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:
- Fairness in Radio
- From Getting to Know You to Professional Integrity
- DPE Outreach: National Association for the Education of Young Children
- Building Power for Performers
- Health IT: Naming a Coalition, Making a Statement
- American Library Association – Honoring Workers on April 15, National Library Workers’ Day!
- New Fact Sheet – H-1B and IT Workers
- Unions for Professionals a Major Focus of Conference
- AFGE Legislative and Grassroots Mobilization Conference
- SICKO! Screening at the AFL-CIO
- DPE Signs On
FAIRNESS IN RADIO – On March 4, 2008, the AFL-CIO Executive Council committed to righting a wrong – the lack of compensation to musicians and singers whose recorded music AM/FM radio broadcasters use to attract listeners and thus to sell advertising.
In “Fairness in Radio: A Performance Right for Sound Recordings,” the Executive Council called for enacting bills in Congress, H.R. 4789 and S. 2500, that would enable musicians and singers to receive compensation for terrestrial radio play of their recordings, as they already do for satellite and Internet use. The Council highlighted the inequity of compensating songwriters, but not vocalists and musicians. It pointed out that the United States is virtually alone among technologically advanced countries in denying compensation to these performers for terrestrial radio broadcasts of their recordings.
DPE President Paul E. Almeida is a member of the AFL-CIO Committee on Public Policy and Legislation. He accompanied AFM President Tom Lee and AFTRA President Roberta Reardon as they spoke in support of the resolution first to the Committee and then to the Executive Council. DPE staff worked with AFM and AFTRA in developing the resolution.
For the full text of the resolution, click on http://www.aflcio.org/aboutus/thisistheaflcio/ecouncil/ec03042008g.cfm.
FROM GETTING TO KNOW YOU TO PROFESSIONAL INTEGRITY – On February 26, 2008, representatives from the DPE Work Group on Professional Associations met for a third time with representatives from professional associations. At the group’s request, the agenda included a first: two of the participants introduced their organizations. With meetings of the Professional Associations and Unions Joint Planning Committee scheduled for later this month, April, and May, introductions by other organizations will follow.
The goals of all this getting-to-know-you: building toward a common defense of the ability of professional and technical workers to do their work right, and bringing home to the public the high stakes for all of us.
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 in June 2008.
For more information about the project, please contact DPE President Paul E. Almeida, email@example.com, 202-638-0320 extension 14, or DPE Executive Director David Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 extension 13.
DPE OUTREACH: NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE EDUCATION OF YOUNG CHILDREN – On February 11, 2008, DPE President Paul E. Almeida and Executive Director David Cohen met with the Executive Council and senior staff of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
The NAEYC invitation to DPE grew out of DPE’s work with the Professional Associations and Unions Joint Planning Committee. (See “From Getting To Know You To Professional Integrity” above.) It led to a candid and wide-ranging two-hour conversation about the roles of professional associations and unions and how they might constructively collaborate.
For more information, please contact DPE President Paul E. Almeida, email@example.com, 202-638-0320 extension 14, or DPE Executive Director David Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 extension 13.
BUILDING POWER FOR PERFORMERS – On February 12, 2008, DPE President Paul E. Almeida chaired a conference call with a singular potent focus: taking tangible steps toward building a multi-union campaign for performers.
In December 2007, DPE hosted a daylong conference of the Arts, Entertainment, and Media Industry (AEMI), Industry Coordinating Committee (ICC), 11 unions representing workers in journalism, broadcasting, television, films, theater, music, and new media. The participants heard and discussed extensive research they designed and commissioned, and to which they contributed essential information. (See the February 2008 DPE NewsLine, “Building Strength in Arts, Entertainment and Media.”) The February conference used the research as the starting point for identifying action.
For additional information, please contact DPE President Paul E. Almeida, email@example.com, 202-638-0320 extension 14, or DPE Executive Director David Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 extension 13.
HEALTH IT: NAMING A COALITION, MAKING A STATEMENT – Since 2005, DPE has raised a voice for frontline health care workers in the move nationally toward health information technology (HIT). Our position: a national system will work only if the people who touch the patients participate from the start in designing, implementing, assessing, and adjusting HIT, and in training for its use.
Joining DPE in this effort have been its affiliated unions, among them AFSCME, AFT, UAN, and USW, as well as the AFL-CIO. All have joined in a coalition that provided a statement for a Hill briefing on Friday, February 29, 2008, hosted by the Alliance for Health Reform. Newly named for the occasion, the coalition in which DPE has participated is the Consumer Partnership for e-Health. To read its statement and see the other coalition partners, click on http://www.allhealth.org/briefingmaterials/DWF-ehealthpositionstatement-1099.pdf.
AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION – HONORING LIBRARY WORKERS ON APRIL 15, NATIONAL LIBRARY WORKERS’ DAY! – This is a day to celebrate the contributions of all library employees who make library services possible. It is celebrated during the American Library Association (ALA)’s National Library Week. National Library Workers Day (NLWD) is sponsored by the American Library Association – Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) — the Organization for the Advancement of Library Employees which advocates for improving the salaries and status of librarians and library support staff.
NLWD is also a day when library staff can educate library users about the knowledge, skills and qualifications of library employees, the kinds of work they do, the necessary services they provide, and the inadequate wages and salaries many of them receive, with a particular focus on the need for all libraries to pay all their employees at least a living wage and at rates commensurate with their education, training and skills.
The ALA-APA website lists many ways to recognize library’s workers on this special day, http://www.ala-apa.org/about/nlwd.html. Also marked by ALA-APA is Equal Pay Day — April 22, 2008 — which symbolizes how far into the year a woman must work, on average, to earn as much as a man earned the previous year. It is closely related to National Library Workers Day because libraries are staffed predominantly by women, and library workers tend to be underpaid. For more information, see the National Committee on Pay Equity’s website, www.pay-equity.org, and the DPE fact sheet, Professional Women: Vital Statistics, http://www.dpeaflcio.org/programs/factsheets/fs_2007_Professional_Women.htm.
A 2007 fact sheet, Library Workers: Facts and Figures is available from our website; an updated and expanded version will be available in May. See http://www.dpeaflcio.org/programs/factsheets/fs_2007_library_workers.htm. Coming soon, a new, joint ALA-APA – DPE publication, the Union Difference for Library Workers uses the data from the 2007 edition of theALA-APA Salary Survey. For the first time, this important survey included questions about union membership, making possible a detailed analysis of the pay differential for union library workers in different positions and in different types of libraries throughout the nation. This publication will be posted to both the ALA-APA and DPE websites this spring.
For information about ALA-APA, including sponsorship of National Library Workers Day, contact ALA-APA director Jenifer Grady by phone, 312-280-2424 or email, email@example.com. 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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW FACT SHEET — H-1B AND IT WORKERS – A frequently abused non-immigrant visa category provided for in the Immigration and Naturalization Act, H-1B allows American companies to temporarily employ foreign workers who have the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree in response to a particular labor shortage. This updated fact sheet examines the demand for IT workers, including projections for IT employment, the number of guest workers coming in under H-1B, trends in IT wages, and the effect of the large number of IT guest workers on US wages; supply, including the U.S. educational pipeline, low minority presence in IT occupations, and the misrepresentation of high turnover rates; and the need for H-1B repair and reform. It also includes a timeline of a cyclical “crisis.”
To obtain a copy of this fact sheet, visit the DPE website, http://www.dpeaflcio.org/programs/factsheets/fs_2008_h1b.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.
UNIONS FOR PROFESSIONALS A MAJOR FOCUS OF CONFERENCE – On February 27, the School of Arts and Humanities and the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts at Bethune-Cookman University had a conference, “Future Professionals: Communicating Effectively.” A plenary session was devoted to a discussion of the value of unions for professionals in general and those in the arts, entertainment and mass media, in particular. Pamela Wilson, Assistant to DPE President, represented the Department as the speaker for this session. The conference, which attracted more than 150 students and faculty in this historically black college, was made possible by a grant from the Andrew Mellon/Jessie DuPont Endowment.
AFGE LEGISLATIVE AND GRASSROOTS MOBILIZATION CONFERENCE – Held February 10-13 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Washington, DC, this annual American Federation of Government Employees’ conference brought together more than 600 delegates from AFGE Locals all over the country for three days of training, discussion, and lobbying. Pamela Wilson, Assistant to DPE President, represented the Department as a speaker in a workshop titled, “Health Care: FEHBP to Health Care Reform.” She discussed the presidential candidates’ plans for expanding health care, concluding, “When we vote for a presidential candidate, we’re voting on our judgment about where they want to go…The question is who do we want to negotiate with…What puts us in the best position come January 2009?…Whatever happens, the negotiations truly begin next January.” Attended by more than 100 AFGE representatives, this session also featured an update on the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan (FEHBP) by AFGE Public Policy Director Jacqueline Simon and a presentation by Nick Unger, AFL-CIO Health Care Reform Campaign Training Coordinator.
While federal employees are covered under FEHBP, they are increasingly concerned about the state of health care in the U.S. as the costs of federal employee coverage continue to shift dramatically to employees, and a startling number of federal employees can no longer afford to insure themselves or their families.
SICKO! SCREENING AT THE AFL-CIO, NOON, APRIL 25 – DPE joins the Labor Film Fest, AFL-CIO, CNA, CLUW, OPEIU and others in sponsoring a screening of Sicko!, Michael Moore’s documentary comparing the highly profitable U.S. health care system to systems in other developed countries, on Friday, April 25 at noon in the Gompers Room. For further information, contact Pamela Wilson, 202-638-0320, ext. 12 or email@example.com.
DPE SIGNS ON – In a letter of February 6, 2008 to members of the U.S. Senate, DPE joined an array of unions and trades departments including DPE affiliates CWA, IAM, IFPTE, IUPAT, and USW, in opposing the Patent Reform Act of 2007 (S. 1145) in its current form. To read the letter, click on http://www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/letters/08%2002%2006%20Union%20Letter%20on%20Patent%20Reform.pdf.
In another letter of February 6, this one to the Chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Rules Committee, DPE joined AFT, the AFL-CIO, the American Library Association, and other organizations in opposing any amendments adding the so-called “academic bill of rights” to the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act; see http://www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/letters/ABOR%20coalition%20House%20letter.pdf.
On September 12, 2007, DPE joined a wide array of women’s, public policy, and other organizations in a letter to Congress supporting the Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act (H.R. 2233 and S. 1871); see http://www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/letters/UISignOn2-1-31-08.pdf.