In This Issue:
- Please Join Us Feb. 28: Bob Edwards, a Legendary Voice on Radio and for Labor
- Bills Opposing Digital Theft Stall in Congress
- DPE Battles Bill to Cut Computer Workers’ Pay
- SAG and AFTRA Boards Send Merger Proposal to Members for Vote
- NLRB: Symphony Musicians are Employees, Not Independent Contractors
- Almeida Discusses High-Tech Employment
- Reaching Out to Professional Associations: American Library Association Midwinter Meeting
- Professional Integrity Coalition Welcomes AFGE
- AFL-CIO Celebrates 50 Years of Collective Bargaining for Federal Employees
- Pride at Work Honors Solidarity
- DPE Provides Latest Info: Intellectual Property Theft
- DPE In the News
- DPE Signs On
PLEASE JOIN US FEB. 28: BOB EDWARDS, A LEGENDARY VOICE ON RADIO AND FOR LABOR – Please join us. Hear a legend, a member of the Radio Hall of Fame, and the first vice president of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) – Bob Edwards.
On Tuesday, February 28, 2012 from 12 noon to 1:30 pm, in the Presidents Room on the first floor of the AFL-CIO, 815 Sixteenth Street, NW, Washington, DC, Edwards will read from his new memoir, A Voice in the Box: My Life in Radio. Join us for a brown-bag lunch and book-signing; DPE will provide beverages. RSVP to Marcie Lawrence, email@example.com.
Sponsored by DPE, and co-sponsored by AFTRA and the Albert Shanker Institute (where Edwards serves on its Board of Directors), the event honors a long-time broadcaster, committed union leader, and peerless storyteller with great stories to share – including the story of how even legends benefit from unions.
Edwards (right) joined National Public Radio in 1974 as a co-host of All Things Considered and then launched Morning Edition in 1979, where for 24-and-a-half years he attracted millions of listeners. Today he hosts The Bob Edwards Show on SiriusXM and Bob Edwards Weekend, distributed to public radio stations by Public Radio International. Edwards has interviewed over 30,000 individuals, including newsmakers, journalists, and entertainers. He authored two previous books, Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism, and Fridays with Red, which chronicles Edwards’ radio friendship with the legendary sportscaster Red Barber.
For additional information, contact DPE Executive Director David Cohen, 202-638-0320 extension 113, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Researcher and Representative Jennifer Dorning, 202-638-0320 extension 114, email@example.com.
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BILLS OPPOSING DIGITAL THEFT STALL IN CONGRESS – On January 24, 2012, the U.S. Senate was scheduled for a preliminary procedural vote that could have led to passing the PROTECT Intellectual Property Act, S. 968. The Senate never got there.
The legislation aimed to protect U.S. workers and consumers against foreign rogue websites selling stolen content and counterfeit goods. An outpouring of concerns from the tech community led Congress to shelve the bill.
That temporary setback does not lessen the threat to U.S. workers, jobs, incomes, and benefits from foreign rogue websites. On December 13, 2011, Almeida (at the podium) spoke about that threat at a Capitol Hill event highlighting counterfeit goods. Surrounded by key members of Congress and examples of counterfeited brand-name goods, he led a line of speakers representing different American industries and the people who work in them. Photo: Ashley Mergen/U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Over the last two years, DPE and its affiliated unions – in the arts, entertainment, and media as well as in manufacturing – have worked hard for effective legislation. Almeida noted the “courageous, longstanding, and effective leadership” of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which “heartened hundreds of thousands of American creators, performers, and craftspeople.” Almeida commented also on the steadfast support of many other Congressional allies: “They know that taking action against foreign websites that traffic in stolen and counterfeit goods – at the expense of U.S. workers and consumers – is the right thing to do.”
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The so-called Computer Professionals Update Act (CPU Act, S. 1747) would revise the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to hike profits for IT companies by cutting off overtime pay for huge numbers of IT professionals. IFPTE President Gregory J. Junemann wrote to members of the Senate on December 22, 2011 that the IT companies pushing for the bill “are promoting a ‘race to the bottom’ that has already contributed to a generation of declining wages.”
Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) introduced the bipartisan bad idea on October 20, 2011 with three co-sponsors: Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA).
Since then, DPE has mobilized to oppose the IT pay cut. On December 9, 2011, DPE President Paul E. Almeida sounded the alarm in Senator Bennet’s home state with an interview on Denver radio, AM 760, “Colorado’s Progressive Talk.”
With AFT, IFPTE, and the AFL-CIO, DPE has also worked to flag for Congress how bad the bill is, to avoid support for a possible companion bill in the House of Representatives, and to prevent a weakening of wage protections under the FLSA that other industries would rush to join.
As DPE President Paul E. Almeida wrote 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 November 9, 2011, DPE urged other labor groups to join its opposition.
To see Junemann’s letter, click here. 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, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 extension 113.
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SAG AND AFTRA BOARDS SEND MERGER PROPOSAL TO MEMBERS FOR VOTE – Two days, two boards, two votes: At the end of January, the boards of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) voted overwhelmingly to recommend a merger proposal to their members.
Ballots go to the members on February 27 and are due by March 30.
The votes marked the culmination of a process that began in 2010. That sequence included a national listening tour by AFTRA President Roberta Reardon and SAG President Ken Howard and five meetings since June 2011 of the AFTRA and SAG Group for One Union.
The SAG National Board approved the merger package by 87.1 percent to 12.9 percent on Friday, January 27. The AFTRA National Board did the same on Saturday, January 28, by 94 to 6 percent. On Sunday, January 29, on the nationally televised Screen Actors Guild Awards®, Howard highlighted the proposal and recognized Reardon.
For an AFTRA statement, click here. For a SAG statement that includes access to all the merger documents, go here. To read about the Screen Actors Guild Awards®, check here. For the AFL-CIO Now blog account of the awards show and merger votes, go here.
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NLRB: SYMPHONY MUSICIANS ARE EMPLOYEES, NOT INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS – American Federation of Musicians (AFM) President Ray Hair called the three NLRB decisions “resounding victories for the AFM, the union movement, and for professional musicians.”
On December 27 and 28, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decided cases involving AFM local unions in Lancaster, PA; Dallas-Fort Worth, TX; and Boston, MA. It ruled the symphonic musicians were employees, not independent contractors, and thus could vote for a union.
The published NLRB decision in the Lancaster case reversed a contrary holding by a Regional Director by a 2-1 vote. In unpublished decisions the next day, the NLRB applied its decision to the other two cases.
ALMEIDA DISCUSSES HIGH-TECH EMPLOYMENT – On January 7, 2012, at the 64th annual meeting of the Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA), DPE President Paul E. Almeida was the discussant on a panel looking at “Employment Relations and Alternative Strategies for Workers in High-Tech Occupations.”
Chaired by Daniel Marschall of the AFL-CIO and George Washington University, the panel included:
● Danielle van Jaarsveld, University of British Columbia, on “WashTech and Mutual Aid Logic in Organizing High-Tech Workers”
● Chris Benner, University of California, Davis, on “Craft Guilds and Social Networking to Organize High-Tech Workers”
● Johanna Weststar, Saint Mary’s University, on “Opportunities or Threat to Collective Action Among Video Game Developers?” and
● Chip McCormick, CommerceHub, on “Alternative Organizational Forms of Open Source Software Developers.”
Almeida observed that the high-tech community – once thought of as loners and geeks – is very different today than it was 20 years ago. These workers continue to seek an organization that can elevate their workplace concerns and achieve positive results for its members.
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REACHING OUT TO PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS: AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION MIDWINTER MEETING – The American Library Association (ALA) held its Midwinter Meeting on January 20–24, 2012, in Dallas, TX. DPE Researcher and Representative Jennifer Dorning participated in the meeting as both a member of the ALA-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) Salaries and Status of Library Workers committee and as Co-chair of the AFL-CIO/ALA Joint Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups (Joint Committee).
The Joint Committee discussed the upcoming 2012 ALA Annual Conference to be held in Anaheim, CA, June 21–26, and began brainstorming ideas for its program at the 2013 Annual Conference in Chicago.
The 2012 Joint Committee program, “Keep the Fight Going: Libraries Fight Back,” will feature Connie Williams, a teacher-librarian for the Petaluma City School District and a member of the American Federation of Teachers; Nicole Williams, a librarian for the Englewood Public Library and member of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union; and Anne Cisney, President of AFSCME Local 2083, Seattle Public Library. The program will focus on the inventive ways that library workers combat the erroneous belief that their work is “non-essential” or “extra” and discuss labor-management cooperation. A special focus will be the relationship between union advocacy and library advocacy.
For the 2013 Annual Conference, the rich labor history of Chicago led the Joint Committee to plan a labor history program. The Joint Committee will spend the next several months contacting historical societies, universities, and other sources for potential speakers.
The Joint Committee is comprised of six AFL-CIO appointees and five ALA appointees who have a clear interest in labor, including labor archivists. The Joint Committee is co-chaired by Jennifer Dorning and Caroline Fuchs, Associate Professor and Outreach Librarian at St. John’s University.
In addition to its work with the Joint Committee, DPE works closely with the ALA-APA Committee on the Salaries and Status of Library Workers (SSLW). Of prime importance to the SSLW committee at the 2012 Midwinter meeting was organizing programs that highlight the salaries and status of library workers.
Librarians and library workers are represented by several DPE affiliates, including AFGE, AFT, IFPTE, OPEIU, RWDSU, and USW. For questions about the ALA Annual Conference or Midwinter Meeting, please contact Jennifer Dorning, 202-638-0320 extension 114, email@example.com.
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PROFESSIONAL INTEGRITY COALITION WELCOMES AFGE – On January 24, 2012, the endorsing organizations of Professionals for the Public Interest: Associations and Unions Defending Professional Integrity (PftPI) unanimously welcomed the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) to their ranks.
For more about AFGE, click here. For additional information about PftPI, which DPE began organizing in 2007, contact DPE Executive Director David Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 extension 113.
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AFL-CIO CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF COLLECTIVE BARGAINING FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES – On January 17, 2012, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler, and IFPTE President Gregory J. Junemann were among the speakers who celebrated the 50th anniversary of Executive Order 10988. Signed by President John F. Kennedy, the order extended meaningful collective bargaining to federal employees.
In a pointed reminder that the Capitol has seen more cooperative times that valued public service, Solis commented, “It is my honor to celebrate our federal workers and to celebrate the history of bipartisanship – from Kennedy to Nixon to Ford to Carter – that gave them a voice on the job.”
DPE Executive Director David Cohen attended the event. To view the invitation, which includes background about the Executive Order, click here. To read Secretary Solis’s complete comments, go here.
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PRIDE AT WORK HONORS SOLIDARITY – On December 14, 2012, DPE President Paul E. Almeida and Researcher and Representative Jennifer Dorning attended the second annual Pride at Work “Celebrating Solidarity” cocktail reception. The reception honored Cleve Jones, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, and Gregory Cendana for their organizing efforts, commitment to economic justice and equality, and support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.
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DPE IN THE NEWS – On January 18, 2012, In These Times quoted DPE President Paul E. Almeida: “Protecting intellectual property is not the same as censorship; the First Amendment does not protect stealing goods off trucks.” On January 19, the Prescott (AZ) Daily Courier used the second half of the same quote.
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DPE SIGNS ON – On December 7, 2011, DPE joined its affiliated unions AFT, IAFF, and IFPTE, as well as the AFL-CIO and other unions, in a joint letter to the House of Representatives supporting legislation to enable the state and local taxation of remote online sellers; click here for a link to the letter.
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