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 email@example.com.
In This Issue:
- Welcome, RWDSU!
- Putting Professional Integrity on the Agenda
- Places, Everyone! Power for Performers (Act I)
- Places, Everyone! Power for Performers (Act II)
- DPE Is An Angel
- Labor Rights are Human Rights: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign
- SiCKO! – At the AFL-CIO, Noon, April 25
- Linda Chavez-Thompson Honored as a Beloved Champion for All Workers
- Program Planning Underway for APHA
- DPE in the News
WELCOME, RWDSU! – Unanimity prevailed. By a unanimous vote, the Executive Board of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, RWDSU, sought to re-affiliate with DPE. Also by a unanimous vote, the DPE Executive Committee welcomed back RWDSU, a valued and active longtime affiliate. Our thanks to RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum, the RWDSU Executive Board, and the members of RWDSU for renewing a constructive and productive relationship.
PUTTING PROFESSIONAL INTEGRITY ON THE AGENDA – Perhaps the outline will become a founding document: On March 25, 2008, representatives from the DPE Work Group on Professional Associations met for a fourth time since November 2007 with representatives from professional associations. Together they reached consensus on an outline of key elements defining professional integrity and challenges to it. That unprecedented consensus marks a crucial step toward strengthening the ability of professional and technical workers to do their work right.
Since July 2006, representatives from unions affiliated with DPE – including AFM, AFSCME, AFT, AFTRA, IAM, IBEW, IFPTE, SAG, UAN, and USW – have met in the DPE Work Group to investigate how unions could learn from, and work with, professional associations. Volunteers from the work group have met with representatives from eight professional associations, in disciplines ranging from engineering and science to education, health care, and human services, to plan for a top-level discussion on June 5, 2008, “Strengthening Professionalism in the Public Interest,” for which the American Chemical Society has volunteered its conference rooms. At the March 25 meeting, in addition to achieving consensus on a core outline, the joint planning committee refined an agenda for the June 5 meeting.
For more information about the project, please contact DPE President Paul E. Almeida, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 extension 14, or DPE Executive Director David Cohen, email@example.com, 202-638-0320 extension 13.
PLACES, EVERYONE! POWER FOR PERFORMERS (ACT I) – On April 2, 2008, DPE President Paul E. Almeida chaired a meeting aimed at building power for stage actors, managers, musicians, and craftspeople, through multi-union action. At the table: top officers and staff from the Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), the International Association of Theatrical and Stage Employes (IATSE), and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), as well as representatives from the AFL-CIO Organizing and Collective Bargaining departments.
The meeting grew out of almost two years of work by the Arts, Entertainment, and Media Industry (AEMI), Industry Coordinating Committee (ICC); the participating unions are a subset of the 11 AEMI ICC affiliates. In December 2007, DPE hosted a daylong conference of the AEMI ICC unions to review extensive research they designed and commissioned, and to which they contributed essential information. A February 2008 conference call used the research as the starting point for identifying action.
For additional information, please contact DPE President Paul E. Almeida, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 extension 14, or DPE Executive Director David Cohen, email@example.com, 202-638-0320 extension 13.
PLACES, EVERYONE! POWER FOR PERFORMERS (ACT II) – At the invitation of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), DPE Executive Director David Cohen participated in the AEA Organizing Conference, chaired by AEA Executive Director John Connolly, on March 10-11, 2008 at the AEA offices in New York. With Cornell faculty Jeff Grabelsky and Joe Alvarez, David participated in a panel on “Learning From Organizing in Other Sectors.” With an emphasis on stage performers and managers, his points focused on raising questions about professional identity, the importance to professionals of doing the work right, and the challenges of project work for a union.
DPE IS AN ANGEL – At least the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) thinks so! ALA-APA is celebrating five years of service and “honoring those people and organizations that have helped it grow and flourish over the past five years particularly in the area of establishing the organization and its missions of providing certification and supporting better salaries.”
ALA-APA Director Jenifer Grady says, “DPE has been a partner with ALA-APA from the beginning and has been critical to keeping unions as a productive part of the conversation around salaries.” DPE has “been involved, sometimes in the background, sometimes in the foreground, but always effective. We love DPE!” she says.
DPE President Paul E. Almeida and Assistant to the President Pamela Wilson will be among those honored at ALA-APA’s Angel Reception on June 27 from 7:30 to 9:00 pm at the ALA Annual Conference at Anaheim. AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee, New York Public Library Guild 1930 President Carol Thomas and its Treasurer, Nina Manning; Diane Fay, past President, Boston Public Library, AFSCME Local 1526; and Kathleen De La Pena McCook, Distinguished University Professor of Library and Information Science at the University of South Florida, member AFT Local 7463, and author of Union Librarian Blog, http://unionlibrarian.blogspot.com/, are among the union and other library activist “Angels.”
Join in celebrating the achievements and bright future of ALA-APA – the Organization for the Advancement of Library Employees, which advocates for improving the salaries and status of librarians and library support staff. Tickets for the fundraising reception are $25.
For information about ALA-APA, including the fundraising reception and sponsorship of National Library Workers Day on April 15, http://www.ala-apa.org/about/nlwd.html, contact ALA-APA director Jenifer Grady by phone, 312-280-2424 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about ALA and the Annual Meeting, see www.ala.org. To discuss DPE’s involvement, contact Pamela by phone, 202-638-6684, or email, email@example.com.
LABOR RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS: THE MEMPHIS STRIKE, MARTIN LUTHER KING’S LAST CAMPAIGN – One of America’s foremost labor and civil rightshistorians gave a lunch-time presentation to a packed room at the AFL-CIO on March 31. Michael Honey, author of Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign emphasized that Dr. King traveled to Memphis to support AFSCME sanitation workers. Honey described the appalling working conditions and lack of dignity and respect for the sanitation workers that led to the strike, and the tremendous unity in the struggle of the labor movement and the African American community in Memphis. He focused on the workers, their movement, their stories, and the role of AFSCME, their union. Dr. King stated that the right to organize was a civil right. It was also the only way to escape the racism the workers suffered on the job. Honey’s presentation included slides, film, and singing. DPE was among the groups publicizing, promoting, and attending this event.
Professor of ethnic, gender, and labor studies and American history at the University of Washington, Tacoma, Michael Honey is the author of two prize-winning books on labor and civil rights history and a former Southern civil liberties organizer, http://faculty.washington.edu/mhoney/. In Going Down Jericho Road, Honey tells the story through individuals, putting a human face to the strike, the civil rights movement, and the efforts by Memphis to stop it. He parallels the story of the civil rights movement with struggles of organized labor, always bringing the larger story back to the individuals whose choices made history. The book details the daily evolution of the strike and what it meant to Memphis and the larger civil-rights movement. The result is an accessible, detailed, and thoroughly engaging chronicle of the events that led up to Dr. King’s assassination on April 4 at the Lorraine Motel and to larger social change. To quote William McFeely, author of Frederick Douglas, “Going Down Jericho Road is a brilliant achievement.” Buy Going Down Jericho Road from the AFL-CIO Union Shop, https://unionshop.aflcio.org/Going_Down_Jericho_Road_P1328C101.cfm.
SiCKO! AT THE AFL-CIO, NOON, FRIDAY, APRIL 25 – Join us for a special screening of Michael Moore’s Academy Award-nominated film that investigates the American health care system, focusing on its for-profit health insurance and pharmaceutical industries, and the patients they fail. The film compares the U.S. system to the universal and non-profit systems of Canada, the UK, France, and Cuba.
John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), author of H.R. 676, “The United States National Health Insurance Act,” or “Expanded & Improved Medicare for All,” has been invited to introduce the film; Donna Smith, who is featured in the film, will be there to comment. Plagued with health problems, she and her husband were forced to sell their home and move into the storage room of their daughter’s house because they couldn’t cope with health costs, even though they were insured. Ms. Smith is now a Communication Specialist in the Chicago office of the California Nurses Association/National Nurse Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC). She will be interviewed on Pacifica Radio WPFW 89.3 FM on April 14. Tune in to To Heal DC between 11:00 am and 12 noon and hear host Joni Eisenberg interview Donna Smith.
DPE joins the Labor Film Fest, AFL-CIO, CNA, CLUW, OPEIU, USW, and others in sponsoring this event. Admission is free and open to the public. Please spread the word to others who may be interested.
For further information, contact Pamela Wilson, 202-638-0320 extension 12 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
LINDA CHAVEZ-THOMPSON HONORED AS BELOVED CHAMPION FOR ALL WORKERS – Washington, DC – On March 19, DPE representatives Paul Almeida, President and David Cohen, Executive Director joined hundreds of people who turned out to honor one of the labor movement’s most beloved leaders, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Emerita Linda Chavez-Thompson. The dinner honoring Linda also served as a fund-raising event for the six AFL-CIO constituency groups.
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said of Chavez-Thompson:
Linda truly believes that our dream for America will come true only when every working person in our movement and every working person outside our movement has a voice and a real chance to be heard and is treated with dignity and justice.
Linda Chavez-Thompson led the AFL-CIO to broaden its position on immigration, to undertake its continuing drive toward diversity and inclusiveness and to our New Alliance change process. She has been a huge advocate for our constituency groups and a strong sister to so many outside groups and allies.
Linda thanked everyone for attending the event and for the opportunity to serve the labor movement in such a high profile and meaningful way. While she looks forward to spending time with her children and grandchildren, Linda will continue to assist the AFL-CIO as needed and when called upon by President Sweeney.
PROGRAM PLANNING UNDERWAY FOR APHA – Scheduled for October 25-29 in San Diego, the Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association is entitled Public Health Without Borders and expected to draw some 14,000 public health professionals. Planning for the Labor Caucus program is underway, including the development of these sessions:
- Safe RN Staffing: New Research and Solutions
- Globalization: Outsourcing Medical Jobs
- Organizing Health Care Workers: Health, Safety and Professional Issues
Pamela Wilson, Assistant to DPE President and chair of the Labor Caucus, has been working with members of the Labor Caucus, including Katherine Cox, AFSCME; Joni Tanaciev, AFT; Steve Mooser, RWDSU; J. Warren Salmon, University of Illinois at Chicago; Tom Nicholson, Western Kentucky University, and others to develop these programs. We are reaching out to ensure a mix of presenters from labor and the research world. Program planning will be completed in April.
To comment or inquire, contact Pamela by phone, 202-638-0320 extension 12, or by email, email@example.com.
DPE IN THE NEWS – The March-April E-Newsletter of the musicFIRST Coalition (http://musicfirstcoalition.org), in which both AFM and AFTRA participate, includes this item:
AFL-CIO Executive Council Supports a Performance Right
The musicFIRST coalition is pleased to announce that the AFL-CIO Executive Council has released a statement in support of the Performance Rights Act, which was adopted at its March meeting.
American Federation of Music (AFM) President Tom Lee and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) President Roberta Reardon spoke to the AFL-CIO Executive Council in support of the statement. AFM and AFTRA were assisted by the AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees in bringing this issue to the Executive Council.
For the full text of the AFL-CIO Executive Council resolution, click on http://www.aflcio.org/aboutus/thisistheaflcio/ecouncil/ec03042008g.cfm.