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 ofNewsLine are accessible on the DPE web page www.dpeaflcio.org. Feedback welcome; send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In This Issue:
- Beneath the Radar on Employee Free Choice
- Flawed Immigration Bill Dies in Senate
- Outreach to the American Library Association
- Outreach to the American Public Health Association
- Better Legislation for Better Health IT
- New Fact Sheet Focuses on School Administrators
- DPE General Board Looks Ahead
- DPE Signs On
- DPE in the News
BENEATH THE RADAR ON EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE – On Tuesday, June 26, 2007, Republican Senators blocked the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). They kept Democrats and independents from the 60 votes needed to win cloture. A 51-48 majority favoring EFCA was not enough. But as Americans push to make our economy work for the middle class – and not just the rich – the Republican obstructionists may have paved the way for workers and our unions to win in 2008.
Among labor activists, that much is common knowledge. Less widely known is the behind-the-scenes work that went into building the EFCA majority. A part of that work came through DPE collaboration with professional associations that provided support from other than the usual suspects. Among the recent outcomes:
● A June 20 letter from the American Public Health Association (APHA) to every member of the Senate “in strong support” of EFCA, signed by APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (Emeritus) and citing a 2006 policy APHA adopted calling on Congress to pass EFCA;
● A statement from the American Library Association (ALA) in support of EFCA, following up on a resolution DPE Assistant to the President Pamela Wilson helped to develop in collaboration with representatives of the AFL-CIO and the ALA-Allied Professional Association;
● Distribution of the Working Families E-Activist Network EFCA Alert to ALA Governing Council members and to several large ALA listservs;
● Distribution of the same Alert to several listservs within APHA, including the Labor Caucus and Occupational Health and Safety Section and to APHA Leadership; and
● Broad distribution of EFCA materials in sessions and meetings at the APHA and ALA annual meetings.
For the professional and technical employees whom the national unions affiliated with DPE represent, DPE President Paul E. Almeida urged Senators to pass EFCA. See http://www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/letters/22176.pdf.
FLAWED COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION BILL DIES IN SENATE – On June 28 shortly after 11:00am the Senate/White House version of a comprehensive immigration bill died when 53 senators voted not to end floor debate, preventing the bill from moving forward to a final vote. In its current form it was unlikely that this bill would have survived House passage anyway.
The AFL-CIO and union leaders announced they opposed the “dangerously flawed” immigration reform bill before the Senate because it would depress wages for all employees and create a permanent underclass of workers. DPE was focused on provisions within the bill that would have placated business interest by lifting the cap on H1-B visas substantially while provided few if no protections for American workers.
OUTREACH TO THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION – The ALA Annual Conference brought 30,000participants to Washington, D.C. from June 21—27.
About 100 people participated in the AFL-CIO – ALA Joint Committee on Library Services to Labor Groups’program, “Aging and Activism” on June 25. It included findings from the latest research on brain health and psychology, as well as a discussion of the need for activism to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens, with a special focus on retiree legislative and political issues. The program featured Gene Cohen, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Center on Aging, Health and Humanities, George Washington University, who has been very active in establishing new programs focused on understanding, studying and promoting creativity that accompanies aging (cahh.gwu.edu) and Edward Coyle, Executive Director, Alliance for Retired Americans, a nationwide organization of more than 3.6 million members in 1,200 local chapters in thirty-one states (www.retiredamericans.org). Launched in 2001 by a broad coalition of community-based organizations and AFL-CIO affiliated unions, the Alliance unites retirees who are committed to protecting the health and economic security of older Americans.
The program was chaired by ALA-AFL-CIO Joint Committee co-chairs, Mary Parker, Associate Director, MINITEX Library Information Network at the University of Minnesota’s Andersen Library and DPE Assistant to the President, Pamela Wilson. A range of DPE, AFL-CIO and other materials were distributed at this session, including a new Retirement Resources Handbook developed by two ALA members of the Joint Committee: Rita Moss, Business and Economics Librarian, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Laura Leavitt, Human Resources and Labor Librarian, Michigan State University. Copies of the handbook are available from Pamela Wilson, email@example.com
During ALA, the Joint Committee met to plan it program for the June 2008 Annual Conference program in Anaheim, California. The Committee has chosen to continue focus on well-being, with a program titled, “Dude, Where’s My Retirement – and My Health Care?” Thanks to Jannie Cobb, Librarian and faculty member, National Labor College, a committee brochure is being developed. Labor members of the committee include Jessica Storrs, AFSCME, Barbara Rosen, CWA, and Jannie Cobb, NLC, among others.
The Committee’s booth in the Exposition Hall featured labor materials, including fact sheets, bibliographies, brochures and resource guides. Information about the union-busting campaign underway at the Library of Congress (LC) was distributed along with information about recent developments at the Library which have huge implications for the future of reference, cataloging and scholarship in research libraries. See www.guild2910.org. Special thanks for staffing the booth to Saul Schniderman and Gary Johnson, AFSCME Local 2910, Jessica Storrs, AFSCME, and Jannie Cobb, NLC, and other members of the Joint Committee.
In addition to its work with the Joint Committee, DPE has been working closely with the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) for several years, assisting in the development of programs, materials and resolutions and distributing DPE, affiliate and AFL-CIO materials. Several ALA-APA sessions featured representatives from DPE affiliates including AFSCME and AFT:
- Connie Cordovilla, Associate Director, Human Rights and Community Relations Department, AFT was a speaker at “Justice You Can Bank On”. This program on pay equity also featured Michele Leber, Chair, National Committee on Pay Equity and Elisabeth Gehl, Director of Public Policy, Business and Professional Women-USA.
- Saul Schniderman, President, Library of Congress Professional Guild, AFSCME Local 2910 was among the speakers at the Annual ALA-APA Networking Breakfast.
- “Getting What You’re Worth Salary Workshop” included a discussion of negotiations at the New York Public Library by Ray Markey, former president of the New York Public Library Guild AFSCME Local 1939 and a focus on negotiations options for nonunion individuals, with a reminder of non-salary options and a perspective from academic libraries from Connie Maxwell, Assistant Director of Libraries for Research Services, Texas Woman’s University.
- Jim Brown, Director of the Health Insurance Resource Center, Actors’ Fund of America, who runs the Access to Health Insurance/Resources for Health Care Website, www.ahirc.org, returned to ALA to discuss affordable health care options.
In another key ALA-APA session, “ALA-APA Salary Surveys –What the Librarian and Non-MLS Surveys Tell Us,”Jenifer Grady, Director, ALA-APA, addressed the findings of these extensive and detailed salary surveys. ALA has collected and published salary information since 1982. To obtain copies of the ALA-APA Salary Survey 2006: Librarian – Public and Academic and the ALA-APA Salary Survey 2006: Non MLS Public and Academic, visit http://www.alastore.ala.org or call 866-746-7252.
Also of note: ALA-APA will soon launch the Library Salary Database with salaries from 68 librarian and non-MLS positions. Users may choose reports for each position by library type, state and/or region. There is a trial version of the database at http://cs.ala.org/websurvey/salarysurvey/trial/index.cfm. For more information, contact the ALA-APA Office at 800-545-2433, x2424 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ALA-APA Committee on the Salaries and Status of Library Workers and its subcommittees met during ALA and discussed its research and programmatic activities. Among the sessions being planned for 2008 is, “The Union Advantage for Managers, Professionals, and Other Highly Skilled White Collar Workers.” Separate subcommittees focus on pay equity; research and statistics; and unions. Pamela Wilson became chair of the union subcommittee to further assist the connection between ALA-APA and DPE affiliates.
Library workers are represented by DPE affiliates including AFGE, AFSCME, AFT, CWA, IFPTE, OPEIU, and USW. For information about ALA and the Annual Meeting, see www.ala.org; for information about the meetings of the Joint Committee or the ALA-APA Committee on the Salaries and Status of Library Workers, or to learn more about DPE’s involvement, contact Pamela Wilson by phone, 202-638-6684 or email, email@example.com.
Find the DPE fact sheet on Library Workers at http://www.dpeaflcio.org/programs/factsheets/fs_2007_library_workers.htm
OUTREACH TO THE AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION – “Unembedded” Photo Exhibit on War in Iraq Displayed During Annual Meeting – DPE has been working with Alan Baker, Chief of Staff, APHA, and Patrice Sutton, Peace Caucus Program Chair to bring “Unembedded — Four Independent Photojournalists on the War in Iraq” to the AFL-CIO during APHA’s 2007 Annual Meeting. Unembedded is a national touring exhibit of 60 images that tells the story of the war’s impact on the lives of the Iraqi people on the ground. This powerful photographic exhibit features additional text about the war’s impact on public health, researched and written at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ College of Public Health, with data on civilian casualties; the war’s impact on the natural environment, physical infrastructure, health care system, and health status of Iraqis; and the long-term effects on U.S. troops and their families. The exhibit also includes a focus on the number of journalists killed in Iraq –more than were killed during two decades of war in Vietnam. See www.unembedded.net.
The exhibit will be on view at the AFL-CIO building during APHA (November 4-9) with a special opening reception onMonday, Nov. 5, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. The program will include a variety of speakers from APHA and the labor and peace movements. Between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m., photojournalist Kael Alford will discuss her experiences and impressions in Iraq.Please save the date!!
To learn more about this important event, please contact DPE President, Paul E. Almeida, 202/638-0320; firstname.lastname@example.org, or Assistant to the President, Pamela Wilson, 202/638-0320, ext. 12; email@example.com.
BETTER LEGISLATION FOR BETTER HEALTH IT – A national health information technology (HIT) infrastructure could transform one of the largest sectors in our economy, improve health care quality, and cut health care costs. On Wednesday, June 27, 2007, an executive session of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions marked up the Wired for Health Care Quality Act, a much improved version of legislation the Senate passed unanimously in 2005.
Working with its affiliated unions, AFSCME, AFT, UAN, and USW, as well as the AFL-CIO and a coalition hosted by the National Partnership for Women and Families, DPE has pushed hard for input by the people who touch the patients. Improvements in the latest draft include a role at the highest level for a representative of organized labor as well as requiring employee participation in designing, implementing, and modifying HIT systems as a condition for government grants and loans. Also key to the discussion: conditioning the online circulation of personal medical information on a comprehensive framework for privacy and security.
For additional information or comments, please contact DPE Executive Director David Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 extension 13.
NEW FACT SHEET FOCUSES ON SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS — The benefits of union membership are clear: school administrators who were union members earned an average of 21% more than their non-union counterparts in 2005. Increasing numbers of school administrators enjoy union representation: In 2005, 21% of school administrators were represented by unions, up from 19.9% in 2003. Between 2004 and 2014, employment is expected to increase by 10.4% for elementary and secondary school administrators, 21.3% for postsecondary administrators, 27.9% for preschool and child care centers and programs, and 20.3% for all other education administrators, demonstrating an increasing trend in job growth for administrators.
A new DPE fact sheet, School Administrators: Just the Facts paints a statistical portrait of school administrators, including their current and projected employment; challenging working conditions; gender, racial and ethnic composition; wages and benefits; the gap in wages between male and female administrators; regional and institutional variances in wages; and unionization.
Find it at: http://www.dpeaflcio.org/programs/factsheets/fs_2007_school_administrators.htm
To comment on the fact sheet or to obtain information about ongoing research, contact Pamela Wilson, 202-638-6684 or email@example.com.
DPE GENERAL BOARD LOOKS AHEAD – With the guidance of AFT President and DPE Chair Edward J. McElroy and AFSCME Vice President and DPE First Vice President Bill Lucy, the DPE General Board undertook an extraordinarily productive annual meeting on June 11, 2007.
DPE President Paul E. Almeida led representatives from 14 unions affiliated with DPE – AEA, AFGE, AFSA, AFSCME, AFT, TNG-CWA, IAFF, IAMAW, IATSE, IBEW, IFPTE, SAG, SIU, and USW – through the recommendations of the DPE Strategic Planning Committee. A thoughtful and wide-ranging conversation brought conclusions on a proposed draft Mission Statement, an amendment to the DPE Constitution, and each of the recommendations.
Since the General Board meeting, DPE circulated drafts memorializing the conclusions. The General Board conclusions will become the basis for a sequence of further deliberation and action by the DPE Executive Committee, its Finance Committee, and the General Board.
DPE SIGNS ON – In June, DPE joined AFSCME, the AFL-CIO, and a broad array of other organizations in a letter to the Chair and the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions that supported legislation to give the FDA authority to approve biogeneric drugs; see http://www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/letters/mega%20letter.June%205th%20Letter%20to%20Kennedy%20and%20Enzi%20final.pdf.
DPE IN THE NEWS – DPE President Paul Almeida was featured on Lou Dobbs Tonight regarding the comprehensive immigration bill before the senate in June addressing the many problems with the L1 visa program. The show aired on June 27, 2007; to see the transcript in full go to http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0706/27/ldt.01.html.
On June 4, 2007, President Almeida appeared on PBS’ Nightly Business Report to discuss the U.S. Senate’s handling of the H1-B visa issue in the comprehensive immigration bill. To see the transcript in full go to http://www.pbs.org/nbr/site/onair/transcripts/070604b/.