The purpose of this newsletter is to inform you of recent activities by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO as well as emerging issues affecting the professional and technical workforce. NewsLine will be published on the first of every month. Issues of NewsLine are accessible on the DPE web page www.dpeaflcio.org. Feedback welcomed; send to email@example.com.
In This Issue:
- DPE Executive Committee Meets
- DPE Response to the AFL-CIO
- Register Now, Share the Latest!
- Evolving Work, Future Unions
- Vital Work Force Statistics – New Fact Sheet Highlights Changes in the World of Work.
- “Support Labor Unions”: A Book Focused on Ways to Improve Women’s Lives
- DPE in the News
- Tsunami Relief Efforts Continue
DPE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETS—On December 1st the Committee convened for its second and final meeting of ‘04. Highlights of the meeting included:
- A lengthy discussion about the future of the AFL-CIO and the ongoing dialogue regarding its programs, structure and direction. AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney met with the Committee to invite affiliate comments as well as input from the DPE. DPE affiliates also encouraged the Department to weigh in on this issue.
- Implementation, effective 7/1/05, of a one cent increment of a per capita increase that had been originally approved by the DPE General Board as part of its adoption in October of 2001 of the DPE Fiscal Action Plan.
- Approval for ratification by the General Board of three other Constitutional Amendments (which the Board had reviewed in draft form at its meeting in June). The proposed changes increase the size of the DPE Executive Committee to expand affiliate representation and expedite the process for approval of constitutional amendments.
- Updates on: legislative actions taken in the lame duck November congressional session and the depressing outlook for the 109th Congress; the continuing work of the DPE’s Committee on the Evolution of Professional Careers; the 3/14-16 DPE Organizing Conference (see below); outreach to professional organizations including the 1American Library Association (ALA), the American Public Health Association (APHA) and 1the National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO); a summary of the DPE’s four successful “Lunch and Learn” forums at the AFL-CIO 1focusing on the state of the American health care system and proposals for change.
- Approval of a policy resolution submitted by AFTRA opposing congressional efforts to impose huge FCC fines on DJs, recording artists, musicians, performers and broadcasters for alleged indecency including efforts by broadcast management to shift the burden of their fines onto the backs of these union members.
DPE RESPONSE TO THE AFL-CIO—In response to President Sweeney, the Department completed for review by General Board members a draft white paper entitled The AFL-CIO in the 21st Century: Organized Labor in a White Collar World, Can the Labor Movement Rise to the Challenge? The 12 page document: includes a summary analysis that clearly elucidates the emerging dominance of professional/technical workers within the U.S. economy; profiles organized labor’s already substantial base of professional/technical workers; highlights several unique characteristics of white collar workers; and addresses the recent DPE experience with the unsuccessful SAG-AFTRA merger.
The dominant theme of the DPE analysis is that it is imperative for the AFL-CIO to: substantially increase its focus on the growing white collar workforce; significantly enhance its emphasis on union professionals, and; more deliberately project the image of the American labor movement as an institution of relevance to professional and technical workers. The critique summarizes relevant, facts, statistics and history, details successful collaborations between the DPE and the Federation, pinpoints specific problems and includes recommendations for future action. The entire report can be found on the DPE website at www.dpeaflcio.org
REGISTER NOW, SHARE THE LATEST!—Share what’s working, tap new research, brainstorm, shape research for our future – and use new ways to help professionals organize!
At www.dpeaflcio.org, the Department for Professional Employees (DPE) has posted an updated agenda, with summaries of each session. Also on the website is a registration form for the DPE unconference conference, Organizing Professionals in the 21st Century, March 14-16, 2005, at the Crystal City Hilton in Arlington, Virginia.
Professional and technical workers form the fastest growing, and one of the most heavily unionized, segments of our economy. A Planning Committee that’s been meeting since January 2004 created a unique conference structure for national and local union decision-makers, organizers, key staff, and researchers. DPE will ask every participant to note questions and ideas that the conference sessions spark. Before the conference ends, every participant will join in a breakout session to set priorities for testing ideas with research.
Many of the nine general sessions and dozen workshops will feature newly released or specially commissioned research. Among them:
● Dr. Lynn Karoly of RAND, co-author of The 21st Century at Work: Forces Shaping the Future Workforce and Workplace in the United States, and Dr. Richard Hurd of Cornell, author of a DPE special report, The Organizing Challenge: Professional and Technical Workers Seek a Voice, will report on and forecast population, economic, and technological trends for professional and technical workers.
● Guy Molyneux, senior vice president with Peter D. Hart Research Associates, will analyze results from three surveys of unorganized professionals commissioned for the conference: What do the responses tell us about how professionals might enhance the appeal of organizing?
● Kate Bronfenbrenner, Director of Labor Education Research at Cornell, will present a specially commissioned analysis of data from the National Labor Relations Board and five states to answer, What happens when professional women organize? Dr. Dorothy Sue Cobble of Rutgers, who has written extensively about women and the labor movement, will comment.
● How did more than 30 bargaining units work together and increase their membership at a single employer, Kaiser Permanente, from 56,000 to 86,000 over 6-1/2 years? A first look at the results of research developed for the conference.
Other sessions range from “Professionals Organizing to Function as Professionals” to “Into Cyberspace and Beyond! New Tactics for Organizing.” The topics draw on the experience and expertise of DPE-affiliated unions: building a union without collective bargaining, alliances and affiliations between unions and professional associations, outreach to pre- and young professionals, professional education as a core for organizing, and forms of organizing in entertainment and media, education, health care, engineering and science, information technology, the public sector, contingent employment, and outside the U.S.
For questions or comments, please contact David Cohen at 202-638-0320 extension 13, firstname.lastname@example.org.
EVOLVING WORK, FUTURE UNIONS—How are radical shifts in information and communications technology reshaping the ways in which businesses organize work? What do these shifts mean for the future of professional and technical work? What roles will unions play?
These questions framed the second meeting of the Committee on the Future of Professionalism, renamed the Committee on the Evolution of Professional Careers, on December 14, 2004. Chaired by IFPTE President Gregory J. Junemann, representatives of ten unions affiliated with DPE – AEA, AFSA, AFTRA, TNG-CWA, IAFF, IATSE, IFPTE, SAG, UAN, and RWDSU-UFCW – and the Albert Shanker Institute heard from Professor Thomas W. Malone of MIT and continued the discussion that the Committee began in August.
Dr. Malone is a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management; the founder and director of the MIT Center for Coordination Science; the founding co-director of the MIT Initiative on “Inventing the Organizations of the 21st Century”; and the author of The Future of Work: How the New Order of Business Will Shape Your Organization, Your Management Style, and Your Life (Harvard Business School Press, 2004). For more about him, click on http://ccs.mit.edu/malone/. For more about his latest book, go to http://ccs.mit.edu/futureofwork/.
Dr. Malone argued that email represents an extraordinary fall in the cost of communication that enables companies to decentralize and democratize their operations as never before. He foresees a delegation of authority to teams who come together on one project and then regroup for another. As employers seek the input of networked professional and technical workers, many of whom will be independent contractors or project workers, unions will need to rethink the needs that they serve. Will unions set up mutual income assurance plans for financial security? Refer workers to new work? Provide continuity of health care? Offer ways to develop expertise and establish reputations? Provide a sense of community and identity with which to overcome the loneliness of workers connected only by data lines? Dr. Malone suggested that unions like the Screen Actors Guild already play many of these roles.
At its next meeting, the Committee will continue its discussion, seeking a consensus about appropriate policy, legislation, bargaining, and organizing goals and tactics.
VITAL WORK FORCE STATISTICS – New Fact Sheet Highlights Changes in the World of Work. Once a predominantly male, blue collar preserve, the American labor force is now mostly white collar and is comprised almost equally of men and women. Between 1900 and 2003, the percentage of the labor force that is white collar grew from less than 18% to 60.5%, and while manual workers accounted for 41% of the work force in 1950, their proportion had shrunk to less than 23% of the work force by 2003. Meanwhile, women increased from 18% of the labor force in 1900 to 47% (or 65 million) in 2003, a percentage that is expected to increase. Reflecting these changes, the labor movement is now 50.5% white collar (There are more union members among professionals than any other occupational group) and increasingly female (Women accounted for 44% of all union members in 2003). A new fact sheet from DPE examines the changing world of work, the growth in professional and related unions, the growth of the service sector, and the status of white collar women.
To obtain copies of DPE fact sheets, visit the website, www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/factsheets/htm, or email Marcie Lawrence, email@example.com; to comment or obtain information about ongoing research, contact Pamela Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org
“SUPPORT LABOR UNIONS”: A BOOK FOCUSED ON WAYS TO IMPROVE WOMEN’S LIVES—At the invitation of the National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO), DPE contributed an essay for a book, 50 Ways to Improve Women’s Lives, which will be published in March (Women’s History Month). The essay, “Support Labor Unions” points to the benefits of union membership for professional and other women, including better wages, health, pension and other benefits; more respect on the job; a counterbalance to the power of employers; a voice in improving the quality of the specialized services they provide and the products they produce, and more flexibility to fulfill work and family responsibilities. The essay includes a call to action.
The book includes sections on health, protecting your family, putting your money where your mind is, leading the way, forging the path for the next generation, and building the world you want to live in.
Written by Pamela Wilson, DPE’s contribution will be featured in book promotion events in DC and elsewhere. For further information about the book or related events, contact Pamela, email@example.com
DPE IN THE NEWS—Executive DirectorMike Gildea was quoted on the recent congressional action on H-1B visas in the Gannett News Service including the Indianapolis Star and on Lou Dobbs’ MoneyLine on CNN.
TSUNAMI RELIEF EFFORTS CONTINUE—Unions and union members have joined millions of other Americans to help raise record amounts of donations to help the victims of the last month’s deadly tsunami that claimed more than 150,000 lives in Indonesia, Sri
Lanka, India, Thailand and other Indian Ocean nations. Donations to the AFL-CIO American Center for International Labor Solidarity’s (Solidarity Center) Tsunami Relief Fund will go directly to union partners in those nations for medium- and long-term reconstruction and development. To contribute, make out a check marked Tsunami Relief, payable to Solidarity Center Education Fund, and send it to Tsunami Relief Fund, Solidarity Center, 1925 K St., N.W., Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006-1105.
For more information, visit http://www.solidaritycenter.org . For a list of relief agencies, visit the U.S. Agency for International Development website at http://www.usaid.gov.