In This Issue:
- Almeida to House Judiciary Committee: Stop Online Piracy
- White House Event Launches Public Education Campaign against Online Crime
- Attack Government to Attack Workers: The Assault on the NLRB
- A Bipartisan Bad Idea: Cut Pay for Computer Professionals
- Nominations Wanted: Honor Libraries Working With Labor
- Napoleón Gómez Urrutia Honored With Meany-Kirkland Award
- DPE In the News
- DPE Signs On
ALMEIDA TO HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: STOP ONLINE PIRACY – On November 16, 2011, DPE President Paul E. Almeida urged the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary to pass the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261).
Among the six witnesses at the three-and-a-half hour hearing, Almeida was the sole labor representative. The hearing drew an unusually large number of members of Congress, a packed hearing room, and intense media scrutiny. Almeida, right; at left, Katharine Oyama, Google (photo: Cecelia Rogers/Library of Congress).
Almeida focused on three messages: the importance of the legislation to U.S. workers, jobs, incomes, and benefits; the risks that rogue websites pose to workers both as workers and consumers; and the strong belief of the unions affiliated with DPE in the First Amendment and an open Internet, which do not contradict their support for fighting online crime.
Among the other witnesses at the marathon hearing were Maria A. Pallante (left), Register of Copyrights at the U.S. Library of Congress, who declared, “if Congress does not continue to provide serious responses to online piracy, the U.S. copyright system will ultimately fail.” She called the Stop Online Piracy Act “the next step in ensuring that our law keeps pace with infringers.” Photo: www.copyright.gov.
Also testifying were John P. Clark, Chief Security Officer and Vice President, Global Security, for Pfizer Inc.; Michael P. O’Leary, Senior Executive Vice President, Global Policy and External Affairs, the Motion Picture Association Of America, Inc.; Linda Kirkpatrick, Group Head, Franchise Development/Customer Performance Integrity, MasterCard Worldwide; and Katherine Oyama, Copyright Counsel, Google Inc. Oyama was the only witness to oppose the bill.
Almeida’s written testimony is available here. For links to a video webcast of the hearing, the opening statement of Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), and the testimony of all six witnesses, go here; Almeida’s initial five-minute oral testimony starts one hour and two minutes (1:02) into the video. For additional background about DPE efforts to strengthen protections for intellectual property, see Decision-Makers Brief AEMI Unions on Intellectual Property and House of Representatives Tackles Rogue Websites in the November 2011 DPE NewsLine.
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WHITE HOUSE EVENT LAUNCHES PUBLIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGN AGAINST ONLINE CRIME – In a White House event on November 29, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) launched a campaign to enlist public support for fighting intellectual property (IP) crime. The campaign tagline: “Counterfeits Hurt. You Have The Power To Stop Them.”
The DOJ Bureau of Justice Assistance funded the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) – best known for “McGruff the Crime Dog” – to undertake public service advertising. The NCPC website focuses on counterfeit drugs; pirated products, including arts, entertainment, and media content (for an example, see the print ad at right); fake consumer goods; and gangs and organized crime. Also included are background and resources.
Speakers at the White House event included Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. He stressed the urgency of combatting IP crime: “As our country continues to recover from once-in-a-generation economic challenges, the need to safeguard intellectual property rights – and to protect Americans from intellectual property crimes – has never been more urgent.” Holder highlighted the seizure of 150 domain names from rogue websites on November 28, Cyber Monday, as a continuing part of Operation In Our Sites.
Acting Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca M. Blank promised that in the next few weeks, Commerce will release a report on the economic impact of IP crime. It will show, she said, that U.S. IP-intensive industries support “tens of millions of jobs” and contribute trillions of dollars to the economy.
Other speakers included Denise E. O’Donnell, Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, who served as master of ceremonies; White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) Victoria Espinel; Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton; and Ann M. Harkins, President and CEO of NCPC. Representing DPE at the event was Executive Director David Cohen.
Harkins showed video, radio, and print ads targeting the different forms that IP crime can take. The hard-hitting ads should cause consumers to think carefully before infringing copyrights or buying counterfeits.
Harkins also summarized the research that NCPC undertook before developing the ads. Among the findings: “Most respondents didn’t know that their purchase or use of a counterfeited or pirated product hurts other people or their communities.” From left: Espinel, Holder, Harkins, O’Donnell, Morton, Blank (photo: www.commerce.gov).
For a DOJ press release, click here. For a Commerce Department report, go here. For a posting by IPEC Espinel, check here. To read an account on the AFL-CIO Now blog, go here. For more information, please contact David Cohen, email@example.com, 202-638-0320 extension 113.
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ATTACK GOVERNMENT TO ATTACK WORKERS: THE ASSAULT ON THE NLRB – It’s not popular to attack workers’ rights but is popular to attack government. So Republicans come after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) – which just happens to protect workers’ rights.
Longtime labor law scholar Julius “Jack” Getman, professor at the University of Texas School of Law, called the Republican strategy “brilliant.” He spoke at a November 30, 2011 forum, “The Assault on the NLRB and Workers’ Rights,” co-sponsored by the AFL-CIO, Center for American Progress Action Fund, and American Rights at Work.
Introduced by AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler, the session opened with remarks from Representative George Miller (D-CA) and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA). Miller called the Republican attacks – “the right wing on steroids” – an effort to put the National Labor Relations Act and workers’ rights “in cold storage.” He linked the falling numbers of workers in private-sector unions to the decline of the American middle class.
According to Harkin, the Republicans are attacking the NLRB because it enforces a law that protects the last strong voice against them: unions. He reflected on decades of struggles for labor rights in which he played a major role and lost; we can’t afford, he said, to lose this one.
Getman was one of five speakers on a panel moderated by AFL-CIO Associate General Counsel Nancy Schiffer. Panelist David Madland, Director of the American Worker Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF), noted two reasons why the NLRB matters to everyone, even those not in private-sector unions. The NLRB enforces fundamental workplace rights for every worker, not just workers represented by unions. And the more workers who join in unions, the greater the percentage of people who vote.
Other panelists included:
● Kimberly Freeman Brown, Executive Director of American Rights at Work (ARAW), who counted more than 50 Congressional attacks on the NLRB this year, none of which yielded a single U.S. job;
● Columbia University professor Dorian Warren, who described “the brokenness of labor law” as the single most important factor in growing U.S. inequality over the last 30 years; and
● AFL-CIO Organizing Director Elizabeth Bunn, who observed about workers’ rights, “Whenever rules can’t be enforced, they’re meaningless.”
For an AFL-CIO Now blog account that includes a video of the event, click here. To read a CAPAF study, “House Republican Attacks on the National Labor Relations Board Hurt All Workers,” check here. For more information, please contact DPE Executive Director David Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 extension 113, who attended.
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A BIPARTISAN BAD IDEA: CUT PAY FOR COMPUTER PROFESSIONALS – In Congress, a less-than-innocent intent too often hides behind an innocent name.
On October 20, 2011, Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) introduced a bipartisan bad idea, the so-called Computer Professionals Update Act (CPU Act, S. 1747), with three co-sponsors: Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA). Its goal: revise the Fair Labor Standards Act to hike profits for information technology (IT) companies by cutting off overtime pay for huge numbers of IT professionals.
DPE President Paul E. Almeida promptly blew the whistle in a letter of November 9 to all Senators: “The CPU Act marks one more corporate assault on U.S. workers. In these tough economic times, cutting the pay of U.S. workers is a terrible idea.” Almeida asked that Senators oppose the bill. In a DPE Alert! on the same day, DPE urged other labor groups to join its opposition.
To read Almeida’s letter, go here and scroll down to “Letter to Senate Opposing Computer Professionals Update Act (S. 1747).” For an AFL-CIO Now blog account, “Corporations Pushing Bill to Take Away Overtime from Computer and Web Workers,” click here. For more information, please contact DPE Executive Director David Cohen, email@example.com, 202-638-0320 extension 113.
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NOMINATIONS WANTED: HONOR LIBRARIES WORKING WITH LABOR – Nominations are being accepted for the 2012 John Sessions Memorial Award. DPE sponsors the award.
Established in 1980, the award honors John Sessions, former American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) co-chair of the AFL-CIO/ALA Joint Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups. The award recognizes a library or library system that has made a significant effort to work with the labor community and thus recognized the history and contribution of the labor movement to the development of the United States. Efforts may include outreach to local labor unions; establishing or significantly expanding special labor collections; initiating programs of special interest to the labor community; or other library activities that serve the labor community.
The 2012 award will presented at the Reference and User Services Association Awards Reception during the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, CA, June 21–26, 2012.
To nominate a library or library system, download and complete the nomination form and follow its submission instructions. The deadline for nominations is December 15, 2011.
For questions about the AFL-CIO/ALA Joint Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups Committee, contact co-chair and DPE Researcher and Representative Jennifer Dorning, 202-638-0320 extension 114, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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NAPOLEÓN GÓMEZ URRUTIA HONORED WITH MEANY-KIRKLAND – The exiled leader of Mexico’s mine workers union is the 2011 recipient of the George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award. DPE President Paul E. Almeida, Researcher and Representative Jennifer Dorning, and intern Charlie Fanning attended the award ceremony.
Napoleón Gómez Urrutia has been a tireless advocate for Mexico’s workers. When he stood up to the Mexican government after a devastating and deadly mine disaster in 2006, he was forced to flee to Vancouver, Canada. United Steelworkers (USW) President Leo Gerard—the USW is in an alliance with Los Mineros—said that even in exile, Gómez Urrutia is fighting to “bring economic justice to Mexican working families.” Photo: Sindicato de Mineros de México Sección 65.
The U.S. denied Gómez Urrutia a visa to come and receive the award, so his wife Oralia Casso de Gómez accepted the award on his behalf.
The Meany-Kirkland Award, created in 1980, is presented every year to individuals who exemplify the international struggle for human rights through trade unions.
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DPE IN THE NEWS – The November 16 hearing on the Stop Online Piracy Act (see “Almeida to House Judiciary Committee: Stop Online Piracy” above) prompted more than 600 online reports and retorts. Among the more thoughtful and balanced was “Why Backers Of The Stop Online Piracy Act Say It Should Pass” by Carl Franzen. For a detailed, almost moment by moment account, see “Notes from the House Judiciary Committee Hearing on the Stop Online Piracy Act” by Mike Palmedo here.
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DPE SIGNS ON – On November 3, 2011, DPE President Paul E. Almeida wrote all Senators urging support for the PROTECT IP Act (S. 968). To read the letter, click here and scroll down to “Letter to Senate Urging Support for the PROTECT IP Act, S. 968.”