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:
- Arts, Entertainment And Media Unions Convene In Big Apple
- PftPI Prepares For 2010 Forums, Launches Policy Subgroup
- DPE Executive Committee Meets After AFL-CIO Convention
- DPE Pays Tribute
- DPE Walks the Line
- DPE Welcomes Web and New Media Intern
- DPE Signs On
ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT AND MEDIA UNIONS CONVENE IN BIG APPLE – Top leaders and staff from unions in the Arts, Entertainment and Media Industries, Industry Coordinating Committee (AEMI ICC) convened in New York City on October 27, 2009 to take up a jam-packed agenda.
DPE President Paul E. Almeida led a review of DPE activities at the September 2009 AFL-CIO Convention and a discussion of next steps. To see the three resolutions from DPE and its affiliated unions that the Convention adopted, go here. The same DPE web page includes newly posted videos from the Convention; among them is a moving tribute to legendary performer and activist Theo Bikel.
Then the participants heard from Professor Joan Jeffri, Director of the Research Center for Arts and Culture, Teachers College, Columbia University. In a fascinating presentation, she recounted her previous research about aging visual artists, which led among other results to 13 free studio spaces for their use in New York City, and her current project studying aging performing artists. For information about her work and the Research Center, click here.
On November 20, DPE Executive Director David Cohen, accompanied by DPE Researcher and Representative Alexis Spencer Notabartolo, is scheduled to offer a labor perspective at a National Endowment for the Arts Cultural Workforce Research Forum. David and Lexi circulated a draft of a document for distribution at the Forum and invited feedback.
Also on the agenda were updates from the AEMI unions about specific organizing, bargaining, legislative, and other projects. Included was a strong statement by IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb stressing the urgency for U.S. workers of combatting the international piracy of intellectual property. The participants also discussed briefly participation in a 2010 Professionals for the Public Interest (PftPI) Forum on the First Amendment and censorship (see “PftPI Prepares For 2010 Forums, Launches Policy Subgroup” below).
President Almeida chaired the meeting at the New York offices of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), to which DPE extends special thanks. In the room were 20 representatives from AEA, the AFL-CIO, AFM, AFTRA, DPE, IATSE, OPEIU, SAG, WGAE, and invited guest AGVA. SAG President Ken Howard offered its Los Angeles offices for the next AEMI ICC meeting on January 26, 2010.
PftPI PREPARES FOR 2010 FORUMS, LAUNCHES POLICY SUBGROUP – At its October 22, 2009 meeting, the Joint Working Group (JWG) of Professionals for the Public Interest: Associations and Unions Defending Professional Integrity (PftPI) continued preparations for 2010 PftPI Forums and focused on a new subgroup to develop PftPI policies.
Chair of the Activities Subgroup Vin O’Neill of IEEE-USA reviewed five proposed topics for the PftPI Forums on which the Activities Subgroup agreed at its October 13 meeting: scientific integrity in public policymaking, cutting corners in medical and behavioral health, whistleblower protections for federal agency employees, federal scientists and scientific integrity, and First Amendment and censorship issues. He detailed the next steps through which subgroup volunteers will develop each topic.
Audrey Thomas Leath, Senior Public Policy Associate at the American Chemical Society (ACS), offered a model that PftPI might use for organizing the Forums. In a detailed and helpful presentation, she outlined the process by which ACS presents 10 to 12 briefings each year on Capitol Hill.
As temporary chair of the new Policy Subgroup, DPE President Paul E. Almeida announced that Ray Garant of ACS agreed to chair the subgroup. The Policy Subgroup met on October 8 for the first time, went over the listings in the PftPI website Bill Tracker, and recommended modifications and additions. It also agreed on a procedure by which PftPI should decide whether to adopt letters of comment on proposed bills or regulations, which the Joint Working Group adopted.
The Policy Subgroup also reported on its initial list of projects: a letter of comment on proposed amendments to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, a statement of position about whistleblower protections, an anticipated response from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on scientific integrity, the Freedom of Information Act, and the Patriot Act. Ray Garant chaired an October 30 Policy Subgroup meeting to continue its work on these projects.
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 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETS AFTER AFL-CIO CONVENTION – On October 19, 2009, the DPE Executive Committee met for the first time after the 2009 AFL-CIO Convention. AFM President and DPE Chair Tom Lee commended the high visibility that the Convention brought DPE and its affiliated unions. Others echoed his view. AFT Secretary-Treasurer and DPE Treasurer Antonia Cortese highlighted a clean audit and balanced budget. Executive Committee members reported on developments in their unions, and DPE staff described their work involving immigration, Professionals for the Public Interest (PftPI), and research and publications.
DPE PAYS TRIBUTE – On October 27, 2009, the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC) hosted its 2009 Human Rights Award Dinner in New York City. It honored Roberta Reardon, National President of AFTRA; Morton Sloan, President of Morton Williams Supermarkets; and John T. Ahearn, President of the New York City Central Labor Council and Business Manager and Financial Secretary of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 30. At the invitation of RWDSU and JLC President Stuart Appelbaum, DPE President Paul E. Almeida presented the award to Roberta Reardon.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. did the honors for Morton Sloan, while AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka both gave the keynote address and honored Jack Ahearn. Joining the hundreds in attendance were many leaders and staff from unions affiliated with DPE as well as DPE Executive Director David Cohen and Researcher and Representative Alexis Spencer Notabartolo. For more information about the JLC and a report about the dinner, click here.
On October 21, DPE President Almeida and Executive Director Cohen joined a Washington, DC dinner celebrating the 40th anniversary of the National Employment Law Project (NELP) and honoring, among others, AFL-CIO Chief of Staff (and former General Counsel) Jon Hiatt. To learn more about NELP, go here.
DPE WALKS THE LINE – On October 8, 2009, DPE President Paul E. Almeida and David Cohen joined a crowd of thousands on Freedom Plaza protesting disruptive and unjust layoffs of almost 400 District of Columbia Public Schools employees. For an AFT account of the “Rally for Respect,” go here.
On October 14, they joined a picket line in front of the Uzbekistan Embassy protesting the abuses of the Uzbek government, which regularly withdraws children from school for months to harvest cotton. For more about the abuses and protest, click here.
DPE WELCOMES WEB AND NEW MEDIA INTERN – DPE has hired Andrew Nacin, a student at George Washington University (GWU), as its Web and New Media Intern to manage the web presence of DPE and Professionals for the Public Interest (PftPI). Andrew comes to DPE with a strong background in web development and design and is the web director for The GW Hatchet, the award-winning independent student newspaper at GWU.
DPE SIGNS ON – On August 19, 2009, DPE joined a letter to freshmen in the U.S. House of Representatives urging that they support a tax surcharge on top earners to finance health care reform. Unions affiliated with DPE also signing the letter include AFM, AFGE, AFSCME, IAMAW, IBEW, and USW. To see the letter, click here.
DPE signed on with other unions to an October 15 ad in The Washington Post and other publications describing the Senate Finance bill for health care reform as “deeply flawed.” DPE joined an October 16 letter to the Senate on the same theme. To read the letter, go here.