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 is welcome; send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In This Issue:
- AFT President Urges Investment Through Public Education
- In Defense of Professional Integrity
- DPE Assists AFGE Organizing Campaign
- Advocating an Increased Federal Role in Innovation
- Reaching Out to Professional Associations – American Public Health Association
- American Library Association – Preparing for the Midwinter Meeting
- DPE Issues New Fact Sheets – The Union Difference for Social Service Workers & The Dominant Service Sector
- DPE Goes to College
- DPE Signs On
AFT PRESIDENT URGES INVESTMENT THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION – On November 17, 2008, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten (left) invited a no-holds-barred discussion of how to improve and invest in public education for the long term, so long as the ideas are “good for children and fair to teachers.”
Weingarten ruled out only one approach, vouchers, “which siphon scarce resources from public schools.” She proposed 10 points for Smart Investments in Education, from universal early childhood education to creating community schools with comprehensive services.
Introduced by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Weingarten’s speech at the National Press Club, her first major address since her election in July, drew a standing-room-only crowd that included political, labor, and civic leaders as well as journalists. Representing DPE were DPE President Paul E. Almeida and Executive Director David Cohen.
For a summary of the speech or video clips from it, click on http://www.aft.org/news/2008/NPC_speech.htm. For the full text, go to http://www.aft.org/presscenter/speeches-columns/speeches/downloads/npc_171108/NPCSpeech_Written.pdf. For the AFL-CIO blog account, see http://blog.aflcio.org/2008/11/18/weingarten-calls-for-common-ground-solutions-to-brunt-impact-of-financial-crisis-on-schools/.
IN DEFENSE OF PROFESSIONAL INTEGRITY – On November 19, 2008, the Professional Associations and Unions Joint Working Group (JWG) heard from its hard-working subgroups and reached critical decisions. The goal: strengthening professionalism against external pressures, so professionals can do their jobs and serve the public properly.
The three subgroups – on operations and ground rules, on activities, and on communications – each met in October. Each includes representatives from at least one scientific or engineering association, one human services association, and a union.
The subgroup recommendations brought the JWG to recommend a name for the group, “Professionals for the Public Interest: Associations and Unions Defending Professional Integrity.” The JWG identified two priorities for action – a website for internal and external communication and a public policy or legislative forum – and asked the subgroups to prepare more detailed proposals for each. The JWG will meet next on December 15, 2008.
For more information about the Joint Working Group, please contact DPE President Paul E. Almeida, email@example.com, 202-638-0320, or Executive Director David Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 extension 13.
DPE ASSISTS AFGE ORGANIZING CAMPAIGN – On November 6 and 7, 2008, the American Federation of Government Employees convened its Transportation Security Agency Team Strategy Summit. Participating were National Vice Presidents, national campaign staff, and local officers and activists organizing Transportation Security Officers (TSOs), some 38,000 people who screen passengers and luggage at airports. The purpose: to clarify goals, roles, and processes. At the invitation of AFGE, DPE Executive Director David Cohen facilitated a discussion on November 7 among the AFGE staff.
For more about the AFGE campaign, click on http://www.afge.org/index.cfm?page=PressReleases&PressReleaseID=903. To see President-Elect Obama’s letter to AFGE National President John Gage committing “to ensure that TSOs have collective bargaining rights,” go to http://www.afge.org/Documents/ObamaTSAletter.pdf.
ADVOCATING AN INCREASED FEDERAL ROLE IN INNOVATION – Technological breakthroughs that transform products and processes – the Internet, cell phones, mapping the human genome – provide a major driver of the U.S. economy and a starting point for creating jobs. On December 1, 2008, the Economic Policy Institute joined an array of partners to sponsor “How Will the Obama Administration and New Congress Support Innovation Amid An Economic Crisis?”
Panelists stressed that the U.S. government plays a large – but largely ignored – role in fostering both technological innovation and its commercialization. Its role includes its national laboratories, its grant support, its fostering inter-organizational collaboration, and its providing key infrastructure. Undermining the effectiveness of the U.S. government role are less than optimal coordination, funding uncertainties, and difficulties in deployment and implementation.
University of California Davis economic sociologist Fred Block suggested the Obama Administration should create a Cabinet-level Department of Innovation to remedy these shortcomings and include funding for innovation as part of an economic stimulus. EPI Research and Policy Director John Irons stressed the potential for creating high-paying jobs.
Attending the conference were DPE President Paul E. Almeida and Executive Director David Cohen. For a preliminary version of the agenda that lists the speakers, see http://www.burnesscommunications.com/new/new_show.htm?doc_id=716291.
REACHING OUT TO PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS – AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION — The Annual Meeting was held October 25-29 in San Diego. The APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition is the oldest and largest gathering of public health professionals in the world, attracting more than 13,000 national and international physicians, nurses, educators, researchers, administrators, epidemiologists, and related health specialists.
Presentations and other materials from the following Labor Caucus sessions will be posted to the DPE website by December 15, http://www.dpeaflcio.org/programs/DPE_and_Professional_Associations/index.htm.
* Globalization and Outsourcing Medical Jobs International Migration of Health Care Workers: Impact and Implications, Joni Ketter, American Federation of Teachers; Health Tourism to India: Challenges Against Resource Competition to Sustaining a Viable Public Health Infrastructure for the Local Populace, Jack Warren Salmon, Ph.D. and Meghana Aruru, MBA, University of Illinois; Medical Tourism: A Union Response, David Kins, United Steelworkers.
* Safe RN Staffing: New Research and Solutions Solving the Nursing Shortage: Best and Worst Practices, Practical Solutions, Helen Moss, University of Oregon; Nurse Staffing: Key to Good Patient, Nurse and Financial Outcomes, Lynn Unruh, Ph.D., RN, LHRM, University of Central Florida; RNs Working Together: Union Action to Solve the Safe Staffing Crisis, Ann Converso, RN, United American Nurses;California’s Safe Staffing Ratio Law: It’s More the Just the Numbers, Hedy Dumpel, RN, JD, California Nurses Association/National Nurse Organizing Committee.
* Health, Safety and Professional Issues in Organizing Health Care Workers Health and Safety Issues Are Integral to Successful Organizing Drives, Stephen Mooser, MPH, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union; Safe Patient Handling Addressed by Unions in Contracts and Collective Bargaining, Ann Converso, RN, United American Nurses; Looking Beyond Safety and Health in Organizing Women, Carolyn Jacobson, Coalition of Labor Union Women.
In addition, the Labor Caucus joined with the Peace Caucus and the APHA Technology and Film Section for Technology in Public Health: Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan, featuring a specially developed 65-minute DVD of public health-related excerpts from veterans’ testimony given during a four-day event focused on the human consequences of U.S. policy in Iraq and Afghanistan. The event was held at the National Labor College in February 2008. The Labor and Peace Caucuses have been invited to show this DVD as part of the APHA FilmFest at the 2009 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. This DVD is also being considered for a DC Labor FilmFest screening.
Production of the DVD was in part supported by remaining funds raised by APHA and the Labor and Peace Caucuses for the exhibit, Unembedded: Four Independent Photojournalists on the War in Iraq and reception at the AFL-CIO during the 2007 APHA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. (See Unembedded in the December 2007 NewsLine.)
The Winter Soldier DVD produced for the APHA Annual Meeting is available from Iraq Veterans Against the War. Contact Jose Vasquez, email@example.com.
The Labor and Peace Caucus also jointly developed and co-sponsored a session, Labor, Peace and Public Health: Building Alliances to End the Iraq War, featuring presentations from Michael Eisenscher, US Labor Against the War; Elizabeth Stinson, Sonoma County Center for Peace and Justice; Amy Hagopian, University of Washington, Seattle, Department of Global Health, and Jose Vasquez and Ryan Endicott, Iraq Veterans Against the War. Jose Vasquez also introduced the Winter Soldier DVD and led the discussion in the previous session.
Dissemination of information: DPE fact sheets, AFL-CIO EFCA fact sheets and articles, and other labor materials were distributed at a variety of APHA and related meetings and events where DPE had a presence and at several booths in the Exposition Hall. Pamela also participated in the APHA planning meeting for the 2009 Annual Meeting, “Water and Public Health,” which will be held in Philadelphia from November 7 – 11, 2009.
To learn more about APHA and its Annual Meeting, visit the website, www.apha.org. Contact Pamela if you would like to know more about the Labor Caucus and its programs: 202/638-0320, ext. 12; firstname.lastname@example.org.
AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION – PREPARING FOR THE MIDWINTER MEETING – DPE has been developing materials and programs for discussion and action at the Midwinter Meeting of the American Library Association, scheduled for January 23-28 in Denver. Assistant to the President Pamela Wilson is working with members of the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) Committee on the Salaries and Status of Library Workers and the AFL-CIO to develop two proposed policy resolutions: in opposition to outsourcing library jobs and on the need for overtime pay protection. Pamela and DPE intern Kelly Gaberlavage have been working with ALA-APA Committee members to update the ALA-APA Better Salaries/Pay Equity Bibliography, as well as develop several programs for the Annual Conference (on universal health care and on the union difference for library workers), scheduled for July 9-15 in Chicago.
DPE connects with ALA through two main committees: the ALA-AFL-CIO Joint Committee on Library Services to Labor Groups – whose program in July 2009, Love the Work, Hate the Job, will feature author David Kusnet – and the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association’s Committee on the Salaries and Status of Library Workers. Library workers are represented by several DPE affiliates including AFGE, AFSCME, AFT, IFPTE, OPEIU, and USW.
To learn more about DPE’s work with the Library Association, contact Pamela, 202/638-0320, ext. 12, email@example.com.
DPE ISSUES NEW FACT SHEETS —
THE UNION DIFFERENCE FOR SOCIAL SERVICE WORKERS – In 2007, social workers represented by unions earned 35% more than those without union representation. For counselors, this earnings differential was as high as 39%. The 2007 mean weekly earnings of all other community and social service workers was a whopping 47% higher for those represented by a union than for those who were not. This is an area of rapid growth: By 2016, jobs in social service occupations are expected to grow by more than 16%, compared with a national rate of job growth of 10.4%.
A new DPE fact sheet, Social Service Workers: A Portrait includes statistical and other information about current and projected employment; gender, racial and ethnic composition; age; education and salaries, including median earnings, and comparison to other occupations with similar qualifications, experience and responsibility; educational debt; union membership and its benefits; burnout, workplace violence, and necessary safety precautions.
THE DOMINANT SERVICE SECTOR — More than three out of every four jobs in the U.S. economy are in the service sector. By 2016, the service sector is expected to account for 78.3% of total employment, amounting to 130.2 million people. While the service sector is expected to create 15.8 million jobs between 2006 and 2016, the goods-producing sector is expected to lose 732,000 jobs.
In 2007, unions represented significant numbers of service sector employees, especially in education, training and library occupations, as well as protection services (37.2% and 35.3% respectively), public administration (40%) and telecommunications (21%). Many of these are professional and technical employees.
This new fact sheet from DPE, The Service Sector: Projections and Current Statistics, provides information about the service sector, including current and projected employment; the offshoring of white collar jobs; women’s situation; union representation, and service sector trade.
These fact sheets are posted to the website, http://www.dpeaflcio.org/programs/factsheets.htm. For further information, contact Pamela Wilson, 202/638-0320, ext. 12, firstname.lastname@example.org.
DPE GOES TO COLLEGE – On November 11, President Paul Almeida addressed two classes at Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations in Ithaca, NY on the role of professionals in unions. The sessions focused on the increasing number of professionals in the labor movement and representing white collar workers in a changing economy. And on November 25, President Almeida addressed the Film & TV Production class at Bay State College, Boston, MA on the history and role of unions in the entertainment industry.
DPE SIGNS ON – DPE joined a letter of November 24, 2008 from the Consumer Partnership for eHealth commenting on the process by which the successor to the American Health Information Community (AHIC) will set priorities as it develops national health information technologies. To see the letter, click on http://www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/letters/AHIC_successor_prioritization_comments_112408.pdf.