In This Issue:
- Worthy Immigration Reforms Bring Trouble for High-Tech Workers
- DPE Arts, Entertainment, and Media Unions Address Lockouts
- DPE Arts, Entertainment, and Media Unions Trade Views with USTR
- Library Workers, Unite! American Library Association, June 27-July 2
- DPE Latest Fact Sheets: 1) Library Workers: Facts & Figures, 2) U.S. Healthcare in International Perspective, & 3) The STEM Workforce
- DPE Updates Pay Equity Bibliography
- AFT President Weingarten Goes ‘Beyond the Education Wars’
- Center for American Progress Video Features Writers Guild East
- Copyright Reform Brews in Congress
- DPE Hires New Summer Research Intern
- DPE Signs On
- DPE In the News
WORTHY IMMIGRATION REFORMS BRING TROUBLE FOR HIGH-TECH WORKERS – On May 21, 2013, the Senate Judiciary Committee took a step to move millions of aspiring Americans toward citizenship by passing the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S.744) out of Committee. After a short stop at the Congressional Budget Office for scoring – determining what the bill will cost if it becomes law – the bill will head to the Senate floor in June.
Unfortunately, the Senate Judiciary Committee also passed the “Hatch/Schumer Global Amendment” as a part of S.744. This amendment takes a big, wrong step toward undermining the careers of U.S. tech workers and the job prospects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students.
The Hatch/Schumer Global Amendment will allow H-1B high-tech guest workers to flood the U.S. job market. The number of H-1B visas has an annual cap of 65,000. The Hatch/Schumer Global Amendment will allow up to 230,000 guest workers per year. Those guest workers can be paid below market rates and used to displace U.S. workers.
DPE, the AFL-CIO, and a handful of unions lobbied tirelessly for modest changes that would protect foreign and domestic workers. Our efforts and commonsense arguments fell on deaf ears. It was especially disappointing that Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) led the effort to weaken protections for U.S. workers. It is clear why traditional Senate allies caved. When tech companies can save millions if not billions of dollars hiring guest workers, there is a huge incentive for them to do and spend whatever is necessary to expand their hiring of guest workers.
In a May 29 letter urging lawmakers to oppose S.744 when it reaches the floor of the Senate, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) President Gregory Junemann said that while his organization supports the broader objective of providing a path to citizenship for undocumented workers and “DREAMers” – the foreign-born children undocumented workers brought with them years ago – STEM jobs should not be traded away to reach that objective.
“IFPTE remains supportive of these worthy efforts,” Junemann wrote. “That said, it has also become crystal clear to our union that the bargaining chip for the path to citizenship has become our nation’s STEM workers and students.”
DPE issued numerous fact sheets showing the availability of U.S. workers for high-tech jobs and the damage for various minority communities that an increase in H-1B workers will bring. The DPE fact sheets can be found at www.dpeaflcio.org.
DPE ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT, AND MEDIA UNIONS ADDRESS LOCKOUTS – On April 10, 2013, DPE President Paul E. Almeida chaired a meeting of DPE arts, entertainment, and media industries (AEMI) unions at the New York City office of SAG-AFTRA, to which DPE extends a special thanks. Represented unions included AEA, AFM, IATSE, IBEW, SAG-AFTRA, and WGAE, as well as DPE ally DGA. Leading the agenda was an AFM presentation about lockouts, employers in negotiations shutting out employees.
The proportion of AEMI lockouts has come to exceed the proportion of AEMI collective bargaining negotiations by roughly 10 to 1. A majority of those AEMI lockouts come from symphony orchestras and target their musicians. These facts emerged from AFM research by Joel LeFevre, who is the organizing director for the New York State Public Employees Federation (NY PEF) and was a contract administrator in the AFM Symphonic Services Division. DPE joined AFM in thanking NY PEF for enabling LeFevre to participate.
Presenting with LeFevre were Jay Blumenthal, Director of the Symphonic Services Division/Assistant to the President, and Paul Frank, Director/Assistant to the President, Organizing and Education. AFM International President Ray Hair, Secretary-Treasurer Sam Folio, and Legislative-Political Director Alfonso Pollard also contributed.
Also on the AEMI agenda was an update from AEA Eastern Regional Director/Assistant Executive Director and General Counsel Tom Carpenter and National Director of Organizing and Special Projects Flora Stamatiades about the AEA Centennial and its direct charter from the AFL-CIO. DPE Executive Director David Cohen outlined the new economic accounting for the arts and culture that the National Endowment for the Arts is developing with the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. SAG-AFTRA Senior Advisor John McGuire reported on the Audiovisual Performances Treaty, while Cohen discussed the Trade in International Services Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (for more about AEMI and international trade, see “DPE Arts, Entertainment, and Media Unions Trade Views with USTR” below). DGA Associate Executive Director for Government and International Affairs Kathy Garmezy spoke on orphan works, and other unions shared news of developments affecting their members.
DPE ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT, AND MEDIA UNIONS TRADE VIEWS WITH USTR – On May 7, 2013, DPE hosted a meeting between senior staff from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and representatives of the AEMI unions. On the agenda: intellectual property, including copyright; temporary entry; and cross-border services.
DPE President Paul E. Almeida chaired the meeting, while Executive Director David Cohen facilitated the discussion. USTR participants included Stanford McCoy, Assistant USTR for Intellectual Property and Innovation; George York, Deputy Assistant USTR for Intellectual Property and Innovation; Christopher Melly, Deputy Assistant USTR for Services; Timothy Wedding, Deputy Assistant USTR for Labor Affairs; Todd Nissen, Director, Services Trade Negotiations; Jai Motwane, Director for Services and Investment; Tiffany Enoch, Deputy Assistant USTR for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement; and Kate Kalutkiewicz, Director for European Affairs. AEMI participants included representatives from AEA, AFM, DGA, IATSE, IBEW, and SAG-AFTRA, as well as the AFL-CIO.
LIBRARY WORKERS, UNITE! AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, JUNE 27-JULY 2 – Join DPE to promote the benefits of organizing unions at the 2013 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Meeting and Exposition, June 27-July 2, 2013 in Chicago, IL.
As co-chair of the AFL-CIO/ALA Joint Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups (Joint Committee), DPE Researcher and Representative Jennifer Dorning has worked with Joint Committee members to craft “Preserving Labor’s History” scheduled for Monday, July 1 from 10:30 to 11:30 am, room S103a, McCormick Place Convention Center.
Labor has a long, rich history. For decades, librarians and archivists have worked to collect, organize, preserve and make accessible the important documents that record that history: progress and triumphs as well as set-backs. This program aims to highlight the ways in which librarians, archivists, and others not only preserve labor’s history, but work to educate generations on the important role of labor in American life.
In conjunction with the program, the Joint Committee has organized a Chicago labor history tour, which will start at the Haymarket Martyrs Monument at Randolph and Desplains Streets, a few blocks west of the Loop. Larry Spivack, President of the Illinois Labor History Society, will be leading the tour on Friday, June 28 from 3 to 4 pm.
The Joint Committee will have a table at the annual conference staffed by Jennifer Dorning and other Joint Committee members. Please stop by to learn about the union difference for library workers and union advocacy, and pick up a “friend of labor” ribbon for your badge.
As a member of the Salaries and Status of Library Workers Committee and chair of the unions subcommittee, Jennifer Dorning has also organized the session “Union 101 for Librarians and Library Workers.” This session will focus on the benefits of unionization for librarians and library workers, as well as the basics of collective bargaining.
DPE President Paul E. Almeida will be a panelist, and Jennifer Dorning will moderate. The session will be held on Sunday, June 30 from 3 to 4 pm, room S103b, McCormick Place Convention Center.
Preserving Labor’s History and Union 101 for Librarians and Library Workers will be open only to ALA Annual Meeting attendees. However, the labor history tour is open to the public. For information about day passes, the ALA Annual Meeting, or the work of DPE with ALA, please contact Researcher and Representative Jennifer Dorning, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 638-0320 extension 114.
To view a complete list of DPE Fact Sheets, visit our website. For more information, contact DPE Researcher and Representative Jennifer Dorning, (202) 638-0320 extension 114, email@example.com.
DPE UPDATES PAY EQUITY BIBLIOGRAPHY – DPE has updated its pay equity bibliography for salaried and professional women. You can view the bibliography here.
For more information, contact DPE Researcher and Representative Jennifer Dorning, (202) 638-0320 extension 114, firstname.lastname@example.org.
AFT PRESIDENT WEINGARTEN GOES ‘BEYOND THE EDUCATION WARS’ – AFT President Randi Weingarten posed a key question. For more than 20 years, she said, the evidence has shown that collaboration – among education administrators, parents, teachers, and other stakeholders – yields the best results for students. Why, she asked, hasn’t that evidence captured the public narrative?
Her observations came on April 24, 2013 at an event sponsored by The Century Foundation, “Beyond the Education Wars: Evidence that Collaboration Builds Effective Schools,” which focused on a book of the same name by Century Foundation vice president of policy and programs Greg Anrig. In a blog post the next day, Anrig summarized his findings:
“the most successful schools in the United States have pursued intensively collaborative strategies in which:
1. school administrators work closely with teachers to develop curricula, choose instructional and assessment materials, and employ research-supported pedagogical approaches;
2. teachers devote substantial time sharing ideas with each other for continually improving their classroom effectiveness;
3. administrators and teachers closely monitor test results to diagnose difficulties students are having so they can receive additional support; and
4. school personnel engage in extensive outreach with parents and community support groups.”
Also speaking at the event were NEA Foundation president and CEO Harriet Sanford and Harvard School of Education Professor Paul Reville. Education journalist Dana Goldstein moderated. In the audience – and recognized by President Weingarten for her long, productive work with reform and collaboration – was AFT Executive Vice President Francine Lawrence, who serves as DPE Treasurer. Representing DPE at the event was Executive Director David Cohen.
CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS VIDEO FEATURES WRITERS GUILD EAST – Fair pay, benefits, avoiding bankruptcy despite life-threatening illness: For writers as for other workers, organizing into a union brings crucial results.
A new video series from the Center for American Progress Action Fund, “Unions Make the Middle Class – Three Stories of Real Americans,” includes a video, “Susan’s and Jeremy’s Stories,” featuring two Writers Guild of America, East members, freelance writers Jeremy Pikser and Susan Kim. The video runs three minutes and 52 seconds. The other two brief videos in the series recount the stories of a taxi driver and a childcare worker and underscore the advantages of organizing into a union.
For an AFL-CIO Now blog article about the series by Mike Hall, click here.
COPYRIGHT REFORM BREWS IN CONGRESS – Prompted by U.S. Register of Copyrights Maria A. Pallante, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) is promising a “comprehensive” review of copyright law “in the digital age.”
On March 4, 2013, in a speech at Columbia Law School, Pallente called for “the next great copyright act.” She dated the last major copyright law to 1976 and the last sustained attention to copyright law to the 1990s. Meanwhile, she said, copyright law both affects far greater numbers of people because of digital technologies and requires “an army of lawyers” to understand its basics. An expanded version of her speech is available here; a report from Columbia on the speech, here.
On March 20, Pallente testified before the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet of the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. She repeated her call for a wide-ranging review. She also identified three areas that appear ripe for Congressional action: public performance rights for sound recordings, orphan works, and illegal streaming. She stressed that “Congress has a duty to keep authors in its mind’s eye, including songwriters, book authors, filmmakers, photographers, and visual artists. A law that does not provide for authors would be illogical – hardly a copyright law at all.” Information about the hearing is available here.
On April 24, Chairman Goodlatte announced the comprehensive review before the World Intellectual Property Day celebration at the Library of Congress. On May 16, the subcommittee held its first hearing to follow his announcement, “A Case Study for Consensus Building: The Copyright Principles Project,” which heard from participants in a multiyear gathering of copyright experts exchanging diverse views to find common ground. Opening the hearing, Chairman Goodlatte cautioned: “We should not be in a rush to focus on specific issues without first recognizing the fundamentals of copyright and the social and economic benefits that copyright brings to our economy.” He said his questions included:
“How do we measure the success of copyright and what metrics are used?
How do we ensure that everyone’s voice is heard?
How is copyright working for individual artists?
How is copyright working for our nation’s economy?”
DPE HIRES NEW SUMMER RESEARCH INTERN – Tara Dunderdale, DPE’s new summer research intern, is a doctoral pre-candidate in Education Policy at The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development. She also holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from Brooklyn College and a BA in Adolescent Education with a concentration in Social Studies from the State University of New York at New Paltz. During the academic year, Tara works as a Graduate Research Assistant, researching issues of socio-economic and racial equity across schools both domestically and internationally.
Before relocating to D.C., Tara was a high school teacher in Brooklyn, NY for almost six years. She served two years as her school’s chapter chair for the United Federation of Teachers, which spurred her interest in teacher unionization and labor issues writ large. Her research interests include working relationships between teachers and administrators, teacher labor rights, and the interaction of labor and education policy.
DPE SIGNS ON – On March 14, 2013, DPE joined a letter to leaders of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives seeking repeal of the sequester. Also signing were unions affiliated with DPE including AFGE, AFSA, AFT, and IAM, as well as the AFL-CIO and other organizations. To read the letter, click here and scroll down.
On April 9, DPE President Paul E. Almeida sent a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives opposing the so-called “Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act” (H.R. 1120), which would paralyze the National Labor Relations Board. To read the letter, click here and scroll down.
On April 22, DPE joined a letter to the U.S. Senate supporting the “Marketplace Fairness Act” (S. 743), which would enable states and localities to collect sales and use taxes from remote and online sellers. To read the letter, click here and scroll down.
DPE IN THE NEWS – In April 2013, Library Worklife: HR E-News for Today’s Leaders, an online publication of the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association, published an op-ed by DPE President Paul E. Almeida, “Why Women Don’t Deserve Equal Pay!” In “What People Are Saying About Equal Pay Day” by Jackie Tortora, the AFL-CIO Now blog on April 9 quoted from and linked to the same op-ed.
On May 6, politico.com quoted President Almeida in its article “Tech firms sweat details on immigration reform” denouncing the tech industry as “the enemy of U.S. workers” for its efforts to strip worker protections from proposed legislative provisions on the H-1B visas.