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 email@example.com.
In This Issue:
- New Fact Sheet: The Employee Free Choice Act, Professional Employees and the Public
- Almeida to Congress: Enact Performance Rights
- Reconciling Immigration and Employment
- Rocketing Toward a Launch: Hold May 20!
- DPE Executive Committee Reports on Economic Crisis
- Helping Independent Contractors Organize
- Arts and the Economy
- Rebuilding Economic Security and Empowering Workers
- DPE Seeks PftPI.org Web/New Media Intern
- DPE in the News
- DPE Signs On
NEW FACT SHEET: THE EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE ACT, PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEES AND THE PUBLIC – One crucial factor in reforming and rejuvenating the American economy is the restoration of balance between employees and employers. A professional’s choice to join or not join a union has been impeded by employer coercion and unreasonable delays, and encouraged by minimal financial penalties for employer illegalities. The Employee Free Choice Act helps to restore a healthy employee-employer balance by placing the decision to form a union and how to form it back in the hands of employees.
This new fact sheet examines the special relevance of the Employee Free Choice Act for professionals and why it is an essential element for protecting professional integrity through the right to union representation. Allowing professionals a choice as to how to organize themselves into unions not only benefits the represented professionals, but also the public they serve.
To view the new fact sheet in its entirety, visit the DPE website, http://www.dpeaflcio.org/programs/factsheets.htm, or email Marcie Lawrence, firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information, contact Alexis Spencer Notabartolo at (202) 638-0320, extension 119, or email email@example.com.
ALMEIDA TO CONGRESS: ENACT PERFORMANCE RIGHTS – On March 10, 2009, DPE President Paul E. Almeida urged Congress to enact performance rights.
Testifying before the Committee on the Judiciary of the U.S. House of Representatives, Almeida asked that “hundreds of thousands of recording artists, singers, and musicians … finally be able to receive the fair compensation they deserve for the work they create.” At issue: whether AM and FM radio stations, also called terrestrial radio, pay vocalists and musicians for playing the recordings that the performers create.
Almeida spoke for the 24 national unions affiliated with DPE, including AFM and AFTRA. He also delivered a letter that supported passage of H.R. 848, the Performance Rights Act, signed by the Presidents of the Service Employees International Union, the American Federation of Teachers, the United Steelworkers, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and the Communications Workers of America.
On the panel with Almeida (on the right) were Billy Corgan (on the left), vocalist and lead guitarist for the rock group Smashing Pumpkins, who testified as a representative of the musicFIRST coalition, www.musicfirstcoalition.org, to urge creation of performance rights; Mitch Bainwol, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Recording Industry Association of America, which also supports performance rights; W. Lawrence Patrick, President, Patrick
Photo: Rebecca Greenberg
Communications, an owner and broker of radio stations; Stan Liebowitz, Ph.D., Ashbel Smith Distinguished Professor of Managerial Economics, University of Texas at Dallas; and Steve Newberry, Chairman of the Radio Board, National Association of Broadcasters.
To read Almeida’s statement, click on http://judiciary.house.gov/_files/hearings/pdf/Almeida090310.pdf. To see a video webcast of the hearing or link to the statements of the other witnesses, go to http://judiciary.house.gov/index.cfm/2009/3/hearing-on-h-r-848-the-performance-rights-act-0.
RECONCILING IMMIGRATION AND EMPLOYMENT – On April 2, 2009, DPE President Paul E. Almeida spoke on a panel at the AFL-CIO about reconciling immigration reform and employment needs. He focused especially on H-1B high tech visas and stressed the need to invest in U.S. workers before importing labor from abroad.
The panel included Ana Avendaño, Director of the AFL-CIO Immigrant Worker Program, and Robert Pleasure, Education Director for the Building and Construction Trades Department. Its focus: a report by former Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall to the AFL-CIO Executive Council on March 5.
Marshall developed the report, a new approach to comprehensive immigration reform that protects labor standards and other worker rights, with an AFL-CIO Special Task Force on Immigration Reform, of which Paul Almeida was a member; and with the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). Marshall also consulted economists and immigration experts from academia, think tanks, and other organizations as well as civil rights and immigrant rights leaders and community-based organizations.
To read the March 2007 EPI report by Ray Marshall that stimulated the broader effort, go to http://www.sharedprosperity.org/bp186.html. Later this month, EPI will release the report that the AFL-CIO Executive Council approved.
ROCKETING TOWARD A LAUNCH: HOLD MAY 20! – It’s been a busy month. It had to be: On May 20, DPE will participate with 18 other national and global organizations in launching Professionals for the Public Interest: Associations and Unions Defending Professional Integrity (PftPI).
Over the last two years, outreach by DPE brought together eight professional associations and 10 national and international unions. All endorsed a consensus statement, Defining Common Ground on Professional Integrity. Taking into account the interests of the public, doing the job right, and fending off external pressures to do otherwise, resonate across disciplines and organizations.
In March, DPE hosted the latest meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) for PftPI, which approved an outline for a joint website and finalized a plan for the public launch. DPE began building the website and identifying media outreach specialists from the endorsing organizations in consultation with the communications subgroup. With the activities subgroup, DPE also refined a possible focal point for federal action.
For more information about Professionals for the Public Interest or the Joint Working Group, please contact DPE President Paul E. Almeida, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320, or Executive Director David Cohen, email@example.com, 202-638-0320 extension 113.
DPE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE REPORTS ON ECONOMIC CRISIS – On March 9, 2009, the members of the DPE Executive Committee briefed each other on the impact of the economic crisis on their unions. Cutbacks in public services, layoffs, bankrupt employers, ailing pension plans: the damage has been pervasive and profound.
DPE President Paul E. Almeida reminded the Executive Committee that the General Board meeting on June 18, 2009 will be the Quadrennial Meeting at which elections take place. He laid out the timeline under the DPE Constitution for notice of the meeting and the submission of resolutions. DPE staff also reported on their work with multiple projects: Professionals for the Public Interest, the Employee Free Choice Act, an Independent Contractors Work Group, and updated and newly developed Fact Sheets.
HELPING INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS ORGANIZE – Experts estimate that as much as one-third of the U.S. workforce is independent contractors. Over the last three years, unions affiliated with DPE focused on these workers through the DPE Work Group on Independent Contractors and Antitrust. That work has led to a new collaboration.
With lawyers and policy people from the AFL-CIO, AEA, AFSCME, AFT, CWA, IBEW, USW, and private law firms, the Independent Contractors Work Group met for the first time on March 11 and a second time on April 1. In collaboration with AFL-CIO Associate General Counsel William Lurye, DPE Executive Director David Cohen has facilitated the discussions around four questions: what unions would ideally be able to offer independent contractors as reasons to organize; what the legal obstacles are; strategies under the law as it is for overcoming those obstacles; and changes in the law that unions should propose.
For more about the project, please contact David Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 extension 113.
ARTS AND THE ECONOMY – On March 26, 2009, DPE Researcher Alexis Spencer Notabartolo and DPE Intern Kelly Gaberlavage attended the House Committee on Education and Labor hearing on “The Economic and Employment Impact of the Arts and Music Industry.” According to Chairman George Miller (D-CA), the hearing convened to examine “the impact of two important sectors of our economy—the arts and music—and how losses in these fields are impacting workers, families and communities across the country.”
Bruce Ridge, Chairman of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians, AFM, spoke of how “the arts help drive the economy, build communities, and educate future generations.” Mr. Ridge went on to point out that “too often forgotten, however, are the artists who make these contributions possible.”
This hearing was the first in a series that the House Committee on Education and Labor will hold this spring examining the impact of the arts on communities across the country. For more information on the Committee and its hearing schedule, visit its website: http://edlabor.house.gov/.
REBUILDING ECONOMIC SECURITY AND EMPOWERING WORKERS – On March 10, 2009, DPE Researcher Alexis Spencer Notabartolo attended the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing on “Rebuilding Economic Security: Empowering Workers to Restore the Middle Class.” The room was packed with hundreds of union members from around the country who came to watch and support their fellow members speaking in favor of the Employee Free Choice Act.
Professor Paula Voos, the Chair of the Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations at Rutgers University, responded to the claim that increased numbers of union members under the Employee Free Choice Act would result in higher unemployment: “I believe that’s implausible… The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in its employment outlook in 2006, looked at this very issue, of whether having higher unionization led to higher unemployment across a variety of industrial nations and they found no relationship, whatsoever.”
To watch the hearing, see the witness list, and read the testimony, please visit the Committee’s website, http://help.senate.gov/Hearings/2009_03_10/2009_03_10.html.
DPE SEEKS PftPI.ORG WEB/NEW MEDIA INTERN – In preparation for the May 20 public launch of Professionals for the Public Interest (PftPI), DPE has begun a search for a capable and qualified Web/New Media Intern to manage the soon-to-be-launched pftpi website. The Intern will be the point person for turning PftPI’s web presence into the nexus of a larger conversation about defending professional integrity from external pressures. The Intern will also be responsible for expanding PftPI’s presence on the internet via social networking sites and new media outlets.
DPE IN THE NEWS – The AFL-CIO Now Blog reported on the March 10 testimony of DPE President Paul E. Almeida about performance rights before the House Judiciary Committee; see http://blog.aflcio.org/2009/03/12/its-crazy-that-musicians-dont-get-paid-royalies-for-terrestial-radio/. For an earlier Blog article about performance rights, click on http://blog.aflcio.org/2009/03/04/performers-call-for-fairness-in-radio/. Media coverage of the hearing was extensive.
DPE SIGNS ON – In a letter of March 4, 2009, DPE President Paul E. Almeida commented to Congress about patent reform legislation. See http://dpeaflcio.org/archives/policy-letters-and-statements/letter-to-congress-regarding-patent-reform-legislation/