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. Back issues of NewsLine are available in our Archive.
In This Issue:
- Almeida To Senate: Intellectual Property Theft Hurts Workers
- DPE Works Toward Workplace Learning
- American Library Association Convenes, DPE Contributes
- “Next Up” Shines A Light On Young Workers And Leaders
- DPE General Board Reviews Year, Increases Funding
- Almeida Attends June Board Meetings
- DPE Takes Part in Collective Bargaining Forum On Health Care Implementation
- DPE Fact Sheet Updates
- DPE In the News
- DPE Signs On
- DPE Starts Search to Hire Researcher & Representative (See Job Announcement)
– To the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, DPE President Paul E. Almeida conveyed a “simple” message:
Intellectual property equates to jobs and income for American workers. Theft of intellectual property raises unemployment and cuts income. For too many workers in the United States today, both jobs and income are hard to come by.
Almeida (left) testified on June 23, 2010. He highlighted online digital theft and product counterfeiting. He noted, “While exact numbers are difficult to find, there can be no question about the magnitude of the problem for the entire United States: billions of dollars in lost revenues for U.S. industries and millions of lost U.S. jobs.” Photo by U.S. Senate Photographic Studio, courtesy of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
Almeida also met head-on an “ill-founded and thoughtlessly repeated misconception that unions somehow undercut industry competitiveness.” He pointed out that the arts, entertainment, and media industries and aerospace are all heavily unionized. Rather than making these sectors uncompetitive, unions allow professional and technical people to do their jobs right. The result: these sectors are “among the all-too-few U.S. industries that generate substantial trade surpluses in the midst of growing U.S. trade deficits.”
Read Almeida’s written testimony here. Watch the hearing here (the hearing begins at roughly minute 19; Almeida’s testimony, at minute 82). Link to other statements submitted for the hearing here. Read the March 2, 2010 AFL-CIO Executive Council statement that Almeida submitted to the Committee, “Piracy Is a Danger to Entertainment Professionals.”
The Judiciary Committee hearing came a day after Vice President Joe Biden and White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria A. Espinel released the 2010 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement. Congress created the position that Espinel holds in the PRO IP (“Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property”) Act of 2008. The same law required developing a plan for federal action.
The Judiciary Committee held its June 23 hearing to oversee the coordinator’s office and activities. Following testimony by Espinel, Almeida praised “the energy, expertise, and intellect that she has brought to reaching out to business and labor.”
DPE WORKS TOWARD WORKPLACE LEARNING
– Every day, new technology, changes in the economy, and new ways of organizing work transform our jobs.
Imagine talking with a fellow worker who helps you figure out:
- what work you would like to do next,
- what skills or credentials you need, and
- how to get them.
The unions of the British Trades Union Congress (TUC) created a program of Union Learning Representatives, unionlearn, to train people to provide just those services. The result has been a win-win for workers, unions, employers, and government: greater skills, credentials, and upward mobility for workers; more members, younger and more diverse leaders, and a more collaborative role for unions; higher productivity and lower turnover for employers; and a more vibrant and globally competitive economy.
DPE President Paul E. Almeida serves on the boards of both the Albert Shanker Institute (ASI) and the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL). He represented DPE in working with ASI, CAEL, and the AFL-CIO to plan an invitation-only conference, Workplace Learning Advisors: Meeting the Need for Customized Information in the Labor Market on June 29-30, 2010. The event drew speakers, representatives, and observers from the White House, Congress, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Labor, foundations, joint labor-management education and training programs, business organizations, colleges and universities, think tanks, and unions. Joining Almeida at the conference were DPE Executive Director David Cohen and Researcher and Representative Alexis Spencer Notabartolo.
Moderated by ASI Executive Director Eugenia Kemble and CAEL President and CEO Pam Tate, the meeting heard a labor perspective from Damon Silvers, Director of Policy and Special Counsel, AFL-CIO, and a business perspective from Amy Kaslow, Senior Fellow, Council on Competitiveness; a summary of a major study relating labor market needs to educational demand from Tony Carnevale, Director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce; a first-hand account of visiting unionlearn sites from AFT Executive Vice-President Lorretta Johnson and an overview of the program from its Executive Director, Tom Wilson; and reports from the union and business partners in multiple joint education, training, and career development programs. The outcome: a consensus to build the conversation, network, funding, and pilot programs.
Find out more about the TUC program of Union Learning Representatives, unionlearn, at www.unionlearn.org.uk/. See an account of “Unions and Skills” prepared by the AFT for the AFL-CIO. For more about ASI, see http://www.shankerinstitute.org/; about CAEL, see http://www.cael.org/.
AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION CONVENES, DPE CONTRIBUTES
– More than 26,000 library workers and advocates flocked to Washington, DC, on June 24-30, 2010 for the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Meeting and Exhibition. The contributions by DPE were well received. Each program DPE worked on brought high levels of audience involvement.
DPE works directly with both ALA and its companion organization, the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA); the latter focuses on two areas: certification, and salaries and status. Since 2005, DPE has also co-chaired the AFL-CIO-ALA Joint Committee on Library Services to Labor Groups. Labor members of the committee include Jessica Storrs, AFSCME; Nick Yovnello, AFT; Julius Jefferson, Jr., IFPTE; and Jannie Cobb, National Labor College (NLC).
Each year, the AFL-CIO-ALA Committee develops and organizes a program for the annual conference. The program this year, “Labor Rights are Human Rights,” featured Dr. Bama Athreya, Executive Director of the International Labor Rights Forum, and Carol Rosenblatt, Executive Director of the Coalition of Labor Union Women. The speakers addressed the importance of labor rights both in the U.S. and internationally, while focusing on the increase in employer opposition to organizing. The discussion portion of the session was robust, and attendees repeatedly came back to the idea that getting active and fighting labor violations that occur in the U.S. are as important as working to support labor struggles worldwide. The session was later cited in the acceptance speech of one of the recipients of the 2010 Sessions Memorial Award (see below) as his favorite session of the conference as it reminded people that “labor rights really are at the core of human rights and we in the library community must stay aware.”
The Joint Committee met to plan its program and activities for the 2011 Annual Conference, to be held in New Orleans, LA. The Committee discussed at length the different ways the 2011 theme “Libraries Fight Back!” could be approached, including short, rapid succession “lightning” presentations from libraries across the country about how they are fighting back and the development of a takeaway toolkit on how to organize. The committee also heard from James Kuhn of the Folger Shakespeare Library regarding a proposed resolution to the ALA Council to prevent ALA from contracting with hotels under boycott by labor unions. The Committee voted to co-sponsor the resolution, which was later sent back to another ALA committee for fine-tuning. The resolution is slated to go back before the ALA Council at its Midwinter meeting in San Diego, CA.
The Committee’s booth in the Exposition Hall featured labor materials, including several DPE fact sheets, brochures, resource guides, AFL-CIO materials, and posters illustrating the union difference for library worker salaries.
The 2010 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 Roosevelt University’s Murray-Green Library for its “Oral History Project in Labor History.” 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 Uttich, university librarian, and Michael Gabriel, reference/instruction librarian, accepted the 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. DPE also helps plan and execute programs as part of the ALA-APA “Programs for the People,” which focus on the professional library worker, rather than the patrons they serve. Among the highlights of ALA-APA at the Annual Conference were:
- “Unions 101 for Libraries” featured Susan Veltfort, Librarian in the King County Library System and President of Local 1857, AFSCME, AFL-CIO and Nick Yovnello, Professor and Librarian at Rowan University and President of the Council of New Jersey State College Locals, AFT, AFL-CIO, speaking about the modern labor movement and successes on behalf of library workers. The session was also designed so that attendees could have a forum for questions about unions and organizing, which developed into a fascinating discussion about the increase in part-time and contingent workers in libraries.
- “Professional Integrity and Library Workers: What’s the Connection?” featured a panel of speakers, including Julius C. Jefferson Jr., Information Research Specialist at the Library of Congress, Vice President, Policy & Dispute Settlement and Chief Steward for the Congressional Research Employees Association (CREA), Local 75, IFPTE, discussing the different ways library workers may see their professional integrity challenged. The session offered a wealth of information for attendees about avenues of support for professional integrity within ALA and outside groups focused on the issue, including the Merritt Fund and Professionals for the Public Interest.
- “Stress and Depression in the Workplace: Effective Methods for Preventing and/or Treating Emotional Challenges” was a wildly successful program. Developed by former DPE staff member Pamela Wilson, it focused on the signs, symptoms, causes, and effects of depression, as well as treatment options and holistic approaches to achieving and maintaining mental and physical health. The completely packed room heard from two physicians about strategies for staying healthy in a stressful occupation. The program encouraged library workers, if they are organized, to bargain not only for better pay but for provisions that can benefit the whole of their work life (for example, sufficient time off).
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 the involvement of DPE, contact Alexis Spencer Notabartolo by telephone, 202-638-0320 extension 119, or email, email@example.com.
“NEXT UP” SHINES A LIGHT ON YOUNG WORKERS AND LEADERS
– Offering an open forum for young labor leaders and members to discuss the future of the labor movement and connect with one another, the first AFL-CIO Next Up Young Workers Summit took place from June 10-13, 2010 in Washington, DC.
“Next Up” mixed substantive breakout sessions and lighter, social events. DPE Researcher and Representative Alexis Spencer Notabartolo both facilitated a discussion session and with AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Schuler, offered an introductory welcome at the first reception.
The core of the summit was four topical breakouts that all attendees cycled through and then discussed: “Communications,” “Issues of Our Generation,” “Leadership and Structure,” and “Organizing.” The goal of each was to inform attendees as to the thinking of the AFL-CIO and offer a forum for feedback, analysis and constructive criticism.
DPE Researcher and Representative Alexis Spencer Notabartolo heard from four different groups of attendees as a discussion facilitator for “Issues of Our Generation.” Attendees were largely in sync with the approach of the AFL-CIO when it came to issues for young workers, but wished for a greater focus on the student debt crisis and a closer relationship between the labor movement and other progressive movements (environmentalist groups, human rights groups, etc.).
Summit attendees also heard from the three executive officers of the AFL-CIO, President Richard Trumka, Secretary-Treasurer Liz Schuler, and Executive Vice-President Arlene Holt Baker. All three addressed the crowd and participated in a large-scale conversation on the direction of the labor movement.
Comedian Lee Camp discussed the value and importance of using humor to convey a political message. Jeremy Redleaf, an actor and active member of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, spoke about his use of the web both to advance professionally and engage the public on issues of importance. Dominique Foxworth, member of the Executive Committee of the NFL Players Association and cornerback for the Baltimore Ravens, highlighted the broad scope of the labor movement and explained that the union members in the NFL face issues not much different than those faced by any other union member.
For more information about the AFL-CIO Next Up Young Workers Summit or about the involvement of DPE, please contact Alexis Spencer Notabartolo by telephone, 202-638-0320 extension 119, or email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
DPE GENERAL BOARD REVIEWS YEAR, INCREASES FUNDING
– On June 7, 2010, the DPE General Board reviewed DPE activities since its 2009 meeting, shared updates among the unions affiliated with DPE, and approved unanimously a higher per capita contribution to DPE, the first increase in five years.
The review of activities began with the annual President’s Report from DPE President Paul E. Almeida. He highlighted the “unprecedented visibility” that DPE achieved in the last 12 months. He related it to the still growing importance of professional and technical people in the U.S. workforce:
- Since the last meeting of the DPE General Board, the AFL-CIO convened in Pittsburgh and elected new leaders. The unions affiliated with DPE played a central role. With their encouragement and collaboration, DPE achieved an unprecedented visibility.
- In the United States, professionals and related workers have become the largest major occupational group. They remain the fastest growing.
DPE Executive Director David Cohen described the first Forums that Professionals for the Public Interest: Associations and Unions Defending Professional Integrity (PftPI) sponsored. One focused on Defending Patient Care Against External Pressures. The second featured Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels analyzing Whistleblowers and OSHA. Cohen also discussed prospects for future Forums and PftPI.
DPE Researcher and Representative Alexis Spencer Notabartolo reviewed DPE research and publications; provided an overview of preparations for “Next Up,” the AFL-CIO Young Workers Summit scheduled to begin later that week (see “‘Next Up’ Shines A Light On Young Workers And Leaders” above); and described outreach to professional associations.
Among the updates from affiliated unions was a special report from Joe Briggs, Public Policy and Government Relations Counsel of the NFL Players Association, who substituted on an emergency basis for NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice F. Smith in reporting about preparations for the 2011 negotiations. Other unions in the meeting included AEA, AFM, AFT, AFTRA, IATSE, IBEW, IFPTE, RWDSU, SAG, SIU, USW, and UWUA.
ALMEIDA ATTENDS JUNE BOARD MEETINGS
– In addition to the DPE General Board meeting (see “DPE General Board Reviews Year, Increases Funding” above), DPE President Paul E. Almeida serves on the Board of Directors for the Albert Shanker Institute, which met on June 14; and the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), which met on June 24 and 25. DPE has been working with these organizations and the AFL-CIO to bring together people who might be positioned to take worker training to a new level. That work led to an invitation-only conference in Washington, DC on June 29 and 30, 2010 (see “DPE Works Toward Workplace Learning” above).
DPE TAKES PART IN COLLECTIVE BARGAINING FORUM ON HEALTH CARE IMPLEMENTATION
– On June 25, DPE Researcher and Representative Alexis Spencer Notabartolo took part in the collective bargaining forum on health care implementation hosted by the AFL-CIO. The program, simulcast on the web, offered both an overview of the problems that implementation may present to collective bargaining negotiators and experts’ analyses as to the best solutions.
For more information, please contact Alexis Spencer Notabartolo by telephone, 202-638-0320 extension 119, or email, email@example.com.
DPE FACT SHEET UPDATES
– A number of Fact Sheets on the DPE website have been updated, including:
- Library Workers: Facts and Figures
- Professional Women: Vital Statistics
- Guest Worker Programs and the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce
To view all of the updated fact sheets, visit our website, or email Marcie Lawrence, firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information, contact DPE Researcher and Representative Alexis Spencer Notabartolo by phone at (202) 638-0320, extension 119, or email, email@example.com.
DPE IN THE NEWS
– Paul E. Almeida’s June 23 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee (see “Almeida To Senate: Intellectual Property Theft Hurts Workers” above) brought wide coverage, including stories in Variety, The Hill, and Tech Daily Dose.
On June 25, the AFL-CIO Now Blog quoted President Almeida in “Unions Back New Plan to Battle Intellectual Property Pirates.”
DPE SIGNS ON
– DPE joined with AFSCME, the AFL-CIO, other unions, consumer and patient organizations, health plans, and groups of clinicians and businesses in a letter of June 29, 2010 to Senator Max Baucus, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee to support the nomination of Don Berwick, M.D. as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
DPE STARTS SEARCH TO HIRE RESEARCHER & REPRESENTATIVE
– DPE has begun a search to hire a Researcher and Representative.
In a June 25, 2010 memorandum to the DPE General Board, DPE President Paul E. Almeida announced that Alexis Spencer Notabartolo resigned effective July 28. He noted that she “contributed effectively and productively,” and that he regretted that she had to relocate to southern California.