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:
- Harvard Hosts ‘Representing Professionals’
- Defending Professional Integrity For The Common Good
- New DPE Fact Sheets Highlight Changes
- Coming Soon: American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting
- DPE Co-Sponsors Annual Activist Physicians Dinner At APHA
- DPE Confers With Demos About Government
- DPE To Uribe: Stop The Murders Of Unionists
- DPE Demonstrates For Health Care Reform
- DPE Signs On
- DPE In The News
HARVARD HOSTS ‘REPRESENTING PROFESSIONALS’ – On September 9 and 10, 2008, the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School hosted “Representing Professionals in Science, Engineering, and Technology,” with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The conference brought together U.S. unions, professional associations, foreign unions, and academics.
DPE played multiple roles. DPE President Paul E. Almeida moderated a panel on “Defending Professionalism” that focused on how different organizations are responding to external pressures damaging the ability of professionals to do their work. The panelists included J. William Hirzy, long-time leader of a National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) local union representing Environmental Protection Agency scientists; Susan Wood, professor at George Washington University; DPE Executive Director David Cohen, who reported on the work of DPE with professional associations and unions around professional integrity in the public interest (see “Defending Professional Integrity For the Common Good” below); and Raymond Garant, Assistant Director of Public Affairs of the American Chemical Society. David Cohen also joined James Crowley, Executive Director of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, in responding to a presentation by Professor Richard W. Hurd of Cornell of his “Census of Professional Associations.”
For more information about the Labor and Worklife Program, see http://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/lwp/index.html.
DEFENDING PROFESSIONAL INTEGRITY FOR THE COMMON GOOD – On September 24, 2008, DPE hosted the Professional Associations and Unions Joint Working Group. The group is the successor to the Joint Planning Committee that, between November 2007 and May 2008, organized a June 5 leadership meeting, “Strengthening Professionalism in the Public Interest.”
In an extraordinarily productive meeting, the representatives of 15 organizations transformed guidance from the June 5 meeting into tangible next steps. Among the represented organizations were six unions, DPE affiliates AEA, AFT, IFPTE, RWDSU, SAG, and USW; eight professional associations; and DPE. Together they set a deadline for endorsing a statement about defending professional integrity against external pressures (as of the meeting, two organizations had already endorsed the statement); established three subgroups to develop a coalition; scheduled additional meetings; and agreed to gather and share specific information.
For more information about the June 5 leadership meeting, “Strengthening Professionalism in the Public Interest,” see “Unprecedented and Potentially Historic” in the July 2008 DPE NewsLine. 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.
NEW DPE FACT SHEETS HIGHLIGHT CHANGES – Three new DPE fact sheets provide overviews of work in the U.S., health care in and outside the U.S., and the workforce of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.
● “Vital Workforce Statistics” examines the changing world of work, including the rapid growth in professional and related occupations, growing disparities in educational requirements for new jobs, union membership among professionals and other workers, the growth of the service sector, working families, and the status of white collar women.
Twenty-two of the 30 occupations projected to grow most rapidly between 2006 and 2016 require a post-secondary degree or higher. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the doctoral degree category to increase the fastest of all the education and training categories. Most of this change will be due to the fast-growing occupation of university teachers.
White collar workers account for more than 60% of the workforce and close to 53% of all union members. In 2007, over five million professional and related workers were union members; nearly 5.6 million were represented by unions. Continuing a trend, in 2007 there were more union members among professionals than any other occupational group.
● “U.S. Health Care System in International Perspective” includes information on the three main types of health care programs in Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, and covers the high private administrative costs of the U.S. health care system; medical debt in the U.S.; health insurance: rising premiums and falling coverage; a portrait of the uninsured in America; disproportionately less coverage for small firms, part-time workers, younger workers, children, and minorities; the effects of less coverage on health; and the quality of U.S. health care in an international context.
In 2006, the U.S. spent an average of $6,714 per capita on health care, considerably more than any other country in the OECD. The U.S. also spends the highest proportion of Gross Domestic Product on health care: 15.3% in 2006, compared to the 8.9% OECD median. According to The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System, in 2007 30% of total health expenditure went to administrative costs. Despite the large investment in administration, the system is inefficient. In 2007, U.S. patients were three to four times more likely to report having duplicate tests, or that medical records or test results were not available at the time of their appointment than in other industrialized countries. The U.S. ranked 37th out of 191 member states in terms of “overall health system performance” in the World Health Organization’s 2000 World Health Report.
● “Pharmacists And Pharmacy Technicians: Facts And Figures”paints a statistical portrait of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, including current numbers and trends, wages, employment, women and (low) minority presence, occupational outlook, worker shortages, the effect of shortages on pharmacy school faculty and graduates, the effect of outsourcing and new technology on the pharmacists’ role, Medicare Part D and independent pharmacies, and unionization.
Between 2006 and 2016, the number of pharmacists is expected to increase by 52,882, or 21.7%. This projection is less than for the previous projection period of 2004-2014 and demonstrates a decreasing trend in job growth for pharmacists. Meanwhile, the number of pharmacy technicians is expected to increase by 91,329, or 32% between 2006 and 2016. As in other sectors, pharmacy operations are affected by the outsourcing and offshoring trend. Hospitals and retail pharmacies outsource tasks to combat industry shortages and to drive costs down.
To obtain copies of DPE fact sheets, visit the website, http://www.dpeaflcio.org/programs/factsheets.htm, or email Marcie Lawrence, email@example.com. For information about ongoing research, contact Pamela Wilson, by phone, 202-638-0320, extension 12, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
COMING SOON: AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION (APHA) ANNUAL MEETING – The 2008 APHA Annual Meeting, “Public Health Without Borders,” is scheduled for October 25-29, 2008 in San Diego. It is expected to attract some 14,000 participants.
As in previous years, DPE has been involved in planning programs, disseminating information, and assisting in the development of policy resolutions through the Labor Caucus, chaired by Pamela Wilson, Assistant to DPE President Paul E. Almeida. The Labor Caucus is routinely allocated three sessions at the Annual Meeting.
The 2008 sessions will be held in the San Diego Convention Center and include: * Session 3238: Globalization and Outsourcing Medical Jobs, Monday, October 27, 2:30-4:00 p.m.
- 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, Gary Hubbard, United Steelworkers
*Session 3418: Safe RN Staffing: New Research and Solutions, Monday, October 27, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
- 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 Dempel, RN, JD, California Nurses Association
* Session 4287: Health, Safety and Professional Issues in Organizing Health Care Workers, Tuesday, October 28, 2:30-4:00 p.m.
- 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
Moderators for these sessions will include Joni Ketter, AFT, Sarah Grossheusch, Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services, and Pamela Wilson, DPE. The programs were planned in conjunction with DPE health care affiliate and other members of the Labor Caucus. The sessions are endorsed by APHA Sections, including Occupational Health and Safety, Public Health Nursing, and Medical Care. Continuing education units are being offered.
In addition, one special session has been developed and is co-sponsored by the Labor Caucus and the Peace Caucus:
Session 4373: Labor, Peace and Public Health: Building Alliances to End the Iraq War, Tuesday, October 28, 4:30-6:00, featuring presentations from representatives of US Labor Against the War, Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Sonoma County Center for Peace and Justice, and the University of Washington, Seattle, Department of Global Health.
The Labor and Peace Caucus has also joined with the APHA Technology and Film Section forTechnology in Public Health: Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan, Tuesday, October 28, 10:30 a.m.-12 noon, featuring video excerpts from veterans’ testimony given during a four-day event focused on the human consequences of U.S. policy in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For further information about the APHA Annual Meeting, see www.apha.org. To learn more about these programs or the Labor Caucus, please contact Pamela Wilson, 202-638-0320, extension 12, email@example.com.
DPE CO-SPONSORS ANNUAL ACTIVIST PHYSICIANS DINNER AT APHA – Held each year in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA) and attended by several hundred health care activists, this year’s dinner will be on Sunday, October 26 from 6:00 –9:00 p.m. at Dussini Mediterranean Bistro, 275 Fifth Avenue, San Diego. Each year, several special awards are given. This year, the Activist Physicians honor:
- Les Robert, Ph.D., Department of Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University (Edward K. Barsky Award)
- Ruth M. Heifetz, MD, MPH, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California at San Diego School of Medicine (Paul B. Cornely Award)
- Honorable Sheila James Kuehl, California State Senator (Paul Wellstone Award)
- Student Activist Recognition: David Marcus, State University of New York Downstate
Originally sponsored by the Physicians Forum – organized decades ago, largely as a caucus of progressive doctors in APHA – the list of co-sponsors has expanded to include AFSCME; American Medical Student Association; DPE; Doctors for Global Health; International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War; Physicians for Human Rights; Physicians for a National Health Program; Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health; Physicians for Social Responsibility; and Committee of Interns and Residents, SEIU Healthcare. All are welcome to attend! Please help spread the word.
For further information, contact Pamela Wilson, 202-638-0320, extension 12, firstname.lastname@example.org.
DPE CONFERS WITH DEMOS ABOUT GOVERNMENT – On September 18, 2008, DPE met Demos.
Demos describes itself as “a network for ideas and action.” Its projects include Public Works: The Demos Center for the Public Sector, which helps leaders “re-envision the role of government” as a crucial means to the common good. Among other things, Demos has worked with DPE affiliates AFGE, AFSCME, and AFT to rethink how to describe the role of government and advocate for adequate public sector resources.
Demos President Miles Rapoport, Senior Program Director Michael Lipsky, and Public Works Associate Program Director Patrick Bresette provided an overview of Demos activities, including sharing its research and training with public sector unions. DPE President Paul E. Almeida and Executive Director David Cohen explained the structure and activities of DPE. Among the common interests: strengthening a public appreciation of the role of government and grappling with the impact of globalization.
For more information about Demos, click on http://www.demos.org/page2.cfm.
DPE TO URIBE: STOP THE MURDERS OF UNIONISTS – On September 19, 2008, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe addressed a lunch inside the National Press Club and sought passage of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. DPE President Paul E. Almeida and Executive Director David Cohen joined a picket line of unionists and other human rights advocates. The message: Stop the murders of Colombian unionists. As of the demonstration, 41 unionists had been killed in Colombia in 2008 – more than the total of 38 for all of 2007.
For background about unions’ efforts to make human rights a condition for the trade agreement, see http://blog.aflcio.org/2008/09/17/message-to-colombia-no-trade-deal-until-workers-rights-are-respected/.
DPE DEMONSTRATES FOR HEALTH CARE REFORM – Inside the hotel: America’s Health Insurance Plans, an insurance industry trade association, and Newt Gingrich, conferring about Medicare and Medicaid. Outside the hotel: picketers – including DPE President Paul E. Almeida, Executive Director David Cohen, and Assistant to the President Pamela Wilson – with a message, “Insurers Are Hazardous to Your Health.”
Organized by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, the September 22, 2008 event spotlighted the need for health care reform. As speakers reminded the participants, to a terrible extent U.S. health care provides neither health nor care. For more information, read “Something Wrong in America” at http://blog.aflcio.org/2008/09/22/something-wrong-in-america/.
DPE SIGNS ON – DPE joined other organizations, including its affiliated unions AFGE, AFSCME, AFT, IAFF, IAM, and IFPTE, in a September 22, 2008 letter to the Chairs of the House and Senate Defense Appropriations subcommittees seeking a suspension of privatization studies. To see the letter, click on http://dpeaflcio.org/pdf/DPE-Def_Apps_Ltr.pdf
DPE IN THE NEWS – In September, DPE President Paul E. Almeida appeared on Lou Dobbs Tonight to comment on U.S. visa policy; to see the segment, go to http://www.dpeaflcio.org/pros/advocacy/adv_ytd.cfm?YR=2008.
A September 30 AFL-CIO blog entry, “Online Forum Spotlights Strategies for Displaced Workers,” cited DPE research for the number of white collar U.S. jobs sent overseas; see http://blog.aflcio.org/2008/09/30/online-forum-spotlights-strategies-for-displaced-workers.