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:
- DPE Salutes Trumka, Shuler, Holt Baker
- DPE Congratulates Langford, Reardon
- Professionals Shine At AFL-CIO Convention
- PftPI Plans For 2010 Forums
- SPEEA Comes to the Other Washington
- DPE in the News
DPE SALUTES TRUMKA, SHULER, HOLT BAKER – DPE salutes the newly elected officers of the national AFL-CIO: President Richard L. Trumka (middle), Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler (right) and Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker (left).
As a delegate to the 26th AFL-CIO Convention in Pittsburgh, DPE President Paul E. Almeida joined in the unanimous election by acclamation on September 16: “There was a real electricity to the election. Rich, Liz and Arlene ignite a special dynamism and hope. All of us at DPE look forward to working with them.” DPE extends its thanks, admiration and best wishes to now retired AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and his Executive Assistant and Chief of Staff Bob Welsh, whose consistently constructive interactions with DPE assisted so much of its work and that of its affiliated unions.
For more background about the new officers, click here. Photo by Bill Burke/Page One.
DPE CONGRATULATES LANGFORD, REARDON – In addition to electing the top three officers (see “DPE Salutes Trumka, Shuler, Holt Baker” above), the AFL-CIO Convention on September 16 elected the 51 members of the AFL-CIO Executive Council. Among the nine new members of the Executive Council were two from unions affiliated with DPE: D. Michael Langford (left), NationalPresident of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) and Roberta Reardon (right), National President of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). DPE congratulates both. Photo of D. Michael Langford from www.uwua.net; photo of Roberta Reardon by Ray Bradford, AFTRA.
For a full list of the new Executive Council members, check here.
Monday, September 14: In the morning, the Convention unanimously adopted a resolution that DPE submitted, “In the Interests of the Public, Professionals Belong in Unions” (Resolution 27). Speaking for passage were American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Secretary-Treasurer Antonia Cortese (right), who also serves as DPE Treasurer; and International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) President Gregory J. Junemann (left), a member of the DPE Executive Committee. Photos by Bill Burke/Page One.
The resolution highlights the stunning growth of professional and technical occupations in the U.S., where professional and technical people have become more than 60 percent of the workforce and more than 52 percent of union members. It underscores the importance to professional and technical people of being able to do their work right, so they serve the public, and of opposing the threats to that ability from external pressures. Last but not least, it commends the professional associations that have joined with 10 unions affiliated with DPE – and DPE itself – in Professionals for the Public Interest: Associations and Unions Defending Professional Integrity (PftPI).
On Monday afternoon, the Convention offered eight simultaneous breakout sessions. DPE hosted one – the only trade or industrial department to do so – and participated in a second.
Despite a long day of Convention activities, the breakout session that DPE hosted, “Professionals and Unions: Organizing, Bargaining and Advocacy,” drew 35 thoroughly engaged participants, including two guests from the National Education Association. It featured panelists Phil Kugler, Assistant to the President for Organization and Field Services, AFT (left); Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, National Executive Director, AFTRA (middle); and DPE President Paul E. Almeida (right). DPE Executive Director David Cohen moderated. Photo by Ray Bradford, AFTRA.
DPE closed the session to the media to allow a candid discussion. Despite that, or perhaps because of it, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on September 15 published “Unions Pursue Professionals.”
Meanwhile, DPE Researcher and Representative Alexis Spencer Notabartolo took part in the breakout session “Developing the Next Generation of Union Leaders.” Several groups highlighted their work to bring more young people into the labor movement and encourage leadership among young members. The packed room heard from Jenn Jannon and Tahir Duckett of Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, about effective approaches for recruiting and retaining young people; Carla Insinga and Darrin Spann of AFSCME Council 13 (Pennsylvania), about their use of the successful AFSCME Next Wave program to foster the next generation of AFSCME leaders; and Elizabeth McElroy from the Philadelphia AFL-CIO and Michael Fedor from the Central Pennsylvania Labor Council about successful practices in fostering young union staff members. Cathy Howell of the AFL-CIO moderated.
Wednesday, September 16: The Convention passed unanimously two resolutions that DPE submitted. The first, “Unions Should Give People with Disabilities a Voice and a Face” (Resolution 18), grew out of a national campaign, I AM PWD, Inclusion in the Arts and Media of People with Disabilities, that the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), AFTRA, and Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) launched on October 6, 2008. (For an account of the launch – and the participation of DPE – see the November 2008 DPE NewsLine and scroll down to “People With Disabilities In the Arts & Media.” For more about I.AM.PWD, click here.)
A project of the Tri-Union Performers With Disabilities (PWD) Committee, led by actor Robert David Hall (left) of the television show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, the campaign seeks to promote, in the entertainment industry, accuracy in portraying, inclusion of, and access for people with disabilities. The campaign resonated immediately with other workers and unions. At the June 2009 DPE General Board meeting, SAG, AFTRA, and AEA recommended broadening the initiative, which led to the resolution that DPE submitted. Photo by Bob Baugh, AFL-CIO.
Robert David Hall led a sequence of speakers who eloquently supported the resolution. In 1978, he was the victim of an accident that led to the amputation of both legs and walks on prosthetics. Gregory J. Junemann, IPFTE President, recounted his legal blindness, the result of a childhood illness. DPE President Paul E. Almeida spoke to the origins of and need for the resolution.
To read the resolution, click here. To read the AFL-CIO Now Blog about the Convention and its diversity resolutions, go here.
The second resolution from DPE followed a brief but powerful video, featuring 47 star performers, members of multiple entertainment unions who organized as Artists for Workers Choice, urging that the Employee Free Choice Act become law. To watch the video, go here.
The resolution, “Recognition of Theodore Bikel’s Years of Labor Service” (Resolution 26), brought the Convention to an emotional high point. With at least four standing ovations, the Convention recognized much more than just Theo Bikel’s service to labor. It acknowledged a lifetime of social justice activism and artistic achievement.
Among the speakers were American Federation of Musicians (AFM) President Tom Lee (right), AEA Third Vice President Ira Mont, AFTRA President Roberta Reardon, and SAG delegate Mike Hodge, since elected President of SAG New York. They followed a chorus of eight outstanding singers, also members of multiple performers’ unions, in a moving song from Fiddler on the Roof. Theo Bikel (left) responded in a gripping and heartfelt reflection on progress, from the 1963 Birmingham jail to the 2008 Presidential election; to listen, click here. Photo of Tom Lee by Bill Burke/Page One; photo of Theo Bikel by Bob Baugh, AFL-CIO.
Pre-Convention: Even before the Convention began, DPE was at work in Pittsburgh. On September 12, DPE President Paul E. Almeida participated in the Convention Constitution and Bylaws Committee. On September 13, before the Convention opened, DPE President Paul E. Almeida, Executive Director David Cohen and Researcher and Representative Alexis Spencer Notabartolo were among the 500 union activists at the AFL-CIO National Summit on Diversity, “Power in Diversity: Strengthening Our Union Movement.”
The Summit reflected the gains in labor movement diversity since its passage of Resolution 2, “A Diverse Movement Calls for Diverse Leadership,” at the 2005 AFL-CIO Convention. The Summit also discussed and developed new ways to build on the principles in Resolution 2, including Resolution 7, “A Diverse and Democratic Labor Movement,” which delegates at the AFL-CIO Convention later approved.
The National Summit on Diversity featured speakers from AFL-CIO constituency groups discussing ways they encourage diversity in the labor movement, young labor leaders discussing their efforts to involve more young people and help them to become leaders, and a video highlighting the tri-union “I.AM.PWD” (Inclusion in the Arts and Media of People with Disabilities; see “Wednesday, September 16” above) campaign by Actors’ Equity, the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists, and the Screen Actors Guild.
PftPI PLANS FOR 2010 FORUMS – On September 24, 2009, the Joint Working Group (JWG) of Professionals for the Public Interest: Associations and Unions Defending Professional Integrity (PftPI) began its planning for PftPI Forums in 2010.
At the first JWG meeting since July 23, Vin O’Neill of IEEE-USA reported on the Activities Subgroup recommendations – from a September 3 subgroup meeting – for the PftPI Forums. Members of the JWG shared the dates of organizational meetings scheduled in 2010 for Washington, DC; discussed how the Forums might coordinate with the meetings; and volunteered to work on specific topics, including scientific integrity, external pressures on medical and behavioral health workers, and whistleblower protections.
Also on the agenda were updates: from the AFL-CIO Convention, about the PftPI website, and about the new Policy Subgroup. The JWG also agreed on the subgroups that should convene, and the tasks they should address, before its next meeting.
For more information about Professionals for the Public Interest, please contact DPE President Paul E. Almeida, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 ext 112, or Executive Director David Cohen, email@example.com, 202-638-0320 ext 113.
SPEEA COMES TO THE OTHER WASHINGTON – On September 29, 2009, DPE hosted a legislative briefing for a delegation from the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), Local 2001 of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, AFL-CIO (IFPTE). SPEEA headquarters are in Seattle, WA.
Accompanying the delegates – Joel Funfar, Ricky Hoffman, Dan H. Johnson, Sheree Kennedy, Debbie Logsdon, Brent McFarlane, Ruth Mulhatten, and Dwight Rousu – was SPEEA Legislative Director Stan Sorscher. Providing updates for them were IFPTE President Gregory J. Junemann, IFPTE Assistant to the President and Legislative Director Matt Biggs, AFL-CIO lobbyist Brett Gibson, DPE President Paul E. Almeida, Executive Director David Cohen, and Researcher and Representative Alexis Spencer Notabartolo.
On September 25, Variety quoted DPE President Paul E. Almeida in “Espinel named ‘intellectual property czar’ – Copyright protection proponents praise appointment”; to read the article, click here.
On September 26, in “Obama nominates Espinel for IP czar,” The Financial Times also cited President Almeida; for the article, go here.