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:
- Hold the Date! PftPI Plans Higher Ed Research Forum in Philadelphia, April 4, 2011
- White House Forum Highlights Dangers to Public from Intellectual Property Theft
- Reaching Out to Professional Associations: American Public Health Association
- EPI on Immigration Reform: Match U.S. Needs
- Study: Unions Benefit Higher Ed Faculty
- DPE Signs On
HOLD THE DATE! PftPI PLANS RESEARCH FORUM IN PHILADELPHIA, APRIL 4, 2011 – On April 4, 2011, participate in a fascinating exchange in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, “Exploring Best Practices to Protect Research Integrity.”
In a November 18, 2010 conference call, the Joint Working Group (JWG) of Professionals for the Public Interest: Associations and Unions Defending Professional Integrity (PftPI) approved a revised proposal for the April 4 PftPI Forum from its Activities Subgroup, chaired by Vin O’Neill of IEEE-USA. Shepherded by Craig Smith and Chris Goff of the American Federation of Teachers Higher Education Department, the proposal drew immediate support from other PftPI organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Library Association, the American Public Health Association, the IEEE-USA, the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
The Forum will be the first outside Washington, DC. With breakout sessions around science, public health, and education, it also promises to be the most ambitious to date. PftPI Forums this year have focused on patient care (April 15), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and whistleblowers (May 11), and the use of science in public policy (October 27).
Other topics in the November 18 JWG conference call included:
● Debriefing the October 27 PftPI Forum. The JWG thanked Ray Garant and Audrey Leath of the American Chemical Society (ACS) for planning the Forum and Joanne Carney of AAAS for having AAAS host it;
● On the basis of a report by DPE Researcher and Representative Jennifer Dorning, authorizing an outreach to seek foundation funding for future PftPI Forums; and
● Approving a second PftPI policy statement. Policy Subgroup Chair Ray Garant of ACS noted the agreement of endorsing organizations to adopt “Protecting Integrity by Defending Whistleblowers” in the name of PftPI. He also briefed the JWG about the response of Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, to a proposal from the Policy Subgroup in a September 13 meeting that offered volunteer expert assistance to the Whistleblower Protection Program. Dr. Michaels cited legal difficulties in involving volunteers that precluded accepting the proposal. His writing a guest column about whistleblower rights for organizations in PftPI, however, remains a possibility.
For more information about PftPI, which DPE began organizing in 2007, contact DPE Executive Director David Cohen, email@example.com, 202-638-0320 extension 113.
WHITE HOUSE FORUM HIGHLIGHTS DANGERS TO PUBLIC FROM INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY THEFT – Batteries that explode or ignite. Ball bearings in a jet engine that fail in flight. Drugs that allow fatal illnesses to go unchecked or worse, poison the patient. Counterfeit products endanger all of us.
That was the message of the “White House Forum on IP Theft – Protecting Consumers’ Health and Safety” on December 14, 2010. Organized by the White House Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC), the Forum brought together Cabinet members and agency Chairs as well as representatives from federal and local law enforcement, industry, and labor. Among the labor representatives were DPE President Paul E. Almeida, Executive Director David Cohen, and SAG National Director of Government Relations and Policy Nancy Fox.
IPEC Victoria Espinel introduced and closed the session. She and other federal officials repeatedly noted how essential public-private partnerships are to combatting intellectual property (IP) theft. She announced a new non-profit organization to fight illegal online pharmacies that will bring together PayPal, Google, Microsoft, MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and others.
U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. (right) underscored that IP theft had become a Justice Department “focus area.” He noted that in addition to compromising health and safety, fake goods bring “serious economic consequences” and “destroy jobs.” Photo from http://www.justice.gov/ag/.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano echoed the theme and mentioned Operation In Our Sites, which targeted websites offering downloads of stolen films, music, and television shows. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton stressed the importance of “changing public attitudes” by bringing home the harms from IP theft: endangering public health and safety, depriving public services of tax revenues, destroying jobs, undercutting innovation and creativity, evading inspections and regulation, and funding organized crime.
A panel on counterfeit pharmaceuticals focused especially on online pharmacies. The panelists underscored the global nature of illegal supply chains and thus the importance of international cooperation to oppose IP theft. A second panel took up the global counterfeiting of trademarks, including assurances of quality like the approval mark of Underwriters Laboratories, a non-profit that tests products for public safety.
To read the speech by Attorney General Holder, click here. For more about Operation In Our Sites, including comments from International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) President Matthew D. Loeb, go here.
REACHING OUT TO PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS: AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION– The American Public Health Association (APHA) held its annual meeting and exposition – the oldest and largest gathering of public health professionals in the world – on November 7 to 11, 2010 in Denver.
Dr. Cornel West, Princeton professor and civil rights activist, delivered a rousing opening speech, which energized the nearly 12,000 national and international physicians, nurses, educators, researchers, administrators, epidemiologists, and related health specialists. Video of Mr. West and other speakers from the annual meeting can be found on APHA’s YouTube channel here.
The APHA Labor Caucus sponsored these programs:
• Standing Together for Rights and Working Conditions: Union Organizing and Occupational Safety and Health
Stephen Mooser, MPH, Health and Safety Director, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, moderated. The panel featured Tony Robinson, PhD, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Colorado, Denver, who presented “Workplace Health and Safety Organizing in the Informal Economy: Government/Grassroots Collaborations Targeting Hard-To-Reach Workers;” Pamela Vossenas, MPH, Health and Safety Specialist, UNITE HERE, “Hotel Workers Organize for Health and Safety: One Day Longer, One Day Safer;” and Stephen Mooser, “Roles of Health and Safety in Labor Organizing.”
• The Union Effect on the Social Determinants of Health
Jennifer Dorning, DPE Researcher and Representative, moderated. Dania Palanker, Health Care Policy Coordinator, Service Employees International Union, presented “Role of Unions in Passage and Implementation of Health Reform;” Aurita Apodaca, Organizer, FRESC (founded as the Front Range Economic Strategy Center), “Food Deserts, Union Action and Building Community Dialogue;” and Darryl Alexander, Director, American Federation of Teachers Health and Safety Program, “Union Effect on Work Environments: Safer Work for Everyone.”
DPE Fact Sheets and other information were distributed at a variety of APHA meetings and events where DPE had a presence and at several booths in the Exposition Hall. Jennifer Dorning also participated in the APHA planning meeting for the 139th APHA Annual Meeting, “Healthy Communities Promote Healthy Minds and Bodies,” which will be held in Washington, DC, October 29 – November 2, 2011.
If you have any questions about the APHA Labor Caucus or the programs at the APHA annual meeting and exposition, please contact Jennifer Dorning, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 638-0320 extension 114.
EPI ON IMMIGRATION REFORM: MATCH U.S. NEEDS– On December 9, 2010, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) held a conference on the proposed creation of an independent commission that would address labor shortages in the U.S.
Ray Marshall, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and a supporter of establishing an independent commission in the U.S., spoke on the opening panel. An independent commission would assist Congress in determining needs for high- and low-skilled workers. Officials from the United Kingdom’s independent commission, the Migration Advisory Committee, presented persuasive evidence that demonstrated the value of an independent commission.
Attending the conference were DPE President Paul E. Almeida and Researcher and Representative Jennifer Dorning. For more information, please contact Jennifer Dorning, 202-638-0320, extension 114, email@example.com.
STUDY: UNIONS BENEFIT HIGHER ED FACULTY – A national survey of 341 public universities concluded that unions benefit higher education faculty.
In the words of co-authors Stephen R. Porter and Clinton M. Stephens, “unionization greatly increases faculty influence over decision-making in areas such as setting faculty salary scales, individual faculty salaries, appointing department chairs, and appointments to institution-wide committees.”
Released in November 2010, their study drew immediate attention. The Chronicle of Higher Education published a November 15 account, “Unions Hold Mostly Pluses for Faculties at Public Colleges, Study Finds,” by Peter Schmidt. The account quoted a Cornell University professor who called the study “serious … and very well done.”
An abstract of the paper, “The Causal Effect of Faculty Unions on Institutional Decision-Making,” is available here. The same site offers a link to download the paper.
DPE SIGNS ON– DPE joined the American Federation of Government Employees, a union affiliated with DPE, and other organizations in a November 18, 2010 letter to President Obama and Congressional leaders urging the enactment of strong legislation to protect federal whistleblowers. To read the letter, click here.
DPE joined in a November 29 letter to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law that called for the United States to ratify the Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). To see the letter, go here.