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:
- PftPI Builds On Consensus, Maps Future
- DPE General Board Elects Officers, Prepares For AFL-CIO Convention
- American Library Association Convenes, DPE Contributes
- Fact Sheet Updates
- AFL-CIO Executive Council and DPE
- Independent Contractors and Unions
- Community Colleges and The President
- DPE in the News
- DPE Signs On
PftPI BUILDS ON CONSENSUS, MAPS FUTURE – Professionals for the Public Interest: Associations and Unions Defending Professional Integrity (PftPI) has been busy.
Since the May 20, 2009 PftPI launch at the National Press Club (for a report on the launch, click here), DPE has organized and facilitated meetings of the PftPI Joint Working Group (JWG) on June 25 and July 23; meetings of the subgroups on communications, activities, and operations and ground rules; and other meetings to complete specific tasks.
The good work of the 19 organizations in PftPI brought results:
- PftPI adopted its first policy statement, “Professionals and the Federal Advisory System.” The statement underscores the value that “frontline professionals and other practitioners” add to federal advisory committees. It stresses that professionals on those committees “should not be expected to compromise or ignore professional standards, to put personal or public safety at risk, or to alter, downplay or withhold research data or findings.” It concludes: “The FACA [Federal Advisory Committee Act] panels are a primary vehicle to involve professionals in the development of federal programs, policies, regulations, and standards. Their involvement ensures a prudent and more effective use of federal resources.”
- PftPI agreed on its objectives for the next 12 months. They include developing forums about external pressures on professional integrity and the stakes for the public; defining more clearly a governance structure for PftPI; and engaging more members of the participating organizations, policymakers, and the public in the PftPI website.
- PftPI added a new subgroup on public policy to make recommendations to the Joint Working Group. The JWG agreed that its public policy work will take place on two levels, first adopting general statements of principles like that about federal advisory committees (see above) and then applying them to specifics of legislation and regulation.
- PftPI established criteria for new organizations to participate and a process for applying the criteria.
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.
DPE GENERAL BOARD ELECTS OFFICERS, PREPARES FOR AFL-CIO CONVENTION – On June 18, 2009, the DPE General Board elected the officers who will serve DPE for the next four years. It also prepared for the September 2009 AFL-CIO Convention and reviewed the work of DPE over the last four years.
Elected for the next four years were:
- Chair of DPE: Tom Lee (President, AFM)
- President of DPE: Paul E. Almeida
- First Vice President of DPE: Bill Lucy (Secretary-Treasurer, AFSCME)
- Treasurer of DPE: Antonia Cortese (Secretary-Treasurer, AFT)
- General Vice Presidents of DPE:
- J. Walter Cahill (3rd Vice President, IATSE)
- John Connolly (Executive Director, AEA)
- Kim Hedgpeth (Executive Director, AFTRA)
- Greg Junemann (President, IFPTE)
- Phil Kugler (Assistant to the President and Director of Organization and
- Field Services, AFT)
- Carol Landry (International VP at Large, USW)
- John McGuire (Senior Advisor, SAG)
- Sharon Pinnock (Director, Membership and Organization Department, AFGE)
- Nancy Wohlforth (Secretary-Treasurer, OPEIU)
The General Board extended special thanks to former USW Secretary-Treasurer Jim English, who served on the DPE Executive Committee until his retirement this year; and a special welcome to Carol Landry, who now represents USW.
Preparations for the AFL-CIO Convention began with a briefing by AFL-CIO Executive Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff Robert W. Welsh. They included General Board approval for the DPE staff to prepare three resolutions for the Convention, including a proposal to build on the I AM PWD campaign – Inclusion in the Arts and Media of People with Disabilities – and form a constituency group for workers with disabilities. (For more about I AM PWD, click here.)
DPE Chair Tom Lee praised the extraordinary amount that DPE accomplished with such a small staff. DPE President Paul E. Almeida led the presentation of the DPE Quadrennial Report about DPE activities over the last four years and recalled the contributions of retired Executive Director Mike Gildea and retired Assistant to the President Pamela Wilson. DPE Executive Director David Cohen and Researcher and Representative Alexis Spencer Notabartolo each detailed aspects of the report. Among the topics on which the DPE staff reported: the development of Professionals for the Public Interest, the goals and work of a multi-union work group on independent contractors, outreach to professional associations; the Arts, Entertainment and Media Industries, Industry Coordinating Committee; new research projects, and new and updated Fact Sheets. To read the 33-page written account, click here.
AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION CONVENES, DPE CONTRIBUTES – The American Library Association Annual Conference brought more than 27,000 participants to Chicago, Illinois, from July 9-15, 2009. The turnout represented a huge increase in participation at an ALA Annual Meeting and reflected a large jump in student participants and members. DPE’s contributions were well received and brought high levels of audience involvement for each program DPE worked on. DPE works directly with both ALA and its companion organization, the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA), which focuses on two areas: certification, and salaries and status.
Since 2005, DPE has co-chaired the AFL-CIO-ALA Joint Committee on Library Services to Labor Groups. Labor members of the committee include Jessica Storrs, AFSCME and Jannie Cobb, National Labor College (NLC). This year, DPE Researcher and Representative Alexis Spencer Notabartolo joined the committee as all involved congratulated Pamela Wilson on her committee service and retirement. Each year, the AFL-CIO-ALA Committee develops and organizes a program for the annual conference. In recent years, these programs have been Library Journal “picks” for the conference.
The program this year, “Love the Work, Hate the Job,” featured author David Kusnet discussing his book of the same title and the role professional integrity plays across professions. The question and answer session was wide ranging and featured several audience members discussing their views on how their union membership helps protect their professional integrity and allows them to better serve the public. Mr. Kusnet’s talk took place in a room filled to capacity, with more than 100 people in attendance. Mr. Kusnet also took time to sign copies of Love the Work, Hate the Job, published in 2008 by Wiley Press.
During the ALA conference, the Joint Committee met to plan its program and activities for the 2010 Annual Conference program to be held in Washington, D.C. The Committee is investigating several options for events on the theme “Labor Rights are Human Rights.” The committee also heard a presentation from James Kuhn of the Folger Shakespeare Library regarding the Merritt Fund, which provides financial and legal assistance to library workers facing discrimination or defending intellectual freedom. The publication Labor Films: An Annotated Bibliography, developed by Jannie Cobb, librarian and faculty member, NLC, is now available on the Joint Committee’s wiki.
The Committee’s booth in the Exposition Hall featured labor materials, including several DPE fact sheets, bibliographies, brochures, resource guides, AFL-CIO materials, and posters illustrating the union difference for library worker salaries.
The ALA’s 2009 John Sessions Award, named in honor of a former AFL-CIO Education Director and co-chair of the AFL-CIO-ALA Joint Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups, was given to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wirtz Labor Library. This honor, presented annually by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) and supported by a donation from DPE, recognizes a library or library system that made a significant effort to work with the labor community and brought recognition to the contribution of the labor movement to the development of the United States. At the RUSA Awards Ceremony and Reception, Richard V. French, director of the library’s Center for Program Planning and Review, received the winner’s plaque on behalf of the library.
In addition to its work with the Joint Committee, DPE works closely with ALA-APA and sits on the Standing Committee on the Salaries and Status of Library Workers. Pamela Wilson passed the torch to Alexis Spencer Notabartolo at this Annual Meeting. Among the highlights of ALA-APA at the Annual Conference were:
- Adoption of an Overtime Pay Protection Resolution. Pamela Wilson worked with ALA member Patricia Anderson, Library Director, Montville Township Public Library, other members of the ALA-APA Standing Committee on the Salaries and Status of Library Workers, and members of the AFL-CIO legal department to craft a resolution “urging the President of the United States and DOL to revise wage and hour regulations so they do not exclude workers from overtime pay protections.” This resolution was adopted by ALA-APA on July 15 and will soon be available on the ALA and DPE websites. Resolutions in support of the Employee Free Choice Act and living wages were developed in a similar way and adopted in 2006 and 2008, respectively. The ALA-APA Standing Committee now plans to focus its attention on the development and adoption of a resolution to address the outsourcing of library work and its impact on library workers and the communities they serve.
- Completion of a Pay Equity Bibliography. This resource, available to all ALA members, is a practical tool for library workers advocating for better salaries and status. Compiled by ALA-APA, the bibliography covers a wide range of resources, including salary surveys.
- “There is a Union Difference- In Salaries.” This program highlighted The Union Difference for Library Workers, a publication that resulted from collaboration between ALA-APA and DPE illustrating the union advantage for the salaries of library workers. Taking the annual ALA-APA salary survey, DPE worked with the Standing Committee on the Salary and Status of Library Workers to include, for the first time, a question about union membership. The survey data was then analyzed by DPE and showed that, as a whole, U.S. union library workers earn almost 21% more than their non-union counterparts. The panel discussion included William Thompson, Associate Professor, Western Illinois University and AFT member; Lydia Morrow-Ruetten, Professor, Governors State University; Nina Manning, Local 1930, DC 37 AFSCME, The New York Public Library Guild; and Carol Thomas, DC 37 AFSCME, The New York Public Library Guild. Topics ranged from how the Employee Free Choice Act will benefit library workers to experiences with fighting budget cuts and coping with decreasing funding. A variety of DPE materials were distributed, and several people expressed interest in more information about how to organize their libraries.
- “Medicare for All.” This program featured Dr. Quentin Young, the National Coordinator for Physicians for a National Health Program, discussing the issue of single payer national health insurance. Dr. Young, a highly respected voice on civil rights and social justice who “retired from his medical practice to continue the fight against the corporate takeover of healthcare,” clearly laid out the argument for a single payer program and how the U.S. government could implement it.
- “Toot Your Horn: Improving Your Image.” This program featured Donna Cardillo, RN, a nurse, career development “guru”, professional keynote speaker, author, consultant, and coach who knows that librarians, like nurses, don’t get the status and credibility they deserve. Her workshop focused on how to change that situation.
- SirsiDynix – ALA-APA Better Salaries Breakfast – This year two individuals and one library board won the annual SirsiDynix – ALA-APA award for Outstanding Achievement in Promoting Salaries and Status for Library Workers. The Anderson County Library Board of Clinton, TN; Lynn Sutton, director of Wake Forest University Library, Winston-Salem, NC; and Mohamed Ismail of the Integrated Care Society in Cairo, Egypt, were recognized for their work on behalf of library workers. Non-monetary recognition was paid to Dr. Leigh Estabrook, Dean Emerita of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Graduate School of Library and Information Science, for her extensive work on salary and status negotiations. Jonathan Harwell, Patricia Anderson and DPE’s Pamela Wilson were also recognized for their work on the living wage resolution for all library workers that the ALA-APA Council passed in June 2008.
Plans for 2010 include a session based on the Professionals for the Public Interest (PftPI) coalition DPE is a part of and a “Unions 101” panel to answer the questions many library workers have about joining or forming a union but don’t know where to ask. There was a good deal of discussion about developing new strategies on publicizing national library workers day, a topic to be revisited at future ALA-APA events.
Library workers are represented by DPE affiliates including AFGE, AFSCME, AFT, IFPTE, OPEIU, and USW. For information about ALA and the Annual Meeting, see www.ala.org. See the DPE Fact Sheet on Library Workers at http://www.dpeaflcio.org/programs/factsheets.htm. For information about the meetings of the Joint Committee or the ALA-APA Committee on the Salaries and Status of Library Workers, or to learn more about DPE’s involvement, contact Alexis Spencer Notabartolo by telephone, 202-638-0320 extension 119, or via email, email@example.com.
FACT SHEET UPDATES – A number of Fact Sheets on the DPE website have been updated:
- Guest Worker Programs and the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) Workforce
- Social Service Workers: A Portrait
- The Service Sector: Projections and Current Stats
- Vital Workforce Statistics
- Nurses: Vital Signs
- The Costs and Benefits of Safe Staffing Ratios
- Scientists and Engineers: Vital Statistics
- Professional Women: Vital Statistics
- Library Workers: Facts & Figures
To view all of DPE’s fact sheets, visit our website, or email Marcie Lawrence, firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information, contact DPE Researcher and Representative Alexis Spencer Notabartolo at (202) 638-0320, extension 119, or email email@example.com.
AFL-CIO EXECUTIVE COUNCIL AND DPE – DPE President Paul E. Almeida, accompanied by Executive Director David Cohen, represented DPE at the July 28, 2009 meeting of the AFL-CIO Executive Council. A review of plans for the September 2009 AFL-CIO Convention mentioned DPE as leading an afternoon breakout session about “Professionals and Unions” on Monday, September 14. DPE is only trade or industrial department that will host a breakout session. A report on a proposed immigration resolution also referred to the contributions of DPE.
INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS AND UNIONS – What would unions ideally be able to offer independent contractors as reasons to organize? What are the legal obstacles? How might independent contractors and unions overcome those obstacles under the law as it is? What changes in the law should unions propose?
These questions frame the work of the Independent Contractors Work Group, which brings together lawyers and policy people from the AFL-CIO, AEA, AFSCME, AFT, CWA, IBEW, USW, and private law firms. Facilitated by DPE Executive Director David Cohen in collaboration with AFL-CIO Associate General Counsel William Lurye, the work group grew out of the work of unions affiliated with DPE through the DPE Work Group on Independent Contractors and Antitrust.
On July 1, 2009, the work group met for the third time. The two primary focal points of the meeting were models of organization that serve independent contractors and an antitrust analysis from AFL-CIO Associate General Counsel James Coppess of proposals from the first two meetings.
For more about the project, please contact David Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 extension 113.
COMMUNITY COLLEGES AND THE PRESIDENT – On July 1, 2009, DPE Executive Director David Cohen joined representatives from the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, AFT, and IAM in a meeting with White House staff about community colleges and workforce development. On July 14, President Obama announced his American Graduation Initiative to “help an additional 5 million Americans earn degrees and certificates in the next decade” through strengthening community colleges.
DPE IN THE NEWS – In ’Fair Pay for Air Play’ Won’t Hurt Black Radio Stations by James Parks (July 20, 2009), the AFL-CIO Now Blog quoted the March testimony of DPE President Paul E. Almeida before the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.
In Dionne Warwick: ‘Fair Pay for Air Play’ About Economic Justice by James Parks (July 30, 2009), the AFL-CIO Now Blog referred to the support of DPE for the Civil Rights for Musicians Act (H.R. 848).
DPE SIGNS ON – On July 6, 2009, DPE joined a letter to the Office of Management and Budget about federal sourcing. Unions affiliated with DPE that also joined the letter include AFGE, AFSCME, AFT, IAFF, IAM, IBEW, and IFPTE.
On July 21, 2009, DPE joined a letter to Members of the House of Representatives urging that they cosponsor H.R. 2381, the Nurse and Health Care Worker Protection Act of 2009 that Representative John Conyers introduced. Unions affiliated with DPE that also signed were AFGE, AFT, UAN, and USW.