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:
- DPE Launches Its New Website!
- AFT is Not “Waiting for ‘Superman’”
- Professionals Offer Aid to DOL Whistleblowers Program
- PftPI Proposes New Policy Statement and Two Forums
- DPE Urges State Department to Protect Intellectual Property
- DPE Contributes to APHA Conference on “Social Justice”
- China and Intellectual Property: AFL-CIO Cites DPE to Congress
- “Workforce of the Future” Tackles Unemployment, Skills, and Policy
- Intellectual Property, Software, and Technology
- DPE Seeks Suggestions for Speakers at ALA Annual Conference
DPE LAUNCHES ITS NEW WEBSITE! –
DPE is excited to announce that its new website is now public. Take a look at www.dpeaflcio.org. This is the first view you will see:
The new website offers an updated look and improved navigability. There are also new features, which include spotlighting unions affiliated with DPE and information about current programs and campaigns. You can still access DPE Fact Sheets, our policy materials, and previous issues of DPE NewsLine.
Any feedback regarding the new site is welcomed!
For more information or questions about the website, please contact DPE Researcher and Representative Jennifer Dorning by telephone at 202-638-0320, extension 114, or email at email@example.com.
AFT IS NOT “WAITING FOR ‘SUPERMAN’”
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is a leader in the fight to improve our schools – and now it’s leading the fight to correct misconceptions in a new documentary film, “Waiting for ‘Superman.’”
The film paints public school teachers and teachers’ unions as barriers to a good public education. Charter schools, on the other hand, are portrayed as the cure for all that ails education in America. The portrait could not be farther from reality.
America’s schools need help, but charter schools are not going to fix them. The Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University (CREDO) has found that most public school students’ test scores outperform those of charter school students. Find out more about CREDO here. A significant number of charter schools are simply not making the grade. Some charter schools are great, but some are not. The facts should not be glossed over if we are going to have an honest and open discussion about how to improve education in America.
“Waiting for ‘Superman’” relies on anecdotes to heap praise on charter schools. Anecdotes are not going to improve our schools. They also don’t contribute to an intelligent discussion. It would be great if the answer were as simple as opening more charter schools, but the facts clearly shows that this is not the answer. The answer is vastly more complicated.
You can find inspiring videos about public education teachers, messages from AFT President Randi Weingarten (here and here), and information about providing a great public education to all children on the new webpage. You can also join the conversation about the film by going here.
PROFESSIONALS OFFER AID TO DOL WHISTLEBLOWERS PROGRAM
On September 13, 2010, a delegation from Professionals for the Public Interest: Associations and Unions Defending Professional Integrity (PftPI) offered aid to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for its Whistleblower Protection Program (WPP).
Members of the PftPI Policy Subgroup, chaired by Raymond J. Garant of the American Chemical Society (ACS), met with Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels. They offered to seek volunteers with professional and industry expertise to assist the WPP, which Dr. Michaels oversees, as it evaluates and pursues whistleblower cases.
DPE President Paul E. Almeida led the delegation. In addition to Garant, the other participants included Joanne Carney of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Sam Folio, Secretary-Treasurer of the American Federation of Musicians; Jessica McGilvray of the American Library Association, Melvin Wilson of the National Association of Social Workers, and DPE Executive Director David Cohen.
The PftPI offer of aid grew out of an exchange at the May 11, 2010 PftPI Forum, “Whistleblowers and OSHA: Defending Professional Integrity,” where Dr. Michaels spoke.
PftPI PROPOSES NEW POLICY STATEMENT AND TWO FORUMS
The PftPI Joint Working Group (JWG) met on September 23, 2010. In addition to various reports, it considered a proposed policy statement and two proposed Forums.
Raymond J. Garant of ACS reported on the September 13 meeting of the PftPI Policy Subgroup with Dr. Michaels (see “Professionals Offer Aid to DOL Whistleblowers Program” above). Garant also proposed a statement, “Protecting Integrity by Defending Whistleblowers,” that the PftPI Policy Subgroup developed after the May 2010 Forum. The JWG made minor revisions and decided to submit the revised statement to an email vote by all participating organizations.
Other items on the JWG agenda included two proposals for PftPI Forums, introduced by Vin O’Neill of IEEE-USA, chair of the PftPI Activities Subgroup. The first proposal, “Assuring the Appropriate Use of Science in Public Policy,” came from the American Chemical Society (ACS), which reported that the panel moderator and speakers were available on October 27 or 28 and not again as a group until 2011. The JWG approved trying to move forward on one of the October dates.
Chris Goff of the American Federation of Teachers Higher Education Department presented the second proposal for a PftPI Forum, “Exploring Best Practices in Protecting the Integrity of Research.” The proposal targets April 4, 2011, the day after an annual AFT higher education conference that usually draws 300 people. AFT will hold the conference in a city other than Washington, DC.
The AFT proposal envisions a conference that would last two-thirds of a day: an opening general session, breakout sessions around fields of academic research, and a closing session that would allow participants to compare breakout reports. The JWG approved the concept and date and set a schedule for AFT to develop details with other participating organizations and the Activities Subgroup.
Other items on the agenda included a brief discussion about whether to hold a leadership meeting in spring or summer 2011; and a report by Chris McManes of IEEE-USA about a meeting with Dr. David O. Braaten, President and CEO of The Williams Institute for Ethics and Management, www.ethics-twi.org. The JWG will meet next on November 18, 2010.
For more information about PftPI, contact DPE Executive Director David Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 extension 113.
DPE URGES STATE DEPARTMENT TO PROTECT INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
On September 27, 2010, DPE urged the U.S. State Department to protect intellectual property for the sake of U.S. workers, their jobs, and their incomes.
At the invitation of the AFL-CIO and on behalf of DPE President Paul E. Almeida, DPE Executive Director David Cohen joined a meeting with Jose W. Fernandez, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs.
Cohen explained that digital theft, counterfeiting, and the global violation of intellectual property rights threaten the U.S. economy across many sectors. He highlighted the dangers to the public from fraudulently sold and poorly made goods, from auto parts to pharmaceuticals. He delivered both the statement that the AFL-CIO Executive Council adopted unanimously in March, “Piracy Is a Danger to Entertainment Professionals,” and the testimony that DPE President Paul E. Almeida delivered to the Senate Judiciary Committee in June; for an account of Almeida’s testimony, click here.
Also participating in the meeting were representatives from the Air Line Pilots Association, IAM, AFL-CIO, Solidarity Center, and Union Labor and Service Trades Department.
DPE CONTRIBUTES TO APHA CONFERENCE ON “SOCIAL JUSTICE”
The American Public Health Association (APHA) will hold its 2010 annual meeting on November 6-10, 2010 in Denver. With a theme of “Social Justice,” the 138th annual meeting is expected to attract some 13,000 participants. As in previous years, DPE has been involved in planning sessions and disseminating information through the Labor Caucus, chaired by DPE Researcher and Representative Jennifer Dorning.
DPE has organized two sessions for the 2010 meeting:
- Session 3328: “Standing Together for Rights and Working Conditions: Union Organizing and Occupational Safety and Health,” 2:30 – 4 pm, Monday, November 8.
- Roles of Health and Safety in Labor Organizing, Stephen Mooser, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union/UFCW
- Workplace Health and Safety Organizing in the Informal Economy: Government/Grassroots Collaborations Targeting Hard-To-Reach Workers, Tony Robinson, PhD, Department of Political Science, University of Colorado Denver
- Hotel Workers Organize for Health and Safety: One Day Longer, One Day Safer, Pamela Vossenas, UNITE HERE
Compared to unorganized workers, unionized workers benefit from additional legal remedies and institutional resources to achieve safer working conditions. Health and safety concerns have played an important role in successful organizing campaigns. Moderated by Stephen Mooser, the panel will focus on this unique interaction.
- Session 4289: “The Union Effect on the Social Determinants of Health,” 2:30 – 4 pm, Tuesday, November 9.
- Role of Unions in Passage and Implementation of Health Reform, Dania Palanker, Service Employees International Union
- Food Deserts, Union Action and Building Community Dialogue, Sara Kuntzler, Denver Area Labor Federation
- Union Effect on Work Environments: Safer Work for Everyone, Darryl Alexander, American Federation of Teachers
This session will examine why the freedom to form unions is a public health issue, including the economic and social problems that emerge in the absence of strong unions. The session will explore the relationship between unions and socioeconomic status and access to quality health care, how unions impact workers’ ability to gain protection under public health related labor legislation such as the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the union role in supporting worker voices in the workplace. Jennifer Dorning will moderate.
The sessions are co-sponsored by APHA Sections including Social Work and the Socialist Caucus. Continuing education units are being offered for both sessions.
For further information about the APHA Annual Meeting, see www.apha.org. To learn more about these programs or the Labor Caucus, please contact Jennifer Dorning by telephone at 202-638-0320, extension 114, or email email@example.com.
CHINA AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: AFL-CIO CITES DPE TO CONGRESS –
On September 22, 2010, AFL-CIO Deputy Chief of Staff Thea Lee (right) testified before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC). In her testimony, she quoted the testimony that DPE President Paul E. Almeida delivered to the Senate Judiciary Committee in June. She also cited the March AFL-CIO Executive Council statement that DPE developed and submitted. (See “DPE Urges State Department to Protect Intellectual Property” above.)
Lee was one of four witnesses in a CECC hearing, “Will China Protect Intellectual Property? New Developments in Counterfeiting, Piracy, and Forced Technology Transfer.” She observed:
Other issues (including worker rights, currency manipulation, and subsidies) have often dominated labor’s policy priorities with respect to China, but the lax enforcement of IPR [intellectual property rights] protections remains a key contributing factor to our lopsided trade relationship. Both in the arts and entertainment sector, where copyrights are routinely ignored, and in the manufacturing sector, where counterfeit parts and products are rampant, billions of dollars in revenues and thousands of good jobs are at stake.
To read Lee’s testimony, click here. For links to the testimony of the other three witnesses, including Motion Picture Association of America Executive Vice President Greg Frazier, click here.
Established in 2000 in legislation granting China “Permanent Normal Trade Relations” when it entered the World Trade Organization, the CECC monitors developments in China affecting human rights, including worker rights, and the rule of law. It consists of nine Senators, nine Representatives, and five senior Administration officials. For more information about the CECC, click here.
“WORKFORCE OF THE FUTURE” TACKLES UNEMPLOYMENT, SKILLS, AND POLICY
Three prominent economists pointed at the same cause for high U.S. unemployment – and it calls for policies that Congress refuses to adopt.
On September 28, 2010, the National Journal sponsored a conference titled “Workforce of the Future,” attended by DPE Executive Director David Cohen. Speakers included Dr. Lawrence H. Summers, Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy; Dr. Lawrence Mishel, President of the Economic Policy Institute; and Dr. Joseph E. Stiglitz, a 2001 winner of the Nobel Prize in economics and a professor at Columbia University.
All three attributed the high rate of U.S. unemployment to a “lack of aggregate demand” – an unwillingness or inability of consumers and investors to buy enough goods and services to fuel hiring. All three found little or no evidence that the cause of unemployment was a “structural shift” in the economy – a sudden change in the skills that jobs require or the locations where employers are hiring.
Their analysis refutes conservative arguments that the same workers who were employed two years ago are jobless now because they need different skills. These arguments imply that somehow the people without jobs are personally and individually responsible for their unemployment – that if only these people had the right education and training, they would all be employed.
Instead, the analysis of all three economists points toward a need for additional, targeted government spending to propel “aggregate demand” – money for repairing and upgrading our roads, bridges, and other infrastructure; for developing sustainable energy alternatives and conservation; and for long-term investments in education and public health. In the words of Dr. Summers, the United States has a “very substantial unused capacity to produce” that should be addressing our “very large unmet needs” and building a future for America.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, SOFTWARE, AND TECHNOLOGY
On September 28, 2010, DPE Researcher and Representative Jennifer Dorning attended a briefing, “The Next Generation of IP Protection: Enhancing Global Economic Growth and Prosperity,” that featured United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel.
Sponsored by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation and FD International Limited, the briefing highlighted the threat intellectual property theft poses to software and technology companies. Many of the concerns mirror those of the arts, entertainment, and media industries, namely that the pirating of U.S. products threatens the livelihood of workers and jobs.
A panel representing the technology and software industries followed Ms. Espinel and expressed strong support for her work and that of the Obama administration.
For more information about the briefing, please contact Jennifer Dorning by telephone, 202-638-0320, extension 114, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, including a link to video of the event, can be found here.
DPE SEEKS SUGGESTIONS FOR SPEAKERS AT ALA ANNUAL CONFERENCE
The American Library Association (ALA) will hold its annual conference on June 23-28, 2011 in New Orleans. As co-chair of the AFL-CIO/ALA Joint Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups, DPE is seeking suggestions for speakers for a program titled “Libraries Fight Back!”
The program will explore the following:
“Libraries are at the core of our communities and at the forefront of the digital world. Library workers help preserve the past while educating for the future. Libraries can reinvigorate blighted areas and inspire people to ‘be the change.’ Yet when budgetary crises occur, libraries always seem to be the first resources offered up for sacrifice.
This program will examine the essential services that libraries provide to their communities and, increasingly, an interconnected global community. Public, academic (higher education and K-12), and special library communities will be discussed. The program will also examine the inventive ways that library workers combat the erroneous belief that their work is ‘non-essential’ or ‘extra’ and provide tools for those who wish to fight back for their library community. A special focus will be paid to the relationship between union advocacy and library advocacy.”
Please contact Jennifer Dorning by telephone with suggestions for speakers at 202-638-0320, extension 114, or email email@example.com.