Posted on August 31, 2018
What Today’s Unions Are Doing for Professionals
As we approach Labor Day, many of us are reminded of union victories of the past — like the 40-hour workweek and child labor laws — but many Americans are unfamiliar with the achievements of today’s unions. For Labor Day, the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) wants to recognize the accomplishments of today’s union members. In just the last six months, nonprofit employees, broadcast technicians, digital journalists, college faculty, public radio staffers, and many other professionals joined together to use their collective voice to negotiate for better pay, benefits, and working conditions. The following are some examples of what these union professionals recently achieved.
Posted on April 11, 2018
Power through Professionals’ Participation: Engaging Professional Union Members
What do sports teams, religious organizations, and unions have in common?
Posted on April 6, 2018
DPE Conducts Internal Organizing Training at OPEIU Conference
DPE Legislative and Outreach Director Michael Wasser joined OPEIU leaders and activists in Memphis, Tennessee, for their union’s 2018 All-Regions Educational Conference. Wasser conducted two workshops for over 80 OPEIU members on the basics of internal organizing, including new hire orientations.
Posted on April 2, 2018
DPE Presents Member Engagement Strategies at IBEW Conference
DPE Legislative and Outreach Director Michael Wasser again participated in IBEW’s annual Broadcasting, Manufacturing, and Telecommunications Conference, held this year in San Diego, California. Wasser led two workshops for over 60 IBEW leaders and activists on strategies to enhance member engagement ahead of contract negotiations.
Posted on January 16, 2018
How to Capitalize on Professionals’ Support for Unions and Win Organizing Campaigns
Most professionals say they would join a union given the opportunity, but how can this interest be turned into organizing victories?
Posted on October 25, 2017
Professionals Win Together: AFL-CIO Resolution Recognizes DPE’s 40 Years of Helping Professionals Join Together and Win
This morning, under the blue glow of the lights in St. Louis’ America’s Center the leaders and members of America’s unions voted to recognize the dramatic growth of professionals in unions and professionals’ role in the future of the labor movement.
Posted on October 24, 2017
At UWUA’s Power for America Conference, DPE Training Provides Fuel for Union Growth
DPE headed west last week to join the professionals who help keep our cities running at Utility Workers Union of America’s (UWUA) 2017 Power for America conference in Las Vegas. The Power for America conference brought together over 400 UWUA members for three days of workshops and trainings.
Posted on September 21, 2017
Americans in Every Way Except on Paper: These Young Professionals Show Why We Need the Dream Act
This month, the Trump administration announced it was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provided temporary permission for over 800,000 undocumented young people brought to the United States as children to live and work in the country. The young people covered by DACA include teachers, journalists, entertainers, behavioral health specialists, and many other young professionals. As the place in the labor movement for professionals, the Department for Professional Employees’ (DPE’s) affiliate unions’ members bring to the table a diverse array of backgrounds, nationalities, and immigration experiences — including Dreamers.
Posted on September 12, 2017
In Memory of SAG-AFTRA New York President Mike Hodge
The Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) mourns the loss of SAG-AFTRA New York President Mike Hodge. On September 9, 2017, Hodge passed away at the age of 70. Our heartfelt condolences go out to both the Hodge family and Hodge’s colleagues at SAG-AFTRA.
Posted on September 8, 2017
Unions of Professionals Support the Victims of Hurricane Harvey
The Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) is proud to have affiliate unions that have come to the aid of Hurricane Harvey victims. Affiliate union members’ support for Harvey victims has included joining together to raise money, deliver books, and volunteer on the ground. Our thoughts go out to the victims of this horrible natural disaster as they begin to rebuild.
Posted August 24, 2017
How to Expand Your Union’s Membership by Reaching New Hires
A new hire’s first impression of your union significantly influences their decision to join as a member. When done well, union orientation programs are proven to help make a positive first impression on new employees, leading to increased membership and greater union commitment among new hires. That’s why the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) has designed an easy to understand, step-by-step guide for establishing or improving an orientation program that effectively conveys to new hires the benefits of becoming a union member.
Posted August 10, 2017
Older Professionals Would Support Unionizing for Better Benefits
Professionals 50 and older differed from professionals in other age groups in that they prioritized better benefits as a top reason to have a union. Like other groups of professionals, older professionals believed better salaries and annual raises was the most convincing reason to form a union, but their second priority was improving benefits.
These findings are based on the results of a survey of non-union professionals conducted in October 2016 and sponsored by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE). The survey included 1,004 respondents, 316 of which were aged 50 and older. Most of the older respondents were employed in the private for-profit sector, half identified as Republicans, and 53 percent were women.
Key findings about older professionals’ attitudes toward unions include:
- Half would support a proposal for a union at their current job.
- Almost 60 percent of older professionals believed receiving better benefits was a convincing reason to have a union.
- 53 percent selected “making a contribution and having an impact” as a top aspect of work they valued.
- Almost two-thirds of older professionals wanted a union that would stand up to management and defend employees’ interests.
- 64 percent wanted a union that understood the needs and concerns of their profession.
- 50 percent of older professionals chose “undervalued” as a word to describe what is happening to people in their profession.
Those seeking to organize older professionals should spend time dispelling myths about unions, as older professionals were more skeptical about unions than younger professionals. Organizers should make sure they explain due process clauses in union contracts, what dues pay for, and how unions improve wages, benefits, and working conditions.
If you would like more information about the benefits of joining a union, visit DPE’s “Join A Union” webpage.
Complete analysis of older professionals and their attitudes towards unions is available to DPE affiliates. Affiliates can contact email@example.com for the complete analysis. A preview can be viewed here.
Posted July 24, 2017
White Professionals Are Interested in Unions for Workplace Improvements
White professionals are interested in joining a union to receive better salaries, benefits, and to improve work-life balance. According to the results of a survey of non-union professionals’ attitudes toward unions, white professionals believed pocketbook issues were the most convincing reasons to have a union. A majority of white professionals would support a union that would improve salary and raises.
The Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) sponsored a survey in October 2016 of non-union professionals about their attitudes toward unions. The survey contained 1,004 professional and technical employees, 689 of which were white professionals. Among white professionals surveyed, 60 percent were employed in the private, for-profit sector and just under 40 percent were aged 50 or older. Half of the white professionals surveyed were women. Additionally, the white professionals surveyed almost evenly identified as Democrats and Republicans.
Key findings about white professionals include:
- By the end of the survey, 53 percent of white professionals would support a proposal for a union at their current job.
- Over 60 percent of white professionals thought receiving better salaries and raises was a convincing reason to have a union.
- Just under 60 percent of white professionals thought receiving better benefits was a good reason to join a union.
- For 48 percent of white professionals, improving work-life balance, in addition to paid vacations and paid family and medical leave, was a convincing reason to have a union.
- Almost half of white professionals preferred a union that was effective and puts members first.
Organizers working with white professionals should spend time dispelling myths about unions by explaining due process clauses in union contracts, what dues pay for, and how unions can help improve the relationship between employees and management. Additionally, organizers should focus on educating white professionals about the benefits of joining together in union with their colleagues.
If you are interested in learning more about joining a union, visit DPE’s “Join A Union” webpage.
Complete analysis of the attitudes of white professionals towards unions is available to DPE affiliates. Affiliates can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the complete analysis. A preview can be viewed here.
Posted July 20, 2017
House Appropriations Committee Approves Funding for the NEA, NEH, and CPB
The full U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations has approved the funding necessary for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to continue functioning in the coming fiscal year. This comes after the House Appropriations subcommittees responsible for NEA, NEH, and CPB funding approved the same funding levels during markups last week.
On Tuesday evening, the full House Appropriations Committee met and approved $145 million in FY 2018 funding for the NEA and NEH each with the passage of the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill. The money allotted by the committee is $5 million less than Fiscal Year 2017 funding levels for the NEA and NEH. Though disappointed by these needless cuts to the NEA’s and NEH’s budgets, the funding approved by the House Appropriations Committee will allow the institutions to continue to carry out their vital missions.
Yesterday, the full House Appropriations Committee marked up the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education funding bill, which contained funding for the CPB in the form of an advanced appropriation of $445 million for Fiscal Year 2020. While certainly pleased to see a full appropriation for the CPB, the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) remains concerned about other provisions within the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education funding bill that would undermine professionals’ workplace rights.
President Donald Trump’s budget proposed eliminating the NEA and NEH, and privatizing the CPB. The funding levels proposed in President Trump’s budget, $29 million for the NEA, $42 million for the NEH, and $30 million for the CPB, were intended to begin the process of shutting down the three institutions.
DPE and its affiliates representing professionals in the arts, entertainment, and media industries as well as the professionals employed at NEA and NEH united to protect the NEA, NEH, and CPB from elimination by making members of Congress aware of the impact the institutions have on the country’s economy and culture, particularly in rural communities far from the bright lights of Hollywood and the stages of Broadway. DPE also organized a sign-on letter that brought together arts, entertainment, and media unions and a broad range of employers from across the country to tell Congress that the NEA, NEH, and CPB provide support for good jobs in every state and that private funding could not be counted on to replace lost federal funding.
DPE and its affiliates are pleased to see members of the House Appropriations Committee validate the continued need for the NEA, NEH, and CPB. As the appropriations process continues, we remain united in support of full funding for all three institutions.
Posted July 18, 2017
Updated Collective Bargaining for Professionals Fact Sheet Highlights Affiliates’ Workplace Gains
The Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) has released a new, updated version of its “The Benefits of Collective Bargaining for Professionals” fact sheet. The fact sheet examines DPE affiliates’ collective bargaining agreements for a variety of different professionals—including musicians, journalists, and librarians—and highlights pay, benefit, and working condition improvements gained through collective bargaining.
The fact sheet provides specific examples of compensation and benefit improvements, like minimum salaries and annual pay increases, overtime pay, and merit pay. Some collective bargaining provisions highlighted include:
- Baltimore Symphony Orchestra musicians, who are members of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Local 40-543, have a minimum salary requirement of $1,591.00 per week due to their collective bargaining agreement.
- Broadcast technicians at CBS are represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and their collective bargaining agreement provides for overtime pay of one-half times their regular pay for any time worked in excess of an eight-hour day.
- Professionals working for the non-profit Center for American Progress are represented by International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 70 and receive annual minimum pay increases, but also have a secure pool of money for merit pay increases.
Additionally, the fact sheet looks at non-compensation contract provisions. For example, provisions related to adequate staffing, job safety, and industry diversity. These include:
- Registered nurses at Brooklyn’s Lutheran Medical Center are represented by the United Federation of Teachers, a chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and had a collective bargaining agreement requiring the medical center to hire 25 additional nurses to address understaffing.
- Theater actors represented by Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) have a collective bargaining agreement with the League of Resident Theaters that provides for preventative physical therapy for choreography-heavy performances that last longer than eight weeks.
- The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE)-represented editorial staff at The Huffington have a collective bargaining agreement that aims to increase diversity in the newsroom with provisions like a system for posting jobs and a diversity committee.
A key component of collective bargaining agreements is due process or a process to resolve disputes that ensures fair and equal treatment during the arbitration process. Many misunderstand due process clauses, viewing them as pieces of union contracts that are meant to protect poor performing workers—which they are not. Instead, due process provisions in collective bargaining agreements are similar to the due process protections laid out in the U.S. Constitution, in that they protect professionals from unfair, unilateral actions by their employer. The updated fact sheet thoroughly explains due process and highlights a few examples of due process provisions in collective bargaining agreements.
Those interested in getting a full picture of how collective bargaining improves the lives of professionals should check out the complete fact sheet.
For more information on how to gain collective bargaining in your workplace, contact us at email@example.com.
Posted July 13, 2017
Professionals of Color Value Unions Committed to Equality and Would Support an Organizing Effort in their Workplace
Most professionals of color want a union and many strongly prefer a union that values equality. According to survey results, over 70 percent of Black, African American, Asian, Asian American, Hispanic and Latino, and other professionals of color would support a proposal for a union in their workplace. Additionally, when asked about what qualities or values they wanted a union to have, professionals of color said equality.
These findings come from a survey of non-union professionals sponsored by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE). The survey included 1,004 respondents, 315 of which were professionals of color. Most worked in the private, for-profit sector and just under 60 percent were women. The majority were under the age of 40.
When compared to white, non-Hispanic professionals, professionals of color were 20 percent more supportive of forming a union at their current job. Professionals of color were also more likely to believe unions were effective. Additionally, more professionals of color believed a union would improve their job security and protect them from layoffs.
Other findings from the survey about professionals of color include:
- 77 percent wanted a union that would improve salaries and benefits
- Almost three quarters of professionals of color wanted a union would defend employees from management
- Just under 50 percent of professionals of color described their profession as undervalued
Overall, professionals of color did not know a lot about unions, signaling that union organizers should spend time communicating the benefits of joining together in union. Organizers should also highlight the gains unions can help make in terms of wages and benefits, as well as the cooperative role unions play in workplace disputes involving management.
Complete analysis of the attitudes of professionals of color towards unions is available to DPE affiliates. Affiliates can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the complete analysis. A preview can be viewed here.
Posted June 29, 2017
DPE General Board Holds Quadrennial Meeting, Elects Officers
The DPE General Board held its quadrennial meeting and elections on June 21, 2017. At the meeting, DPE staff discussed the activities of the organization for the last four years. DPE’s accomplishments are detailed in the 2017 Quadrennial Report to the DPE General Board.
Seventeen DPE affiliates were in attendance, including AEA, AFT, AFGE, AFM, IATSE, IBEW, IFPTE, IUPAT, OPEIU, RWDSU, SAG-AFTRA, SIU, USW, UWUA, IAFF, SDC, and WGAE.
DPE re-elected the following officers:
- J. David Cox Sr., Chair of DPE (AFGE)
- Paul Almeida, President of DPE
- David White, First Vice President of DPE (SAG-AFTRA)
- Mary Cathryn Ricker, Treasurer of DPE (AFT)
DPE elected the following General Vice Presidents:
- Walter Cahill (IATSE)
- Gregory Junemann (IFPTE)
- Phil Kugler (AFT)
- Carol Landry (USW)
- John McGuire (SAG-AFTRA)
- Mary Mahoney (OPEIU)
- Mary McColl (AEA)
- Michael Langford (UWUA)
- Jay Blumenthal (AFM)
Following the elections, Chairman Cox thanked outgoing General Vice President Tom Carpenter (AEA) for his service and welcomed Jay Blumenthal to the Executive Committee.
DPE affiliates provided updates about current activities, including organizing, collective bargaining, member engagement, and upcoming events within their unions.
Posted June 29, 2017
DPE Participates in American Library Association Annual Conference
The Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) traveled to Chicago, Illinois, to participate in the American Library Association’s (ALA) annual conference, adding a union voice to the gathering of nearly 20,000 library professionals. DPE Legislative and Outreach Director Michael Wasser co-chairs the AFL-CIO/ALA Labor Committee, which is comprised of union members and members of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) division of ALA. The Labor Committee works to initiate, develop, and foster a closer working relationship between the librarian and labor communities.
The Labor Committee maintained a presence at the popular ALA Annual Conference Exhibition, hosting a booth where conference attendees could learn about the committee, get the latest DPE factsheet on library professionals, and, of course, collect some union library swag.
The Labor Committee also again sponsored a program, which drew a standing room only crowd of over 50 conference attendees. This year’s program, “The New Normal: Libraries Navigate Uncertain Times,” explored how libraries rebuilt programs, services, hours, and staffing levels, and are creating new models to challenge austerity. Panelists included Kay Schwartz, director of the Flint (Mich.) Public Library and Emily Drabinski and Tamara Townsen, librarians at Long Island University, Brooklyn, and members of the Long Island University Faculty Federation.
DPE sponsors the John Sessions Memorial Award, which recognizes a library or library system that has made a significant effort to work with the labor community. This year’s award was presented at the RUSA annual achievement awards ceremony on June 25th to the East Side Freedom Library of St. Paul, Minn.
Library professionals who are members of DPE affiliated unions interested in learning more or joining the AFL-CIO/ALA Labor Committee should contact Michael Wasser.
Posted June 13, 2017
DPE Contributes to the SPEEA Leadership Conference
The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001, held its annual leadership conference on June 10, 2017 in Seattle, Wash. The theme of the conference was “Empowering Future Activists.”
DPE President Paul E. Almeida delivered the keynote address, speaking to the importance of current labor leaders fostering future labor leaders. Almeida told the assembled group of 100 SPEEA leaders that “as labor leaders, identifying and empowering new leaders is one of your most important responsibilities.”
DPE Assistant to the President/Research Director Jennifer Dorning presented findings from DPE’s attitudinal survey of non-union professionals in two different workshops. In the first workshop, titled “Attitudes of Young Professionals Toward Unions: Engaging Future Union Leaders,” Dorning provided survey results that compared the attitudes of professionals between the ages of 21-34, 35-49, and 50 and older. Data included non-union professionals’ attitudes toward their current jobs as well as unions. There was an active conversation throughout from SPEEA leaders of all ages.
Dorning also presented attitudinal survey data on young professionals in a workshop titled “What Does the Future of SPEEA Look Like? A Workshop for Young Members.” This presentation focused on the attitudes of professionals aged 21-34, including young professionals’ perspectives on their jobs, the convincing reasons to have a union and concerns with having a union.
DPE would like to thank Dan Nowlin for the opportunity to address the SPEEA Leadership Conference.
Posted on June 12, 2017
Celebrating the Life of Jack Golodner
Last month, Jack Golodner, DPE’s founding president passed away. DPE will be holding a memorial service for Jack on July 10, 2017 at 1:30pm in the Gompers Room of the AFL-CIO building. A reception will follow the service. Those planning on attending should RSVP to email@example.com.
Posted on June 8, 2017
DPE Discusses Professionals’ Growing Interest in Unions at National LERA Conference
DPE Legislative and Outreach Director Michael Wasser participated in a panel discussion about professional unions at the Labor and Employment Relations Association’s (LERA) 69th Annual Conference, held June 1-4, 2017, in Anaheim, California. The panel, titled “The Growing Role of Professional Unions in the American Labor Movement,” also featured Kelly Trautner, director of AFT Nurses and Health Professionals, a DPE affiliate. Trautner shared how AFT is working to protect the interests of patients and professionals as the health care industry continues to evolve. Wasser overviewed DPE’s role within the AFL-CIO, outlined general findings from DPE’s 2016 survey of nonunion professionals, and highlighted how DPE affiliates are successfully organizing professionals across sectors and industries. The audience of approximately 40 academics, practitioners, and graduate employees was interested to learn how DPE affiliates are winning gains for their members, while continuing to adapt to the rapidly changing nature of work.
Posted on June 7, 2017
Professional Millennials: the Future of Work and the Labor Movement
By Paul Almeida, president of the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO
Millennials are the largest generation since the baby boomers and the most populous living generation in the U.S. at 75.4 million. Many of these millennials are entering into professional and technical occupations, the fastest growing segment of the workforce. As the future of the professional workforce, millennials are the future of the labor movement.
Fortunately, millennials are signaling a strong interest in joining together in union. Attitudinal surveys, recent organizing victories, and conversations with young professionals show that millennials want to be to be part of something in both the workplace and society that reflects their values and advocates on issues that matter to them.
In October 2016, the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE)—where I am president – sponsored a survey of non-union professionals, which included millennial respondents, to learn about their attitudes toward unions. The survey found millennials overwhelmingly support unionization, with 64 percent of the 331 professionals aged 21 to 34 saying they would support a proposal for a union at their current job.
Unions are seen by millennials as a way to improve their work-life balance, salaries, and benefits. The survey showed that millennials believe professionals deserve to have a contract in writing—just like CEOs—that guarantees pay and benefits, protects their professional integrity, and cannot be changed without their approval. Millennials see the strength that comes from standing together to bargain with employers.
Successful organizing of digital newsrooms, television networks, and graduate employees provide further evidence that millennials and other young professionals see value in union membership. Writers Guild of America, East, a DPE affiliate, has had success organizing the editorial staff at digital publications like Gawker (now Gizmodo), The Huffington Post, and recently The Intercept. Many of the professionals who have elected for a formal bargaining system work for publications that are millennial-focused—for example, VICE, MTV News, and Thrillist—and are young themselves.
Young professionals in the television industry have also been eager to join together improve their wages and working conditions. In March 2017, performers at the Spanish-language network Telemundo were successfully organized by SAG-AFTRA. Many of the Telemundo actors that supported unionizing were both young and female.
Graduate employee unions at colleges across the country further demonstrate millennial professionals’ interest in unionizing. In recent years, graduate students—who tend to be young—have formed unions at over 20 institutions, including at Portland State University in Oregon, Northwestern University in Illinois, and Princeton University in New Jersey. DPE affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers, has been one of the unions leading the effort.
Conversations with young professionals also reveal their desire to join and become involved in a union. At an event DPE hosted in March, young members from our affiliate unions stressed that young members want to be involved, but their unions may not be communicating effectively about how they can become active in their union.
Almost all of the young panelists agreed that customary union meetings are not the best way to engage with millennials—because let’s face it, they’re boring. Young professionals are far more interested in networking, social, and community service events. According to the young professionals at our event, aligning union activities with social justice, political, and other issues of interest to millennials will increase involvement.
The panelists also dispelled myths about what millennials want from their job. Some have suggested that millennials like to constantly switch jobs and are not interested in retirement benefits, but most of the young professionals in attendance agreed, and research has shown, that these are often mistakenly held beliefs. Young professionals, like most employees, want stable employment and a secure retirement, which is exactly what joining together in union offers.
As millennials join the workforce in larger numbers and jobs in the professional sector continue to increase, the labor movement must focus on recruiting and activating young professionals. Survey data, successful organizing campaigns, and conversations with young professionals demonstrate that millennials want a union—but the labor movement still has to do its part. In order to bring in young professionals, we must engage with them on their terms. Once established as union members, millennials will be a powerful collective voice in the workplace.
“Professional Millennials: the Future of Work and the Labor Movement” was originally published in the AIL/NILICO Labor Letter & Agenda.
Posted on June 6, 2017
DPE Conducts Training for IBEW Leaders
DPE Legislative and Outreach Director Michael Wasser traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, this month to participate in the IBEW Rising, the union’s 2017 Broadcasting, Manufacturing, and Telecommunications conference. Wasser led two workshops for over 80 IBEW leaders and activists on best practices for engaging professionals and growing their unions. Based on DPE’s guide Growing Your Union: Engaging Professionals Through New Hire Orientation, the workshops provided IBEW leaders and activists with practical strategies and step-by-step advice for how best to introduce new hires to their unions. When done well, new hire orientations increase sign-ups and bolster commitment to the union among new hires. The workshop also provided an opportunity for participants to “test drive” the best practices through simulations.
DPE staff is available to present the Growing Your Union training (or trainings on other DPE organizing resources) to affiliates’ leadership and activists. Please contact DPE Legislative and Outreach Director Michael Wasser to learn more.
Posted on June 1, 2017
High Earning Professionals, Professionals Earning Less Than $50k are Open to Union Representation
Professionals earning more than $100,000 and professionals earning less than $50,000 are open to joining a union. The results of an October 2016 survey of non-union professionals reveal that 50 percent of high earners and 66 percent of lower earning professionals would support a proposal for a union at their current job.
The October 2016 survey was sponsored by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE). The survey included 1,004 non-union professionals, 256 of which earned more than $100,000 per year and 236 of the respondents earned less than $50,000 per year. Most of the non-union professionals earning less than $50,000 per year were women—70 percent—while only 37 percent of the non-union professionals earning over $100,000 per year were women. A majority of high earning professionals were over 45 years of age, while only 36 percent of professionals earning less than $50,000 were over 45.
While both a majority of high earning professionals and low earning professionals would support a proposal for a union at their current job, these groups prioritized different improvements that they wanted from union representation. The most convincing reason for professionals who earned less than $50,000 per year to have a union was for better salaries and raises. Professionals who earned over $100,000 per year were more interested in improving health and retirement benefits.
Lower earning professionals’ knowledge about unions was a lot more limited when compared to higher earning professionals. Just over a quarter of professionals earning less than $50,000 reported knowing a great deal or fair amount about unions. Among high earning professionals, 35 percent reported knowing a great deal or fair amount about unions.
Additionally, high earning professionals were very concerned that union representation would restrict rewards for individual achievement and protect poor performing workers. Union organizers should address this concern by highlighting union contracts that establish merit pay.
For professionals earning less than $50,000, merit pay was not really a concern. Instead, lower earning professionals felt undervalued by their employer and were looking to gain more respect.
Overall, union organizers should be aware of the differences between professionals at different income levels and highlight the union benefits that are important to the professionals they are organizing. Both groups of professionals had concerns about union myths and organizers should work to combat rumors about unions.
Those interested in learning more about union representation should visit our “Join A Union” webpage.
A preview of full analysis of professionals who earn less than $50,000 per year views toward unions can be viewed here. Complete analysis of high earning professionals’ attitudes toward unions will be available in the coming weeks.
DPE affiliates interested in full survey analysis should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on May 17, 2017
In Memory of Jack Golodner
Earlier this week, the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) received the sad news that founding president of DPE Jack Golodner passed away on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at the age of 85.
DPE’s full statement on Jack’s passing can be read here.
Those interested in sharing a thought, comment, or memory, can email them to email@example.com.
Details on Jack’s memorial service will be announced on the DPE website in the coming weeks.
Posted on May 16, 2017
Politically Independent Professionals Would Join a Union
Professionals who identified as politically independent would support a proposal for a union in their workplace. According to the results of survey sponsored by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE), 55 percent of Independents would support a proposal to have a union.
The survey, conducted in October 2016, targeted non-union professionals. Of the 1,004 non-union professionals surveyed, 152 identified as Independent. Over two thirds of Independents worked in the private, for-profit sector and 60 percent were White. A strong majority of Independents described their views as “moderate,” while a nearly equal number said they were conservative and liberal.
Key findings about Independent professionals include:
- Over half of Independents said they would have a union to improve salaries and raises
- The traits that Independents valued most in a union were “fairness” and “integrity”
- Less than a third of Independents reporting knowing a great deal or a fair amount about professional unions
Independents’ perceptions about unions tended to be closer to Republicans than Democrats. Union effectiveness was something Independents were concerned about.
Professionals considering a union can learn more about becoming a union member by visiting DPE’s “Join A Union” webpage.
Posted on May 4, 2017
Democrat Professional Employees Overwhelmingly Support Joining a Union
Professional employees who identify as Democrats have a strong interest in joining a union. According to survey results, over 70 percent of professional Democrats would support a proposal for a union at their current job.
This finding about professional Democrats comes from analysis of the results of a survey of non-union professionals’ attitudes toward unions conducted in October 2016. The survey was sponsored by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE). Out of the 1,004 non-union professionals surveyed, 453 were Democrats. Most (56%) of the professional Democrats were employed in the private sector, while over a third (37%) were employed in the public sector. Additionally, a quarter work in engineering, business, finance, computer, and math occupations and over half (54%) earned under $75,000 per year.
Professional Democrats’ positive attitudes towards unions are not surprising, but there were findings that were not obvious. These findings include:
- A union’s commitment to fairness and equality were values Democrats cared about the most
- Three quarters of Democrats said better salaries and raises was a convincing reason to have a union
- Work-life balance was important to Democrats—over 60 percent thought it was a good idea to have a union to improve work-life balance and paid leave
- Only 28 percent of Democrats reported knowing a great deal or fair amount about unions for professionals
Democrats’ limited knowledge about unions reveals that union organizers should focus on communicating the benefits of unions. Additionally, professional Democrats are concerned about myths related to unions. Organizers should spend some time dispelling union myths.
To learn more about joining or forming a union, check out our “Join A Union” page. It has answers to many of the common questions about unions for professionals. Those with additional questions can contact us here.
Full analysis of Democrat professionals’ attitudes toward unions is available to DPE affiliates and should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. A preview of DPE’s full analysis can be viewed here.
Posted on April 19, 2017
Professional Republicans are Open to Union Representation
Newly released survey analysis reveals openness to the benefits of union representation transcends party lines. The analysis finds most Republicans are open to learning more about what a union can do for them.
These latest findings about Republican professionals comes from the Department for Professional Employees’, AFL-CIO (DPE’s) survey of non-union professional conducted in October 2016. Of the 1,004 professionals who took part in the survey, 399 identified as Republicans. Most of the Republican respondents were employed in the private, for-profit sector, 52 percent were aged over 45, almost 90 percent were White, and 41 percent made under $75,000 per year.
Like other groups of professionals, Republican professionals believed better salaries and raises was the most convincing reason to join a union. Professionals who identified as Republican were also more likely to be interested in a union that was “professional.” Republican support for union representation increased by six points after participating in the survey, which reveals that Republicans are open to the union message and can be persuaded to support a union in their workplace.
Organizers should focus on emphasizing unions’ effectiveness at improving wages, benefits, and working conditions—and persuading Republican professionals that unions are the most effective way to achieve these gains. Republicans have a number of concerns about unions—largely related to myths about unions—that should also be addressed by organizers.
Those interested in learning more about joining a union can find out more here.
Full analysis of Republican professionals’ attitudes toward unions is available to DPE affiliates and should contact email@example.com. A preview of DPE’s full analysis can be viewed here.
Posted on April 10, 2017
Professionals in the South Are Interested in Unionizing
Low union density in the South tends to be attributed to anti-union sentiment among Southerners, but new survey data analysis showed that Southern professionals are open to joining a union. According to the analysis, a majority (58%) of professionals in the South would support a proposal for a union, and more could be persuaded to join a union with additional information about the benefits of union representation.
These findings are based on the results of a survey of 1,004 professionals sponsored by Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) in October 2016. For the analysis, DPE examined the attitudes of professionals in the Northeast, Midwest, South, and West. The following is the breakdown of survey respondents by region: 231 in the Northeast, 211 in the Midwest, 351 in the South, and 211 in the West.
Overall, geographic region was not the best predictor of union support—but some conclusions can be drawn about professionals’ attitudes toward unions in a specific region. One similarity to note is, regardless of region, all professionals believed improving salaries and benefits was the best reason to have union representation.
The differences between regions were more numerous. Professionals in the Midwest were the least supportive of union representation and appeared to be the hardest to persuade. Southern professionals did not know a lot about unions and are going to need more information about the benefits of a union to increase membership. By the end of the survey, roughly 60 percent of professionals in both the Northeast and West would support a proposal for union. Professionals in these regions were more dissatisfied with the current conditions facing professionals.
Organizers should keep these differences in mind and tailor their messaging depending on which geographic region they are located.
Posted on March 22, 2017
Professional Women are More Supportive of Unions than Professional Men
Over 60 percent of professional women would vote to unionize given the opportunity, revealing that professional women are more likely to want a union than professional men.
The Department for Professional Employees’, AFL-CIO (DPE’s) analysis of professional women’s attitudes towards unions showed that 65 percent thought it was a good idea for employees to be represented by a union and 62 percent would support a proposal to have a union in their workplace. As highlighted on DPE’s blog earlier this month, 56 percent of male professionals ages 21 to 44 would support a proposal for a union at their current job, while only 42 percent of male professionals ages 45 and over would support having a union.
This analysis is based on a survey of 1,004 professional employees conducted in October 2016. Professional women were over half of the survey respondents, with 522 participating. Most of the professional women who took part in the survey were White and younger than 45. Over half worked in the private, for-profit sector, while 22 percent were employed in the public sector. As far as political ideology, 30 percent identified as conservative while 37 percent identified as liberal.
Key findings include:
- 62% of professional women would support a proposal to have a union in their workplace to represent them and their colleagues
- 66% thought receiving better salaries and raises was a convincing reason to have a union
- A majority of professional women believe having a union would improve their health and retirement benefits, job security, and pay
- Over two-thirds of professional women believed it was important for a union to stand up to management and defend employees’ interests
- 61% wanted a union that would ensure equal pay for equal work
Workplaces that are heavily female provide opportunities for union organizing. Less than half of women are satisfied with career advancement opportunities and having a voice at their job. Additionally, half of professional women surveyed felt undervalued. Communicating how union representation can help employees negotiate for a raise, as well as fair and equal treatment in the workplace, should be a message that resonates with professional women.
Posted on March 20, 2017
Young Professionals Discuss Drawing Millennials to Unions at DPE’s ‘Future of Work’ Event
Deadspin writer Hamilton Nolan kicked off DPE’s symposia on young professionals and unions last week, as keynote speaker. Nolan, a member of Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) emphasized the importance of organizing in growing the labor movement.
In addition to Nolan’s keynote address, the March 16 event in Washington, D.C. featured two panels of young union members and staffers.
The first panel, “How younger professionals view work and unions,” was moderated by assistant professor at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor relations, Rachel Aleks. The panelists included: Kelly Stec, a grad student and state vice president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Michigan; Matt Koch, a master electrician and member of Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 150; Ryan Rule, a design and analysis engineer and president of Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA); Felicia Sharp, a professional employee at the Department of Defense and president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 1410; Ryan O’Boyle, a video editor and business representative for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1212; and Ben Whitehair, an actor and national board member of SAG-AFTRA.
The panel discussed how they were introduced to unions—which many of the panelists credited to their union family members.
“I grew up in a union household, and ‘don’t ever cross a picket line’ was up there with ‘always brush your teeth’,” said Stec.
Each of the panelists also described how they got involved in their current union and what they thought would attract other young members. A number of the panelists, including Whitehair, said that millennials want to get involved in union activities but don’t know the next steps.
“Building a millennial membership” was the topic of the second panel, which was moderated by Nolan. The panelists included: Alyssa Picard, director of AFT’s higher education department; Josh Austin, content editor at Actors’ Equity Association (AEA); Megan McRobert, digital organizer at Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE); Alan Barber, president of International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 70; and Bill Lyons, director of the membership and organization department at AFGE.
Many of the union representatives spoke about how face-to-face organizing is still the most effective way to increase membership. Additionally, some of the panelists discussed how their union’s involvement with social issues excited their members and helped with organizing.
Overall, the panels provided the DPE affiliate unions that were in attendance with guidance on how to communicate with, organize, and involve young professionals.
DPE President Paul E. Almeida gave the opening and closing remarks at the event.
The millennial event is part of DPE’s “Future of Work” series, focusing on where work is headed.
Posted March 17, 2017
DPE Releases Guide to Creating a New Hire Orientation Program
This week, DPE released to its affiliate unions a guide to developing their own new hire orientation programs. The guide aims to assist affiliates in increasing their member sign-ups among new hires.
Growing Your Union: Engaging Professionals Through New Hire Orientation overviews a successful new hire orientation program and provides step-by-step instructions on how union leaders and staff can create or enhance their own orientation program.
Growing Your Union was developed specifically for organizing professional employees. The guide draws upon interviews with union leaders and staff responsible for their unions’ orientation programs, observation of existing orientation programs, content analysis of union welcome packets, relevant social science research, and data from DPE’s survey of professionals and their attitudes toward unions.
Research has shown that well done new hire orientation programs increase sign-ups and commitment to the union.
Preview Growing Your Union here.
DPE affiliates interested Growing Your Union can contact us for a copy. DPE staff is also available to give a presentation to your union’s leadership.
Posted March 7, 2017
Most Young Male Professionals Support Unions
Young male professionals are different from older male professionals in that a majority would support union representation.
The Department for Professional Employees’ (DPE’s) analysis of the attitudes of male professionals ages 21 to 44 reveals that over half would support a proposal for a union at their current job. Compared to the attitudes of professional males over 45, young male professionals are much more supportive of unions. Only 42 percent of older male professionals would support a proposal for a union at work.
DPE’s analysis is based on an attitudinal survey of 1,004 professional employees conducted in October 2016. Young male professionals were 274 of the survey respondents. Most of the young male respondents were White and employed in the private sector. Over 40 percent were employed in engineering, business, finance, computer, and math occupation and 45 percent identified as Republicans. Just under half of the young male professionals who participated in the survey earned under $75,000 per year.
Key findings include:
- 56% of younger male professionals would support union representation at their workplace
- Better salaries, benefits, and improved work-life balance were younger male professionals’ top reasons for wanting a union
- Younger male professionals believed it is important for a union to improve salaries and benefits (70%), stand up to management (66%), speak out on behalf of quality work and service (63%), and understand the concerns of their profession (62%)
- Over 40% of younger male professionals feel professionals in their field were undervalued
Younger male professionals’ openness to union representation provides an organizing opportunity for unions. Union organizers should focus on unions’ effectiveness at making workplace improvements.
For information about DPE’s full analysis of the attitudes of younger male professionals, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Those interested in a preview of DPE’s analysis of male professionals ages 21 to 44 can view it here.
Posted February 17, 2017
Motivated by Higher Salaries and Success, Private Sector Professionals Are Attracted to a Union that Rewards Performance
Private, for-profit sector professionals are unique in their motivation to earn higher salaries and excel at their jobs, as well as their desire to have a union contract that rewards individual performance.
The Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE), in its analysis of the attitudes of private, for-profit professionals, found that these professionals value higher salaries and career advancement as the most important aspects of their job. They want a union that will be effective at improving salaries, but also one that preserves their ability to be rewarded based on merit.
The analysis is based on a DPE-sponsored survey of 1,004 professional employees conducted in October 2016. The survey included 599 private, for-profit sector professionals. These professionals tend to be more white, male, and conservative. Architecture, engineering, business, finance, computer, and mathematical science occupations were common among these professionals, with 42 percent being employed in one of these fields. For salaries, 33 percent earned more than $100,000 per year.
Key findings include:
- 59% of for-profit sector professionals identified receiving better salaries and annual raises as the most convincing reason to have a union
- Just over half (51%) of for-profit sector professionals would support a proposal to have a union in their workplace
- 51% of for-profit sector professionals said a serious problem in their job was management puts the financial bottom line ahead of quality of service
- Only 31% of these professionals knew a great deal or fair amount about unions
These findings present both challenges and opportunities for those organizing private, for-profit sector professionals. Due to for-profit professionals’ lack of exposure to information about unions, there is room to educate them on the benefits of union representation. Organizers should highlight how a union can help for-profit professionals negotiate for better wages and benefits as well as stand up to management. Additionally, sharing other union contracts that reward professionals based on performance would help garner support for a union at private, for-profit workplaces. Communicating a pro-union message, demonstrating union effectiveness, and busting union myths should be part of the strategy to reach private, for-profit sector professionals.
Professionals in the private, for-profit sector interested in learning more about joining a union can find out more here.
You can find out more about our full analysis of private, for-profit sector employees’ attitudes towards unions by contacting email@example.com. Those interested in a preview of DPE’s analysis of private, for-profit sector can view it here.
Posted February 16, 2017
Join DPE in Supporting the Arts
DPE understands the cultural and economic benefits of the arts and is proud to have affiliates that represent professionals working in the arts, entertainment, and media industries. While it may be easy to conjure up images of glamorous Hollywood award shows, the reality is that most people working in the arts are middle-class Americans working to provide for their families. Arts professionals, from performers to stagehands, can be found in large cities and small towns all across the United States.
DPE is concerned by reports in The Hill last month that the Trump administration may be looking at defunding the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and eliminating public funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Defunding, privatizing, or otherwise eliminating the NEA, NEH, or CPB will only hurt everyday people while having nearly no impact on the federal budget. The Washington Post reports that the institutions’ combined funding equated to 0.02 percent of federal spending in 2016.
NEA-backed activities and grants provide support for the arts in every state and the District of Columbia. These projects take place in both urban centers and rural communities. Additionally, 40 percent of projects supported by the NEA occur in low income areas. Some examples of NEA-supported activities include:
- A community-based public art project in York, Alabama
- A choral works concert in Baltimore, Maryland
- A multidisciplinary arts camp in Sitka, Alaska
The arts are not just a cultural good, they also help the U.S. economy. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, arts and cultural industries contribute $704.2 billion to the nation’s GDP—more than U.S. construction and agriculture industries. The arts also generate 4.7 million jobs in the U.S. and return $22.3 billion dollars in federal, state, and local revenue.
DPE encourages you to join us in standing up for the arts by signing the Americans for the Arts’ petition calling on President Donald Trump to protect these important cultural institutions.
Posted February 15, 2017
DPE Launches New Page for Professionals Thinking about Joining a Union
Are you interested in joining the more than six million professionals that are union members?
DPE’s new “Join A Union” page is meant to answer professionals’ questions about union representation.
The page provides information on why professionals join unions, the advantages of joining together in union, and the first steps in forming a union at work.
Those who have been thinking about forming a union at work should check out this new resource.
Posted February 15, 2017
DPE Presents Survey Results to AFGE National Executive Council
On February 9, 2017, DPE President Paul E. Almeida and Assistant to the President/Research Director Jennifer Dorning made a presentation to the American Federation of Government Employees National Executive Council detailing the findings of DPE’s October 2016 attitudinal survey of nonunion professionals. DPE’s presentation focused on the attitudes of public sector professionals toward unions.
The survey showed that public sector professionals strongly favor union representation at work and expressed a need for salary and working condition improvements. The presentation was well received and spurred questions about professionals and the potential for organizing.
Posted February 8, 2017
SPEEA Meets with DPE in D.C.
Yesterday, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA)—International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) local 2001—met with DPE in Washington, D.C.
The SPEEA members in attendance were briefed on the results of DPE’s survey of professionals. The survey, which found that a majority of professionals want a union and a raise, led to a discussion of successful organizing tactics among the SPEEA members. A number of members were interested in a breakdown of professionals’ attitudes toward union representation by geographic region. DPE will release an analysis of the results by region in the coming months.
DPE also had Ron Hira, a professor of public policy at Howard University, overview the issues with U.S. high-skilled guest worker programs—specifically the H-1B visa. Hira stressed that the complexity of the H-1B visa program has created exploitable loopholes that employers use to displace American workers and lower working conditions for foreign workers in the U.S. The H-1B visa program has been a frequent topic in the news due to outrageous cases of abuse, like at UCSF, and legislation in Congress aimed at reforming the program.
While in Washington, D.C. for IFPTE’s 2017 Legislative Advocacy Conference, SPEEA will be meeting with members of Congress and their staff to discuss topics of concern to its members.
DPE affiliates interested in learning more about the survey of professionals, guest worker programs, or our organizing tools can contact us here.
Posted February 6, 2017
DPE Releases Analysis of Public Sector Professionals’ Attitudes Towards Unions
Professionals in the public sector who want to join a union should know they are not alone.
According to the results of a survey sponsored by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE), most of their colleagues want a union too. The survey found overwhelming support (69%) for union representation among public sector professionals—the most support out of any sector.
The findings are based on a DPE-sponsored survey of 1,004 professional employees conducted in October 2016. The survey included 209 public sector professionals. Over half of these professionals were female and 62 percent were White. Federal and local government employees made up almost half of the respondents.
Key findings include:
- More than two-thirds of public sector professionals would join a union at their current job
- Over 60 percent of professionals in the public sector identified better salaries and benefits as the reason to have union representation
- 68 percent of public sector professionals want a union that defends employees’ interests
- A majority of public sector professionals supported having a union for a stronger voice at work
Public sector professional employees expressed a greater need for a raise than professionals in other sectors. A majority of these professionals wanted a union to gain better wages and benefits.
Additionally, when compared to professionals in other sectors, public sector employees were more discontent with their work environment, with strong majorities feeling undervalued as well as concerned about arbitrary procedure and rule changes at work. Concerns with management explain why public sector professionals are more focused on having a union that has their best interests in mind and gives them a stronger voice.
Public sector professionals openness to union representation, need for a raise, and dissatisfaction with their work environment presents a lot of opportunities for union organizers to make gains in the public sector. Organizers should focus on communicating and demonstrating unions’ effectiveness at negotiating for higher salaries—on average union members make 25 percent more than non-union members—and improving relationships with supervisors and managers. Additionally, organizers should be conscious of the union myths and make an effort to bust them.
Full analysis of public sector professionals’ attitudes towards unions is available to DPE affiliate unions by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Those interested in a preview of DPE’s analysis of public sector professionals can view it here.
Posted February 3, 2017
UCSF Justifies IT Layoffs as a Way to Cut Costs, Misuses the H-1B Visa Program
UC San Francisco (UCSF) says it will save money by firing IT professionals and replacing them with employees of the Indian outsourcing company HCL Technologies.
Last month, the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) President Paul E. Almeida wrote to University of California President Janet Napolitano urging her to reverse the decision to lay off 79 IT professionals and use the H-1B visa program to outsource their work. In its response, UCSF defended the layoffs and outsourcing, claiming it would save the public university money. The letter also admits UCSF employees affected by the layoffs helped train their replacements.
UCSF’s use of the H-1B visa program is inappropriate and runs counter to the purpose Congress laid out for the program. The H-1B program is intended to “help employers who cannot otherwise obtain needed business skills and abilities from the U.S. workforce by authorizing the temporary employment of qualified individuals who are not otherwise authorized to work in the United States.” Clearly, cutting costs is not the purpose of the program.
UCSF’s misuse of the H-1B program highlights why DPE believes the program must be reformed, to ensure U.S. workers don’t continued to be replaced with cheaper workers in the United States.
Posted January 10, 2017
DPE to UC President Napolitano: Rescind Decision to Layoff 79 UCSF Employees, Don’t Abuse H-1B Visa Program
As highlighted this weekend in the Los Angeles Times, UC San Francisco (UCSF) is laying off 79 IT professionals and using the H-1B visa program to outsource their work. Ahead of their February 2017 layoffs, the UCSF workers have been forced to train their replacements, who work for the Indian outsourcing company HCL Technologies.
In a letter sent today, DPE president Paul E. Almeida urged UC President Janet Napolitano to reverse UCSF’s decision to fire these IT professionals and move their work to India. As the letter points out, Congress never meant for the H-1B visa program to be used by employers to replace U.S. workers with cheaper workers in the United States or abroad.
The developments at UCSF underscore why DPE believes the current H-1B program must be reformed so that it works for U.S. workers, highly skilled foreign workers, and employers. Right now the program is regularly used to outsource and offshore good jobs to lower wage markets, and to replace U.S. workers with cheaper workers in the United States. The top H-1B employers are companies like HCL Technologies that specialize in shipping U.S. jobs overseas, mostly in the IT industry. These companies rarely sponsor H-1B employees for lawful permanent resident in the United States.
For more about the H-1B visa program and other high-skilled temporary visa programs, check out DPE’s fact sheet.
Posted January 6, 2017
Hart Research Briefs DPE Affiliates on 2016 Survey of Professionals Results
Hart Research highlighted the finding that a majority of professionals support union representation in their workplace and most want a union to help increase their salaries.
“Most professionals want and deserve a raise,” said DPE President Paul Almeida in response to the survey results.
The briefing also focused on the finding that the attitudes of professionals who would not support a union in their workplace are moveable—or can be persuaded—by communicating union success.
Hart Research also highlighted obstacles to changing the opinions of these “disapprovers.” They include doubts and myths about union effectiveness, protection of poor performing workers, and involvement in politics.
DPE will release new demographic-based reports from the survey data every two weeks starting on Monday, January 9, 2017. Full survey data and all of the materials from yesterday’s briefing are available to DPE affiliates. Contact us for more information.
Old blog posts can be viewed here.