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 is published every month. Issues of NewsLineare accessible on the DPE web page, www.dpeaflcio.org. Feedback welcome; send to email@example.com.
In This Issue:
- Unprecedented And Potentially Historic
- DPE General Board Marks Milestones
- New Fact Sheets Highlight The Union Advantage For Women
- American Library Association Convenes, DPE Contributes
- Recognizing Good Work
- Speaking Of Work
- “Love The Work, Hate The Job”
- DPE Signs On
UNPRECEDENTED AND POTENTIALLY HISTORIC – On June 5, 2008, more than 40 elected and staff leaders representing 19 national and global organizations – eight professional associations, 10 national unions, and the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) – came together in a private, unprecedented and potentially historic working meeting.
Hosted by DPE at the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Washington, DC, the meeting emerged from eight months of work by a Professional Associations and Unions Joint Planning Committee (JPC). ACS 2004 President Charles P. Casey (at left) welcomed the group. DPE President Paul E. Almeida set the scene on behalf of the JPC. AFT President and DPE Chair Edward J. McElroy (at right) introduced the keynote speaker, E.J. Dionne, who reflected on the power that derives from establishing professional standards, which themselves contribute to thepower to do a job right. A focal point was a consensus document that the JPC developed, “Defining Common Ground on Professional Integrity,” which set out elements defining professional integrity and identified external pressures threatening it.
At the meeting, the leaders agreed that the JPC should continue as a working group. They invited input about and endorsements of the consensus statement. They also commissioned the JPC to investigate developing a coalition around defending professionalism and professional integrity against external pressures as well as investigating other possibilities for collaboration.
Since July 2006, representatives from unions affiliated with DPE – including AEA, AFM, AFSCME, AFT, AFTRA, IAM, IBEW, IFPTE, IUPAT, SAG, UAN, and USW – have met in the DPE Work Group on Professional Associations to investigate how unions could learn from, and work with, professional associations. The Work Group asked DPE to undertake the outreach that led to forming the JPC and to the June 5 meeting.
For more information about the project, please contact DPE President Paul E. Almeida, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 extension 14, or DPE Executive Director David Cohen, email@example.com, 202-638-0320 extension 13.
DPE GENERAL BOARD MARKS MILESTONES – On June 11, 2008, the DPE General Board marked personal and institutional milestones. At its annual meeting, representatives from 17 of the 24 national unions affiliated with DPE:
● Unanimously elected AFM President Thomas Lee as Chair of the DPE Board and AFT Executive Vice President Antonia Cortese as DPE Treasurer;
● Acknowledged the announced retirement of AFT President Edward J. McElroy as DPE Chair, with a special thanks from DPE President Paul E. Almeida for President McElroy’s guidance, aid, and service;
● Also acknowledged the retirements of TNG-CWA President Linda Foley, who served as DPE Treasurer; AFT Secretary-Treasurer Nat LaCour, IATSE President Tom Short, and Mona Mangan, WGA,East Executive Director; and
● Completed the strategic planning that the General Board began at its June 2006 meeting and adopted two amendments to the DPE Constitution.
DPE President Paul E. Almeida reviewed for the General Board a very full and constructive year. He thanked RWDSU for its re-affiliation, UWUA for its affiliation, and AFGE, FPA, and IATSE for increasing their support. UWUA National President D. Michael Langford noted that the increasing organizing by UWUA among engineers and other professional and technical workers made its affiliation a good fit. RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum observed that with pharmacists, librarians, and retail professionals among the workers whom RWDSU represents, the RWDSU board voted unanimously and enthusiastically for re-affiliation.
With contributions from DPE Executive Director David Cohen and Assistant to the President Pamela Wilson, President Almeida also briefed the Board about the work of DPE reaching out to professional associations; convening the Arts, Entertainment and Media Industry, Industry Coordinating Committee; developing public policy and legislation, including a work group on independent contractors; providing research and publications; delivering speeches, presentations, and workshops; and maintaining international union ties. To see the President’s Report, click on https://www.dpeaflcio.org/pdf/President’sReport6-26-08draftforDPEwebsite.pdf.
NEW FACT SHEETS HIGHLIGHT THE UNION ADVANTAGE FOR WOMEN –
● Library Workers: Facts & Figures – The benefits of union membership in the predominantly female, underpaid library world are clear: In 2007, the union earnings advantage for librarians was 52%, while the union earnings advantage for library assistants was 34%. In 2007, almost 27% of librarians were union members; close to 30% were represented by unions.
A revised and updated DPE fact sheet, Library Workers: Facts and Figures, paints a statistical portrait of library workers, including their current and projected employment; gender, racial and ethnic composition; age; pay, including median wages, and comparison with other occupations with similar qualifications, experience and responsibility; the wage gap for library workers; regional and institutional variances in wages; benefits; union density, and the union difference. This fact sheet will also be distributed by the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA), www.ala-apa.org. Find it at https://www.dpeaflcio.org/programs/factsheets.htm.
● Professional Women: Vital Statistics – DPE’s revised and updated fact sheet, Salaried and Professional Women: Relevant Statistics, provides information about the superior academic achievement of American women, the occupational distribution of men and women, the pervasive persistence of the wage gap, the changing American family, and the financial value of union membership for professional and other women.
Women have been earning more bachelor’s degrees than men since 1982 and more master’s degrees since 1981. Women are projected to earn 52% of all first professional degrees conferred in 2008, up from 2.6% in 1961. Women are expected to earn almost 49% of all doctorates conferred in 2008. Taken together, women are expected to earn 59% of all postsecondary degrees conferred in 2008.
Despite this, the wage gap between the sexes still plagues the American workforce. In 2007, median weekly earnings for women in the U.S. were 80.2% of those for men. For most women of color, the earnings gap was even larger. African American women earned just 70 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2007; Hispanic and Latina women earned just 62 cents for every dollar men earned. Only Asian American women’s earnings were closer to parity with men’s: In 2007, Asian American women earned 95% of earnings for all men. However, these women earned only 78% as much as Asian American men.
The wage gap is a problem in every occupational category, even in occupations where women considerably outnumber men. This fact sheet demonstrates that union membership has great financial value for women, especially in the predominantly female and consequently lower-paid occupations: Union preschool and kindergarten teachers earned a massive 130.5% more than their non-union counterparts, while for elementary and middle school teachers, the union wage advantage was 59.4%. Union social workers and counselors earned 39.5 and 42.2% more, respectively. For registered nurses, the difference was 15.6%.
To comment on the fact sheets or to obtain information about ongoing research, contact Pamela Wilson, 202-638-6684 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION CONVENES, DPE CONTRIBUTES – The American Library Association’s Annual Conference brought more than 22,000 participants to Anaheim, California from June 26—July 2, 2008. The contributions of DPE brought a heartening enthusiasm. DPE works directly with both ALA and its companion organization, the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA), which focuses on two areas: certification, and salaries and status.
Since 2005, DPE has co-chaired the AFL-CIO-ALA Joint Committee on Library Services to Labor Groups. Labor members of the committee include Jessica Storrs, AFSCME; Kathleen DeLa Pena McCook, AFT; and Jannie Cobb, National Labor College (NLC). Each year, the Committee develops and organizes a program for the annual conference. In recent years, these programs have been Library Journal “picks” for the conference.
The program this year, “Dude, Where Is My Retirement?” featured Thomas Mackell, J.D., PhD.,Chairman, Board of Directors, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and President, Association of Benefit Administrators, author of When the Good Pensions Go Away: Why America Needs a New Deal for Pension and Health Care Reform, published in April 2008 by Wiley Press and Steven Wallace, Ph.D., Professor, UCLA School of Public Health, Department of Community Health Sciences and UCLA Center for Health Policy. View Dr. Wallace’s PowerPoint presentation at http://www.bol.ucla.edu/~swallace/ALA6-08.ppt.
ALA-AFL-CIO Joint Committee co-chairs Mary Parker, Associate Director, MINITEX Library Information Network at the University of Minnesota’s Andersen Library, and DPE Assistant to the President Pamela Wilson chaired the program. DPE, AFL-CIO and other materials were distributed; Dr. Mackell’s book was available for purchase. Information about this program will be posted to the DPE website, www.dpeaflcio.org/programs/DPE_and_Professional_Associations/index.htm.
Not only was the Joint Committee program a Library Journal pick, it was covered by Cognotes, the daily newspaper of the ALA Annual Conference, with a highlights issue mailed to all ALA members after the Conference. The article, “Vital Issues for All Americans: the Challenges of Preserving Social Security and Access to Adequate Health Care” begins on page 14; see http://www.ala.org/ala/eventsandconferencesb/annual/2008a/tuesdayjuly1part2.pdf.
During the ALA conference, the Joint Committee met to plan its program and activities for the June 2009 Annual Conference program in Chicago. The Committee is investigating several possibilities, including a focus on professionals and the workplace and universal health care. Two Committee publications are in progress: Labor Films: An Annotated Bibliography, developed by Jannie Cobb, librarian and faculty member, NLC; and Retirement: A Resource Guide, developed by Laura Leavitt, Human Resources and Labor Librarian, Michigan State University. Jessica Storrs, Research Librarian, AFSCME and Ben Blake, Labor Archivist, San Francisco State University are taking the lead in developing a new publication examining union contracts for library workers, highlighting valuable language. These publications will be published and distributed by ALA and DPE, as well as posted to the Committee’s wiki, developed and maintained by Committee member Laura Leavitt.
The Committee’s booth in the Exposition Hall featured labor materials, including DPE fact sheets, bibliographies, brochures, resource guides, AFL-CIO materials, and AFSCME bookmarks.
The ALA’s John Sessions Award, named in honor of a former AFL-CIO Education Director and co-chair of the AFL-CIO-ALA Joint Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups was given to the Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University for No Greater Calling: The Life of Walter P. Reuther, an online resource that provides a wealth of information. The plaque, supported by a donation from DPE, is given to recognize a library or library system that has made a significant effort to work with the labor community and by doing so has brought recognition to the history and contribution of the labor movement to the development of the United States. Library Director Mike Smith accepted the award for the library. Pamela Wilson represented DPE and the Committee.
In addition to its work with the Joint Committee, DPE works closely with ALA-APA. Among the highlights of ALA-APA at the Annual Conference were:
● Adoption of a Resolution Endorsing a Living Wage for All Library Workers and a Minimum Wage for Professional Librarians – Pamela worked with ALA member Patricia Anderson, Library Director, Montville Township Public Library, and other members of the ALA-APA Standing Committee on the Salaries and Status of Library Workers, as well as AFL-CIO economist Christine Silvia-DeGennaro to develop this resolution, which was adopted by ALA-APA on June 30. A resolution in support of the Employee Free Choice Act was developed in a similar way and adopted in 2006. The ALA-APA Standing Committee now plans to focus its attention on the development and adoption of a resolution to address the need for overtime pay protection.
● “Managers Who Have the ‘Union Advantage,’” featuring Tom Galante, Director, Queens Borough Public Library; Susan Veltfort, President, Local 1857, WSCCCE, AFSCME, King County Library System (WA); and John Buschman, Associate University Librarian, Georgetown University Library (DC). Developed and co-chaired by Eileen Muller, President, Brooklyn Library Guild, Local 1482, AFSCME and Pamela Wilson, this standing-room-only session was attended by more than 100 people. DPE and other materials were distributed.
● “Lobbying for Operational Expenses” featured excellent advice from Emily Sheketoff, Executive Director, ALA Washington Office.
● “Toot Your Horn: Improving Your Image,” featuring Donna Cardillo, RN (www.dcardillo.com), a nurse, career development “guru”, professional keynote speaker, author, consultant, and coach who knows that librarians, like nurses, don’t get the status and credibility they deserve. Her workshop focused on how to change that.
● “Dude, Where Is My Retirement?” co-sponsored with the AFL-CIO-ALA Joint Committee on Library Services to Labor Groups.
● SirsiDynix – ALA-APA Better Salaries Breakfast – Roy Stone, President, Librarians Guild, AFSCME Local 2626, Los Angeles Public Library was among the speakers. His talk will be posted to the DPE website.
● Angels Awards Reception – The ALA-APA celebrated its 5th anniversary by honoring the people and organizations that have helped it grow and flourish. DPE and AFSCME were among the organizations; among the individuals were local presidents and representatives of AFSCME and AFT.
Plans for 2009 include a program based ona new, joint ALA-APA – DPE publication, the Union Difference for Library Workers, whichuses the data from the 2007 edition of the ALA-APA Salary Survey. For the first time, this important survey included questions about union membership, making possible a detailed analysis of the pay differential for union library workers in different positions and in different types of libraries throughout the nation. The draft publication was distributed at ALA and very well received. It will be posted to both the ALA-APA and DPE websites in July. An article summarizing the findings is being written for Library Worklife: HR E-News for Today’s Leaders, an ALA-APA publication.
Library workers are represented by DPE affiliates including AFGE, AFSCME, AFT, IFPTE, OPEIU, and USW. For information about ALA and the Annual Meeting, see www.ala.org. For information about the meetings of the Joint Committee or the ALA-APA Committee on the Salaries and Status of Library Workers, or to learn more about DPE’s involvement, contact Pamela Wilson by phone, 202-638-6684 or email, email@example.com. Find the DPE fact sheet on Library Workers at www.dpeaflcio.org/factsheets.htm.
RECOGNIZING GOOD WORK – Kael Alford was named a fellow at Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism for the coming academic year, the only photojournalist among the honorees. Her photographs were displayed at the AFL-CIO in the photographic exhibit, “Unembedded: Four Independent Photojournalists on the War in Iraq” from November 4-9, 2007, during the Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association. Kael was the keynote speaker at the opening reception. The exhibit resulted from an unprecedented collaboration between APHA and its Peace and Labor Caucuses. The Labor Caucus is chaired by DPE. See www.dpeaflcio.org/programs/lunch_and_learn.htm.
Michael Honey, author of Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign, was awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Award for Books. His book emphasized that Dr. King traveled to Memphis to support AFSCME sanitation workers. Dr. Honey said, “This award gives recognition to King’s labor politics and to the great significance of the Memphis sanitation strike. Robert Kennedy was the one who urged King to bring the poor to Washington, leading to King’s Poor People’s Campaign. King’s struggle to support union rights for the working poor became his last, crucial campaign. Forty years later, we owe it to these two great leaders, and to working people, to remember their struggle for economic justice.” One of America’s foremost labor and civil rights historians, Michael Honey gave a lunchtime presentation to a packed room at the AFL-CIO on March 31. DPE was among the groups publicizing, promoting and attending this event. DPE Assistant to the President Pamela Wilson attended the Kennedy awards ceremony. Buy Going Down Jericho Road from the AFL-CIO Union Shop, and see AFSCME’s website, http://www.afscme.org/about/1029.cfm, to learn more about this important time.
DPE Assistant to the President Pamela Wilson has been nominated for the first Sidel-Levy Award for Peace, one of eight awards given by the American Public Health Association (APHA). The award was endowed by two past presidents of APHA, Victor W. Sidel, MD and Barry S. Levy, MD, MPH, who have edited books, written papers, and spoken widely on war and public health. The nomination results from collaboration with the APHA Peace Caucus, including the Unembedded exhibit, programs at APHA, & DPE Lunch & Learn programs addressing the health consequences of the War in Iraq and at home.
SPEAKING OF WORK – On May 29, 2008, DPE Executive Director David Cohen spoke on the future of work to the 25thAnniversary Labor & Employment Law Institute at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky. To see the essay review on which he based his comments, click on https://www.dpeaflcio.org/pdf/DCohen,Shaping_the_Future_of_Work_(Perspectives_on_Work,_Winter_2008).pdf.
“LOVE THE WORK, HATE THE JOB” – A new book from David Kusnet spotlights a too often untold story that deserves widespread attention. In Love the Work, Hate the Job: Why America’s Best Workers Are Unhappier Than Ever, Kusnet, an Economic Policy Institute Visiting Fellow and former Clinton speechwriter, details cases that illustrate his all too apt title. Among the cases: the 2000 strike by Boeing engineers, organized as the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), in which DPE President Paul E. Almeida played a role as the then president of IFPTE. Syndicated columnist E.J. Dionne says, “Kusnet makes a case everyone needs to hear: America’s workers, including high-tech professionals, want to do their jobs right and they want to do them well, and what they need is more freedom in the workplace to achieve those ends.” Already on The New Republic list of recommended readings about labor, single copies are available through the publisher’s website; for bulk orders, contact Estelle Conklin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DPE SIGNS ON – In a letter of May 12, 2008, DPE President Paul E. Almeida urged every member of the Senate to support the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2007 (S. 2123); see https://www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/letters/24741.pdf.
DPE joined a May 13, 2008 letter to the House and Senate Committees on Veterans’ Affairs endorsing legislation to restore collective bargaining rights for health care employees at VA medical facilities (S. 2824 and H.R. 4089). Among the other union signers were DPE affiliates AFGE, AFSCME, AFT, IAM, IBEW, UAN, and USW. To see the letter, click on https://www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/letters/S%202824&HR%204089.pdf.
DPE joined the same affiliates and other unions in another May 13 letter, to the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. The letter supported amendments to a defense authorizations bill opposing privatization and maintaining collective bargaining rights; see https://www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/letters/Joint%20Letter%20to%20House%20Armed%20Services%20Chairman%20Skelton%205-13-08.pdf.
In a letter of May 15, DPE joined AFSCME, the AFL-CIO, and other members of the Consumer Partnership for e-Health in responding to the work by the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee on health information technology; see https://www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/letters/LeahyAmend_signonFINAL%205-15-08.pdf.
DPE also signed on to a May 15 letter from numerous organizations to the Senate Appropriations Committee that opposed an amendment expanding the H-2B temporary and seasonal visa program, through which immigrant workers face a high risk of abuses; click on https://www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/letters/H2B%20Sign-On%20Final.pdf.
In a May 19 letter, DPE allied with other unions urging Representatives to co-sponsor and vote for a resolution urging the use of economic stimulus checks to buy American; see https://www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/letters/HRes%20977_sign_on_5.15.08.pdf.
DPE joined a May 25 letter to House and Senate appropriators opposing privatization at the Corps of Engineers; click on https://www.dpeaflcio.org/policy/letters/Chairmen%20Visclosky%20&%20Dorgan.pdf.