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:
- May 17 Day of Action
- DPE Executive Committee Looks Ahead
- Protecting Union Protections
- One Year Out of College, Women Already Earn Less
- DPE Attends House Education & Labor Hearing on Pay Equity
- Sisters on the Frontline: Organizing Women, Building Power
- Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis- and the People Who Pay the Price
- DPE Signs On
- DPE in the News
MAY 17 DAY OF ACTION – JOIN US! – On May 17, 2007, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is sponsoring a Transportation Day of Action. At its April 30 meeting, the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) Executive Committee unanimously endorsed the IAM rally. It declared: “DPE stands with the IAMAW in its May 17, 2007 Day of Action and urges all unions affiliated with DPE to notify IAMAW of their support and invite their members to participate.”
The day-long rally will begin at 10 am on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Speakers will include New York Senator Hillary Clinton, Delaware Senator Joe Biden and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich. More than 10,000 union members – including many from unions affiliated with DPE – and representatives of global unions are expected to attend.
The aim: to “articulate a clear message, ‘Enough is Enough!’ and to do so at the front end of the 2008 presidential election cycle,” said IAM Transportation General Vice President Robert Roach, Jr., who is coordinating the event. “Union members have suffered grievously under the current gang that occupies the White House, but on May 17 our members will make their voices heard.”
DPE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE LOOKS AHEAD – At an April 30, 2007 meeting, the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) Executive Committee began its review of recommendations from the DPE Strategic Planning Committee based on an open-ended survey of unions affiliated with DPE. The Executive Committee also adopted a revised DPE Mission Statement; appointed Actors’ Equity Association Executive Director John Connolly as a DPE General Vice President; and unanimously endorsed a resolution in support of the May 17 Transportation Day of Action (see “May 17 Day of Action – Join Us!” above).
PROTECTING UNION PROTECTIONS – The February/March 2007 DPE NewsLine anticipated an introduction of Congressional legislation to repair the damage from three crucial NLRB decisions about supervisory status. The goal: to bring the application of the National Labor Relations Act back to the intent of Congress.
On March 22, it happened: Representatives Robert Andrews (D-NJ) and Don Young (R-AK) and Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) introduced the Re-Empowerment of Skilled and Professional Employees and Construction Trade workers (RESPECT) Act (H.R.1644 and S.969). Also instrumental in the introduction: Representatives George Miller (D-CA) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).
Unions affiliated with DPE played leading roles in developing the proposed legislation and are working hard for its passage. The next step: a hearing on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 at 2:30 pm in Room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building by the House of Representatives Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee of the Committee on Education and Labor, “Are NLRB and Court Rulings Misclassifying Skilled and Professional Employees as Supervisors?”
On February 7, the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) hosted a chance to analyze the three NLRB decisions, Oakwood Healthcare, Golden Crest Healthcare, and Croft Metals. (See the January 2007 DPE NewsLine, “Crossing Kentucky River: Next Steps for Professional and Technical Employees.”) Speakers warned the cases dramatically expand the definition of who is a supervisor. In every occupation, industry, and sector, theOakwood cases raise a devastating possibility: that any employee who guides another’s work could become a supervisor and lose union protections.
On February 20, that possibility became a reality. In Salt Lake Regional Medical Center, the NLRB Regional Director in Denver decided on an NLRB remand that, under the Oakwood cases, he should exclude 64 of 88 challenged charge nurses from a bargaining unit of an estimated 150 to 180 Registered Nurses. The decision continues a case in which ballots on whether to certify a unit of the United American Nurses (UAN) were impounded in 2002. UAN has since appealed.
At a November 2006 meeting of the Arts, Entertainment and Media Industry (AEMI), Industry Coordinating Committee (ICC), two-thirds of the unions reported Oakwood issues in organizing or bargaining. Those reports set the scene for the February DPE conference.
In late 2006, a task force of lawyers from the AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions developed proposed legislation to repair the radical and dangerous Oakwood redefinition of “supervisor.” DPE circulated the proposal to AEMI unions, which responded positively. DPE also asked the AEMI ICC unions to designate representatives to join a campaign for the proposed legislative fix. DPE provided contact information for the designees to the AFL-CIO and continues to work with both the AFL-CIO and the RNs Working Together industry coordinating committee.
For information or comments, please contact DPE Executive Director David Cohen, email@example.com, 202-638-0320 extension 13.
ONE YEAR OUT OF COLLEGE, WOMEN ALREADY EARN LESS – NEW DPE FACT SHEET DOCUMENTS THE PAY GAP & MUCH MORE – As the American Association of University Women’s new report, Behind the Pay Gap, http://www.aauw.org/ clearly demonstrates, the serious and pervasive wage gap for professional women is apparent from the beginning of women’s working life, despite their superior academic achievement. One year out of college, women already earn less.
DPE’s new fact sheet, Salaried and Professional Women: Relevant Statistics, shows the financial value of union membership for professional women. Median weekly wages in predominantly female and consequently lower paid professional occupations show: Union preschool and kindergarten teachers earned a whopping 56.7% more than their non-union counterparts, while for elementary and middle school teachers, the union wage advantage was 34.6%. In 2006, union librarians earned almost 29% more than their non-union counterparts, while union social workers and counselors earned 27% and 26.4% more, respectively. For RNs, the union wage advantage was 15%.
The fact sheet provides information about the wage gap and the union wage advantage for professional and other women; women’s educational attainment; the employment distribution of men and women within professional and other occupations; and the changing American family.
Find it at http://www.dpeaflcio.org/programs/factsheets.htm. To obtain hard copies, contact Marcie Lawrence at 202/638-0320, ext. 16. To comment on it or for information about ongoing research, contact Pamela Wilson: 202/638-6684 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
DPE ATTENDS HOUSE EDUCATION & LABOR HEARING ON PAY EQUITY – On April 24, the House Committee held a hearing on the Equal Paycheck Act (P.L. 88-38) and the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 1338). The Senate held a similar hearing on April 12. Chair George Miller (D-CA) said, “On average, women’s wages constitute more than one-third of their families’ income. Paying women an equal salary for equal work is an immediate means to make these families more secure.” He stated, “Gender pay discrimination clearly has far-reaching implications for America’s economy and middle class.” In addition to Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), witness testimony was provided by Catherine Hill, Research Director, American Association of University Women; Heather Boushey, Senior Economist, Center for Economic and Policy Research; Dedra Farmer, plaintiff in the Wal-Mart sex-discrimination class action suit; and Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Director, Center for Employment Policy at the Hudson Institute. Find valuable comments and data at http://edworkforce.house.gov/hearings/fc042407.shtml.
The House Committee hearing was held on April 24 –– Equal Pay Day –– a day that marks the number of extra days in 2007 that a female worker nationwide must work, in addition to all of 2006, to equal the median pay for a male worker in 2006 alone. The National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) initiated Equal Pay Day in 1996 to increase public awareness of the wage gap between women and men. Following the hearing, representatives of AFT, TNG-CWA, AFGE, and CLUW rallied with AAUW, NCPE, and other pay equity groups on the West Lawn of the Capitol, where speakers highlighted the fact that a woman worker earns only 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Pamela Wilson, Assistant to DPE President Almeida, joined them.
SISTERS ON THE FRONTLINE: ORGANIZING WOMEN, BUILDING POWER – More than 200 women met in New York City to share insights, strategies and resources for organizing women at a March 30-April 1 conference hosted by Cornell University’s Institute for Women and Work. The agenda featured a broad range of unions and community groups, as well as academics focused on women and unions, including Professors Kate Bronfenbrenner and Lois Gray from Cornell University, and Rutgers University professor Dorothy Sue Cobble. Among the presenters and discussants were Flora Stamatiades, National Director, Organizing & Special Projects, Actors’ Equity Association; Jane La Tour, Associate Editor, Public Employee Press, AFSCME DC 37; Fran Streich, Home Child Care Provider Coordinator, United Federation of Teachers; and Laura Unger, President, CWA, Local 1150. Carolyn Jacobson, Coalition of Labor Union Women, was among the panelists discussing the Berger Marks Report, Women Organizing Women: How To Rock The Boat Without Getting Thrown Off (www.bergermarks.org), which explores ways to increase the ranks of women organizers and support them in their work. To learn more about the conference, including the new book released in conjunction with the conference, The Sex of Class: Women Transforming American Labor, visit http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/iww/events/sistersFrontline.html.
SICK: THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICA’S HEALTH CARE CRISIS – AND THE PEOPLE WHO PAY THE PRICE – On April 17,the Kaiser Family Foundation hosted a forum to discuss Jonathan Cohn’s new book, Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis – and the People Who Pay the Price. The book weaves a series of originally reported narrative stories with a history of health insurance and a close-up look at the business of medicine in America. It ends by examining proposals for reform and comparing America’s health care system to some systems abroad. DPE Assistant to the President, Pamela Wilson, participated in this event. For transcripts and other information, see http://www.kaisernetwork.org/health_cast/hcast_index.cfm?display=detail&hc=21100.
DPE SIGNS ON – In March and April, DPE joined many of its affiliates in letters to House and Senate appropriators opposing federal measures aimed at privatization and contracting out; see http://www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/letters/00231603.pdf,http://www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/letters/00231604.pdf,http://www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/letters/00231605.pdf,http://www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/letters/Interior%20Privatization%20Sign-On%20Letter.pdf,
DPE also joined several of its affiliates, consumer advocacy organizations, and other unions in a call for a consumer protection framework as the implementation of health information technology progresses; see http://www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/letters/.
DPE IN THE NEWS – DPE President Paul Almeida was featured on Lou Dobbs Tonight regarding the new bill that would increase the number of H1-B high tech visas. The show aired on March 23, 2007.
On April 3, 2007, President Almeida appeared on PBS’ Nightly Business Report to discuss why there were no H1-B visas left after one day of accepting applications.