The purpose of this newsletter is to inform you of recent activities by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) 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:
- New DPE Report Points Way Toward Rational Immigration Reform
- Almeida Elected Trustee for Council for Adult & Experiential Learning
- DPE Addresses National Endowment for the Arts
- DPE Congratulates Ken Howard
- Nancy Wohlforth Retires
- AFTRA Joins PftPI
- AFT Highlights International Teacher Recruitment
- Reaching Out To Professional Associations: American Public Health Association
NEW DPE REPORT POINTS WAY TOWARD RATIONAL IMMIGRATION REFORM– “Gaming the System: Guest Worker Visa Programs and Professional and Technical Workers in the U.S.” is a major new report from DPE that supports the goal of rational, comprehensive immigration reform.
The guest worker visa programs of the United States are a flashpoint in the debate over immigration. With fallible reporting and no unified government oversight, U.S. guest worker visa programs are overly complicated, lack accountability, have lax tracking enforcement, and exemplify why U.S. immigration policy needs reform. “Gaming the System” provides background on the much discussed H-1B visa and the impact this program and those like it have had on two distinct sectors: education and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The 52-page report will be available in electronic form on the DPE homepage shortly. For more information, please contact Marcie Lawrence at email@example.com or Alexis Spencer Notabartolo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALMEIDA ELECTED TRUSTEE FOR COUNCIL FOR ADULT & EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING– In November, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) elected DPE President Paul E. Almeida a member of its Board of Trustees. Almeida’s three-year term begins January 1, 2010.
CAEL is a national, non-profit organization whose mission is to expand learning opportunities for adults. CAEL works to remove policy and organizational barriers to learning opportunities, identifies and disseminates effective practices, and delivers value-added services. For more about CAEL, click here.
DPE ADDRESSES NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS– On November 20, 2009, DPE provided a labor perspective – and the sole union voice – at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). DPE represented its nine affiliated arts, entertainment and media industry (AEMI) unions.
Introduced by NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman and organized by NEA Director of Research and Analysis Sunil Iyengar, the NEA Cultural Workforce Forum focused on research about artists as workers in the economy. It brought together service organization representatives, academics, and foundation professionals.
Three panels looked at research methods and results, policy applications, and cultural workers in a broader context of creativity and innovation. A summary session discussed recommendations for future research.
A speaker on the first panel, DPE Executive Director David Cohen urged the participants:
- Think Venn diagrams, not boxes. An artist may be an actor one day, a director the next, a playwright the third, then a dancer, then a musician-singer-actor – and may have spent the previous week as a caterer. Ask her what she is. A one-word answer won’t suffice, but too often it’s all we allow for.
Cohen suggested possibilities including organizational collaboration, longitudinal studies, and time diaries. Accompanied by DPE Researcher and Representative Alexis Spencer Notabartolo, he distributed a paper, “Research about Artists in the Workforce: A Labor Perspective,” that DPE developed with input from its AEMI unions, including their review at the October 27 meeting of the AEMI Industry Coordinating Committee (see “Arts, Entertainment And Media Unions Convene In Big Apple” in the November 2009 DPE NewsLine).
An independent account called the presentation “among the day’s best: the handout is an extraordinarily clear and well-organized document that takes exactly the kind of practical orientation to research recommended by [Columbia University Professor Joan] Jeffri. It’s essentially a memo to the NEA and the research community documenting problems with current data collection efforts and recommending a more comprehensive approach with the support and assistance of the unions.”
The NEA webcast the Forum live and plans to publish a Forum report in 2010. For a copy of the paper that DPE distributed, contact David Cohen, email@example.com, or Alexis Spencer Notabartolo, firstname.lastname@example.org. For the Forum agenda and a list of the invited presenters and participants, click here.
On the Executive Council, Howard replaces former SAG President Alan Rosenberg. For more information about the November 9 meeting, click here. To read more about Howard, go here. Image from www.sag.org.
NANCY WOHLFORTH RETIRES– After 31 years in the labor movement, Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Secretary-Treasurer Nancy Wohlforth is retiring this month. Wohlforth (right) also serves on the DPE Executive Committee, as co-president of the AFL-CIO constituency group Pride at Work, and on the AFL-CIO Executive Council.
Wohlforth called her work as OPEIU Secretary-Treasurer “the most difficult, most exciting job of my life. I got the chance to help build this union of ours, and to fight for things we believe in like health care for all, domestic partner benefits and social justice.” DPE photo.
The OPEIU Board named Mary Mahoney, president since 1995 of OPEIU Local 6 in Boston and an OPEIU regional vice president, to succeed Wohlforth on January 1, 2010. She will serve through the June convention and then run with OPEIU President Mike Goodwin for a full three-year term.
For the AFL-CIO blog account, click here.
AFTRA JOINS PftPI– At its November 19, 2009 meeting, the Joint Working Group (JWG) of Professionals for the Public Interest: Associations and Unions Defending Professional Integrity (PftPI) approved a request from the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) to join PftPI. AFTRA brings the number of participating organizations to 20.
The JWG followed the recommendation of the PftPI Operations and Ground Rules Subgroup, chaired by Joanne Carney of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which evaluated the AFTRA request against the criteria to which the JWG agreed. In a conference call on November 13, the subgroup also identified other organizations that PftPI will either research or reach out to.
Ray Garant of the American Chemical Society reported on the October 30 meeting of the Policy Subgroup, which Garant is chairing. Among the issues the subgroup will address are federal advisory committees, the White House position on scientific integrity, whistleblower protections, and the Freedom of Information Act.
At its October meeting, the JWG had heard from Vin O’Neill of IEEE-USA about plans for 2010 PftPI Forums. Suzanne Martin, Associate Director for Communications at the United American Nurses, reported on the November 16 meeting of the Communications Subgroup, which planned for publicizing the Forums and disseminating their content. The subgroup also developed recommendations for videotaping Congressional briefings for the PftPI website and for linking to Congressional hearings.
DPE extends a special thanks to the American Library Association (ALA) for hosting the November JWG meeting at the ALA Washington office. The JWG will meet next on January 21, 2010.
For more information about Professionals for the Public Interest, please contact DPE President Paul E. Almeida, email@example.com, 202-638-0320 ext 112, or Executive Director David Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 ext 113.
AFT HIGHLIGHTS INTERNATIONAL TEACHER RECRUITMENT – On November 18, 2009, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) hosted “A Stakeholders’ Forum on International Teacher Recruitment” in Washington, DC. The event brought together leaders from the labor movement, non-governmental and international advocacy groups and teachers to examine international teacher recruitment. The forum also highlighted the report “Importing Educators: Causes and Consequences of International Teacher Recruitment,” by the AFT International Affairs Department.
Attendees, including DPE President Paul E. Almeida and DPE Researcher and Representative Alexis Spencer Notabartolo, heard from a diverse and engaging set of speakers. AFT President Randi Weingarten, who opened the event, explained the background of AFT’s involvement and its efforts on behalf of exploited foreign-trained teachers in Louisiana. Ingrid Cruz, a foreign-trained teacher in East Baton Rouge Parish (LA), summed up the goal of the many foreign-trained teachers working with AFT: “We do not seek extra attention nor ask for accommodation. We just want pure justice for us and everybody else.”
REACHING OUT TO PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS: AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION– The American Public Health Association (APHA) held its annual meeting and exposition November 7-11 in Philadelphia. The oldest and largest gathering of public health professionals in the world, the meeting attracted more than 13,000 national and international physicians, nurses, educators, researchers, administrators, epidemiologists, and related health specialists.
The APHA Labor Caucus presented or co-sponsored these programs:
- Health, Professional Integrity and the Public Interest
The panel, moderated by DPE Executive Director David Cohen, featured Barclay Satterfield, Senior Policy Associate at the American Chemical Society’s Office of Public Policy, who presented the “American Chemical Society Perspective on Professional Integrity”; Melvin Wilson of the National Association of Social Workers on “Social Workers, Professional Standards and Patient Care”; and Ann Twomey, RN, President of Health Professionals and Allied Employees, AFT, about “Healthcare Professionals, Union Representation and Professional Integrity: Insights from Health Professionals and Allied Employees.”
- Health Information Technology: $19 Billion in Stimulus Monies Can Stimulate Many Problems for Health Care Workers
Cheryl Feldman, Director of the District 1199c Training and Upgrading Fund in Philadelphia, moderated. Charley Richardson from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, presented “How to Improve the Integration of Health Care Workers into the Design and Implementation of HIT”; Eva Powell, Director of the Health Information Technology Project at the National Partnership for Women and Families, “Patient-Centered Care Enabled by HIT: How Our System for Providing Care Must Change”; and Sara Markle-Elder, Government Relations Specialist at United American Nurses, “HIT and Frontline Workers: Experiences in the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System.”
- Building a Peace Economy
Kathleen Fagan, MD moderated this joint program of the APHA Labor and Peace Caucuses. On the panel were Robert Gould, MD, of Physicians for Social Responsibility, who addressed “The Costs of Militarism”; John Braxton, President of the American Federation of Teachers Local at Temple University in Philadelphia, representing US Labor Against the War on “The Costs of War for Working People”; and Robert Baugh from the AFL-CIO who offered “Green Thoughts for a Blue Economy.”
- Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan
Shown at the 2008 APHA annual meeting in San Diego, the film was invited back for the 2009 APHA FilmFest by popular demand. Winter soldiers, according to Tom Paine, are the people who stand up for the soul of their country, even in its darkest hours. “Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan” was a four-day event sponsored by Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) in 2008, and featured testimony exposing the human consequences of failed policy. It was named Winter Soldier to honor a similar gathering 30 years ago of veterans from the Vietnam War. This 65-minute film, especially produced for APHA, features public health related excerpts and testimony. Further footage can be accessed from the IVAW website.
- Health Activist Dinner
DPE also co-sponsored the Health Activist Dinner on Sunday, November 8, 2009, at the Ocean Harbor Restaurant in Philadelphia.
- The Barsky Award was presented to Dr. Mardge Cohen, Women’s Equity in Access to Care and Treatment (WE-ACTx);
- The Cornely Award was presented to Dr. Josh Sharfstein, Principal Deputy Commissioner of the FDA;
- The Wellstone Award was presented to Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY), Co-Chair, HR 676 Coalition
The Health Activist Dinner was formerly known as the Activist Physician Dinner, which identifies its roots in the Physicians Forum, an APHA caucus organized decades ago by progressive doctors. In addition to DPE, co-sponsors this year included the Physicians Forum, AFSCME, American Medical Student Association, Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU Healthcare, 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 the Doctors Council, SEIU.
DPE fact sheets, Professionals for the Public Interest materials and other information 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. DPE Researcher and Representative Alexis Spencer Notabartolo also participated in the APHA planning meeting for the 138th APHA Annual Meeting, “Social Justice: A Public Health Imperative,” which will be held in Denver, Colorado, November 6-10, 2010.
If you have any questions about the APHA Labor Caucus or the programs at the APHA annual meeting and exposition, please contact Alexis Spencer Notabartolo at email@example.com or (202) 638-0320 extension 119.