In This Issue:
- 40 Million Jobs: Intellectual Property Matters
- DPE and Allies Fend Off Cut in Information Technology Overtime Pay
- DPE Joins Strategy Session on Immigrant Workers
- Kim Roberts Hedgpeth Steps Down from SAG-AFTRA and DPE
- DPE Latest: Health Care, Nursing, And Organizing
- Advocacy for the Arts
- DPE Signs On
- DPE In the News
40 MILLION JOBS: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY MATTERS– On April 11, 2012, DPE President Paul E. Almeida and Researcher and Representative Jennifer Dorning attended a White House event that DPE assisted in organizing, “Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus.” The U.S. Commerce Department released a comprehensive report finding that U.S. intellectual property (IP)-intensive industries support at least 40 million jobs. The IP-intensive industries contribute more than $5 trillion dollars to, or 34.8 percent of, U.S. gross domestic product.
Commerce Secretary John Bryson (right) observed, “This first-of-its-kind report shows that IP-intensive industries have a direct and significant impact on our nation’s economy and the creation of American jobs.” Photo: www.commerce.gov.
AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka said, “This report shows the profound importance of intellectual property to American living standards and our future. Intellectual property protections – copyrights, patents, and trademarks – translate into jobs, incomes and benefits.”
Administration officials participating in the event included Victoria Espinel, Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator; Dr. Rebecca Blank, Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce; and David Kappos, Under Secretary of Commerce for IP and Director at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Also participating was Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The full report can be found online here. For Secretary Bryson’s remarks as prepared, go here; for Deputy Secretary Blank’s comments, here; for Under Secretary Kappos’s, here; and for President Trumka’s, here. News accounts included CNN and Reuters.
DPE AND ALLIES FEND OFF CUT IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY OVERTIME PAY – On October 20, 2011, Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) introduced the so-called Computer Professionals Update Act (CPU Act, S. 1747). The highly respected and nonpartisan Congressional Research Service says the bill “effectively eliminates overtime pay for all IT professionals.” DPE pushed back. With its affiliated unions, the AFL-CIO, and others, DPE has stalled the bill.
Three co-sponsors were originally on the bill: Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA). In the six months since its introduction, only three more Senators joined them: Scott Brown (R-MA), Tom Coburn (R-OK), and Richard Burr (R-NC). None have signed on since February.
That was the month before DPE, AFT, CWA, IBEW, IFPTE, and the AFL-CIO launched a mini-lobby day opposing the bill and the AFL-CIO Executive Council unanimously passed a statement that DPE proposed, “For American Workers, Overtime Protections Bring Jobs, Income, and a Life.”
DPE continues to mobilize in opposition to the CPU Act. In addition to a letter from DPE President Paul E. Almeida to all members of the Senate, the AFL-CIO statement, and lobbying visits, DPE has assembled materials to put the CPU Act in perspective. One document compiles dozens of outraged online comments responding to a February 5, 2012 Charlotte (N.C.) Observer article on the proposed bill. Here are samples of readers’ responses:
[The employers are] taking highly skilled workers, working them hard and paying them less (on an hourly basis). And then they wonder why there is no loyalty anymore…
IBM and other information technology companies are pitting American workers against H1B and L1 visas from India and Asia. They want to bring American workers pay in line with what they are paying visa workers. This way everyone will be paid the same wages. The OT nonsense is just a ruse by the technology companies to depress wages.
In the long run this will reduce the number of workers needed since they can work just a few to death. One guy working 90 hours a week eliminates the need for a 2nd worker on the payroll.
I have to believe that Kay Hagan does not have the best interest of the NC people in mind when she proceeded with this bill. I urge the observer and other media to look closer. IBM is driving this and they have very few of the above skills here in NC.
Shame on you Kay Hagan!!!!!
For more information, please contact DPE Executive Director David Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 extension 113.
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DPE JOINS STRATEGY SESSION ON IMMIGRANT WORKERS – On April 18, 2012, DPE President Paul E. Almeida and Research Intern Charlie Fanning attended an all-day strategy session on “Immigrant Workers in the Workplace and Community,” co-hosted by the AFL-CIO and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
More than 125 representatives from labor, community, and advocacy groups sought to develop a shared analysis of the laws and politics that immigrant workers face. Participants worked to update strategies for protecting worker rights in the face of increased immigration enforcement and eroding labor standards. Organized labor has played an important role in developing and implementing policies that protect freedom of association and collective bargaining rights in the context of immigration enforcement.
Participants expressed a need to share technical assistance and best practices. Many stressed the importance of integrating policy, organizing, and advocacy to create a common vision for future reforms and campaigns. Almeida participated in a breakout session on temporary work and temporary workers, an important topic for professional and technical workers. Fanning helped to coordinate the event with the Immigration and Community Action team. He also co-authored a paper with Ana Avendaño, “Fighting the ‘Race to the Bottom’: A Legislative Approach to Protecting Immigrants and Low-Wage Workers in a Globalized Labor Market,” that was distributed to the audience.
For more information about the event or next steps, or for a copy of the paper, please contact DPE Intern Charlie Fanning, email@example.com, 202-638-0320 extension 116.
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KIM ROBERTS HEDGPETH STEPS DOWN FROM SAG-AFTRA AND DPE– On April 30, 2012, Kim Roberts Hedgpeth (right), Co-National Executive Director of SAG-AFTRA and a General Vice President of DPE, stepped down from both positions. Photo: sagaftra.org.
Hedgpeth’s decision came after 31 years of service to union performers, recording artists, and broadcast professionals working in the entertainment and news media industries. .
“It was with great pride and enormous satisfaction that I joined union members, colleagues, and staff on March 30th to celebrate the overwhelming vote in favor of the merger of AFTRA and SAG,” said Hedgpeth. “Having achieved this important goal, for which many of us worked tirelessly for so many years, now is the right moment to begin a new chapter in life.”
Hedgpeth said she will turn her attention to “preserving and protecting my late father’s musical legacy” before engaging in other professional pursuits. Her father, composer, musician, and conductor Howard A. Roberts, died on March 10, 2011.
DPE President Paul E. Almeida joined a chorus of praise for Hedgpeth. He said, “Kim brought complete dedication and outstanding skills to providing arts, entertainment, and media professionals with an effective voice. The DPE staff and I were lucky to benefit from her passionate advocacy and wise counsel.”
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• Nursing: A Profile of the Profession
• The U.S. Health Care System: An International Perspective
• Organizing Victories for Unions Affiliated with DPE, 2011
To view the DPE Fact Sheets and report, visit our website. For more information, contact DPE Researcher and Representative Jennifer Dorning, 202-638-0320 extension 114, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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ADVOCACY FOR THE ARTS– On April 16, 2012, DPE President Paul E. Almeida and Researcher and Representative Jennifer Dorning attended the 25th Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy. The lecture was delivered by Alec Baldwin and organized by Americans for the Arts. Mr. Baldwin was introduced by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Maureen Dowd.
For more information, contact DPE President Paul E. Almeida, 202-638-0320, email@example.com or DPE Researcher and Representative Jennifer Dorning, (202) 638-0320 extension 114, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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DPE SIGNS ON– On April 2, 2012, DPE joined the American Federation of Teachers, the AFL-CIO, and dozens of other organizations in a letter to Senator Stabenow asking that she strengthen and protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) in the 2012 farm bill; to read the letter, click here.
On April 3, DPE sent a letter from 20 organizations to the President urging that he reject a request by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and multinational corporations to ease transfers of foreign employees to U.S. jobs through L-1B visas; go here.
On April 13, DPE joined a letter from 110 organizations supporting the “Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012” (S. 2230), which would address an array of tax loopholes that allows millionaires and billionaires to pay a lower effective tax rate than working families. Unions affiliated with DPE signing the letter included AFGE, AFT, and USW, as well as the AFL-CIO. To see the letter, click here.
On April 24, DPE added its support to a letter urging Senators to support the “Marketplace Fairness Act” (S. 1832), which enables state and local governments to collect taxes from remote sellers. Other signers affiliated with DPE included AFT, IAFF, and IFPTE, as well as the AFL-CIO; go here.
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DPE IN THE NEWS – On April 4, 2012, InfoWorld published “Work visa debate shifts from H-1B to L-1 visas,” which highlighted the April 3 letter from DPE and other organizations to the President; see “DPE Signs On” above.
On April 27, News India Times published a cover story, “Business as Usual?” about the U.S. visa system for bringing in foreign skilled workers. The article quoted DPE President Paul E. Almeida repeatedly and at length and cited the DPE study Gaming the System 2012: Guest Worker Visa Programs and Professional and Technical Workers in the U.S. Among Almeida’s quotes: “The issue is ironic – Congress is supposed to be the gatekeeper of the people. Now it is the gatekeeper of corporate America.”
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