the Labor Caucus and the Occupational Health and Safety Section, the resolution will soon be posted to the APHA Website, along with all resolutions adopted in 2006, http://www.apha.org/legislative/policy/policysearch, as well as posted by DPE.
Press Briefing: Exploring the Health Consequences of War – The Labor Caucus and Peace Caucus joined together for a press briefing – one of two at the APHA Annual Meeting. It included a discussion of the health and domestic implications of war in Iraq and the role of peace-building as an approach to preventing war, as well as a discussion of recent research documenting the association between armed conflict and adverse health outcomes in the Congo and Sierra Leone. The briefing included a focus on U.S. Labor Against the War and Military Families Speak Out was aimed at the long-term development of articles on the health consequences of war.
Available materials from the sessions will be posted to the DPE Website, along with the resolution, under DPE and Professional Associations, along with materials from sessions organized by DPE for the meetings of other professional associations.
Materials are also being distributed to relevant Sections and Caucuses within APHA including Public Health Nursing, Occupational Health and Safety, and to other organizations, including the National Association of Public Health Policy and U.S. Labor Against the War, among others.
We encourage participation in planning events and developing policies for the 2007 Annual Meeting which will be held November 3-7 in Washington, D.C. For additional information about the Labor Caucus, contact Pamela Wilson: 202/638-0320 or email@example.com. For information about the Annual Meeting, visit the Website, www.apha.org
LUNCH AND LEARN WITH DPE – A program on the Outsourcing of Medical Jobs is being planned for early 2007. It will feature a focus on outsourcing of medical jobs both in the U.S. and abroad, a discussion of medical tourism, and will include a panel of labor and other experts. More details in the next edition of Newsline.
Three previous programs in the series: * The War in Iraq and at Home; * Depression & the Workplace: Labor’s Role in Promoting Wellness, and * VA Health Care: It’s the System! can be heard on the DPE Website: http://www.dpeaflcio.org/. In addition, CDs of each of these programs can also be purchased for $10, including postage and handling. To place an order, contact Pamela Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written materials from the entire series of programs are available from the Website.
For further information about the series, contact Pamela Wilson at 202/638-6684 or email@example.com.