The purpose of this newsletter is to inform you of recent activities by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) as well as emerging issues affecting the professional and technical workforce. NewsLine is published every month. Issues of NewsLine are accessible on the DPE web page, www.dpeaflcio.org. Feedback is welcome; send it to email@example.com.
In This Issue:
- Professional Integrity: Hold May 20
- Arts and the States: DPE Connects
- DPE Collaboration With American Library Association-Allied Professional Association Brings Special Recognition
- Pension Funds Face Economy In Crisis
- DPE Rallies For Employee Free Choice
- Updated Fact Sheet On Scientists And Engineers
- Planning For American Public Health Association
- American Library Association-Allied Professional Association: Programs Under Construction
- Updated ALA-APA Better Salaries/Pay Equity Bibliography
- Lexi Notabartolo Joins DPE
- DPE In The News
- DPE Signs On
PROFESSIONAL INTEGRITY: HOLD MAY 20 – Coming May 20 at the National Press Club: a public launch of Professionals for the Public Interest: Associations and Unions Defending Professional Integrity (PftPI).
On February 26, DPE hosted the latest meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) for PftPI. Outreach by DPE over two years has brought together 19 organizations – eight professionals associations, 10 national unions, and DPE. All endorsed a consensus statement, Defining Common Ground on Professional Integrity. Taking into account the interests of the public, doing the job right, and fending off external pressures to do otherwise, resonate across disciplines and organizations.
The JWG began translating priorities from the participating organizations for federal action relating to professional integrity into a common program. It also agreed to launch a common website, which will provide a focal point for the public launch.
For more information about Professionals for the Public Interest or the Joint Working Group, please contact DPE President Paul E. Almeida, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320, or Executive Director David Cohen, email@example.com, 202-638-0320 extension 113.
ARTS AND THE STATES: DPE CONNECTS – On February 17, DPE met the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA).
DPE hosts the Arts, Entertainment, and Media Industry, Industry Coordinating Committee, and DPE President Paul E. Almeida regularly chairs its meetings. NASAA represents arts agencies from 56 states and other U.S. jurisdictions. Its mission is to strengthen them. See www.nasaa-arts.org.
Representing DPE at the meeting were President Paul E. Almeida, Executive Director David Cohen, and since retired Assistant to the President Pamela Wilson. NASAA participants included Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Katz, Chief Program and Planning Officer Kelly J. Barsdate, Legislative Counsel Thomas L. Birch, and Chief Advancement Officer Laura S. Smith.
Among the common concerns that emerged were enhancing the public perception about the importance of the arts; the role of the National Endowment for the Arts; federal funding; the impact of the economic crisis; data about artists and the economy; and federal communications policies.
DPE COLLABORATION WITH AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION-ALLIED PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION BRINGS SPECIAL RECOGNITION – Newly retired Assistant to the President Pamela Wilson and ALA colleagues Jonathan Harwell and Patricia Anderson are slated to receive a special certificate from the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) recognizing their advocacy for all library workers. The honor will be presented at the July ALA meeting in Chicago.
Wilson, Harwell, and Anderson drafted a living wage resolution for all library workers that the ALA-APA Council adopted in June 2008. The resolution called for a minimum salary of not less than $41,680 for all professional librarians and $13 an hour for all library staff, both to be adjusted annually.
A February 24 ALA-APA press release declared: “As members of the ALA-APA Standing Committee on the Salaries and Status of Library Workers, Anderson, Harwell and Wilson shed light on the fact that ‘library service can no longer be given away too cheaply…at the expense of paying one’s rent or putting food on the table.’ They established a floor to which all prospective library employees can point and to which all organizations can compare their sense of what is fair to pay a library worker. These three individuals are to be honored with a special certificate for showing the way through bold writing and bold action.”
PENSION FUNDS FACE ECONOMY IN CRISIS – On February 24, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard L. Trumka chaired the AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurers’ Meeting. Its focus: the impact of the economic crisis on pension plans. Given the urgency of the topic for unions affiliated with DPE (see “Pension Relief Becomes Law” in the February 2009 DPE NewsLine), DPE Executive Director David Cohen attended.
Plan consultant Jack Marco underscored that the steep drop in economic activity left “no place to hide.” Unemployment is at 7.8 percent and could be 8.5 percent by the end of the year. Fear governs. Pension plans have assets they cannot liquidate, except at fire sale prices. To pay benefits, they are trying to sell real estate, only because its value has not dropped as drastically as stocks and bonds (other than U.S. Treasuries, which provide yields at historic lows). The demand for cash from real estate portfolios has exceeded their cash flow and led to selling properties, driving prices down even more.
Segal Company President and CEO Joseph LoCicero echoed the themes. In little more than a year, stocks fell by some 50 percent. To return to their starting point will require a return of 100 percent. Segal Senior VP and Actuary Phillip A. Romello cited a Segal survey of some 340 multiemployer plans. At the start of 2008, some 80 percent were in the “green zone,” on target for adequate funding with which to pay their promised benefits. That picture has changed.
AFL-CIO legislative representative Gail Dratch noted that many companies are calling on Congress for pension relief but none are seeking worker protections. The AFL-CIO and the National Coordinating Committee on Multiemployer Plans are working to fill the gap, to maintain benefits, and to avoid having employers freeze their plans.
DPE RALLIES FOR EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE – On February 4, DPE joined a Capitol Hill rally with thousands of other unionists to urge that Congress pass the Employee Free Choice Act. DPE President Paul E. Almeida, Executive Director David Cohen, and since retired Assistant to the President Pamela Wilson continued the DPE efforts pushing to enact the bill as U.S. law.
For more about the DPE work in support of the Employee Free Choice Act, see “Employee Free Choice Act” in the February 2009 DPE NewsLine,
UPDATED FACT SHEET ON SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS – Newly issued: an update of the DPE Fact Sheet on Scientists and Engineers: Vital Statistics.
Scientists and engineers accounted for 26.4% of the professional labor force in 2008. Last year, 3,488,000 professional workers were employed in computer and mathematical occupations, while 2,746,000 were employed in engineering occupations and 1,209,000 in life and physical science occupations.
Meanwhile, the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projections show that due to the increasing exodus of highly skilled jobs overseas, the vast majority of occupations expected to experience the largest job growth are low-wage service occupations. This is in sharp contrast to the 2000-2010 projections, which anticipated an information technology (IT) boom.
The fact sheet includes information on recent growth and declines; occupational employment projections that reflect the offshoring of high tech and IT jobs; H-1B guest workers visas and IT workers; median weekly earnings; educational requirements and declining numbers of IT students; women’s situation; blacks and Hispanics in science and engineering; and union membership.
The fact sheet is available at https://www.dpeaflcio.org/programs/factsheets.htm, or contact Marcie Lawrence at DPE, firstname.lastname@example.org. To comment on the fact sheet or to obtain information about ongoing research, contact Lexi Notabartolo, DPE Researcher and Representative, email@example.com, 202-638-0320 extension 119.
PLANNING FOR AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION – DPE is collaborating in planning for the Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA), scheduled for November 7-11 in Philadelphia. The meeting is likely to attract more than 12,000 public health professionals.
Pamela Wilson, who retired as Assistant to the President at the end of February, began the planning and will continue to represent DPE. Working with her will be new DPE Researcher and Representative Lexi Notabartolo. (See “Lexi Notabartolo Joins DPE” below.)
Several Labor Caucus sessions are under construction, including a session on health information technology (HIT) featuring two health care practitioners, a nurse and a doctor, to discuss their experiences and two people to discuss HIT expenditures and the role of unions and workers in purchase and implementation decisions.
Another session being planned is “The Union Effect on the Social Determinants of Health.” This session will examine why the freedom to form unions is a public health issue, including the many economic and social problems – societal determinants of population health and health inequities – that arise due to a lack of strong unions. The session will explore the relationship between unions and socioeconomic status; the ability of workers to make use of public health related labor protections such as the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA); and the importance of having a voice at work.
A session jointly developed and sponsored by the Labor Caucus and the Peace Caucus, “The Peace Economy,” will feature presentations by Roxanne Brown, USW and Bob Baugh, AFL-CIO, as well as representatives from Physicians for Social Responsibility and US Labor Against the War.
At the Annual Meeting of 2008, the Labor Caucus joined with the Peace Caucus and the APHA Technology and Film Section for “Technology in Public Health: Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan,” featuring a specially developed 65-minute DVD. The DVD included public health-related excerpts from veterans’ testimony during a four-day event on the human consequences of U.S. policy in Iraq and Afghanistan held at the National Labor College in February 2008. The Labor and Peace Caucuses were invited to show this DVD as part of the APHA FilmFest at the 2009 Annual Meeting. The DVD is on the short list for a DC Labor FilmFest screening, as well as under consideration by the Reel Work May Day Labor Film Festival in Santa Cruz.
Production of the DVD was supported in part by remaining funds raised by APHA and the Labor and Peace Caucuses for the exhibit Unembedded: Four Independent Photojournalists on the War in Iraq and the opening reception at the AFL-CIO during the 2007 APHA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC; see here.
For further information, contact DPE Researcher and Representative Lexi Notabartolo, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 extension 119.
AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION-ALLIED PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION: PROGRAMS UNDER CONSTRUCTION – The Annual Conference of the American Library Association (ALA) will be held in Chicago from July 9-13. The conference is expected to attract more than 20,000 library workers. 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. Newly retired DPE Assistant to the President Pamela Wilson also chairs the AFL-CIO Committee on Library Services to Labor Groups.
DPE has been involved in planning several programs for July:
- “The Union Difference”: This Joint Program with the Library Support Staff Interest Round Table (LSSIRT) will include a focus on the Employee Free Choice Act, a discussion of the findings of the ALA-APA Annual Salary Survey, and a discussion of “before” and “after” the union, from library workers in different settings. Speakers include Carol Thomas and Nina Manning, the president and secretary-treasurer of AFSCME Local 1930, New York Public Library Guild; William Thompson, Western Illinois University, and Lydia Morrow-Reutten, Governors State University, both members of Local 4100, Illinois Federation of Teachers, AFT. Pamela Wilson will serve as moderator and will address the findings of the salary survey presented in the joint ALA-APA-DPE publication, The Union Difference for Library Workers.
Other ALA-APA sessions include:
- Medicare for All, with Quentin Young, MD, National Coordinator, Physicians for a National Health Program;
- Love the Work, Hate the Job, with David Kusnet, developed and co-sponsored by the AFL-CIO-ALA Joint Committee on Library Services to Labor Groups; and
- “Toot Your Horn: Image Building,” with Donna Cardillo, RN (www.dcardillo.com), a nursing 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.
UPDATED ALA-APA BETTER SALARIES/PAY EQUITY BIBLIOGRAPHY — Former DPE Assistant to the President Pamela Wilson and DPE intern Kelly Gaberlavage have collaborated with American Library Association members to update the ALA-APA Better Salaries/Pay Equity Bibliography. The bibliography will be posted to the ALA-APA website in the near future, www.ala-apa.org, with a link on the DPE website.
The emphasis for items in the bibliography is on practical rather than theoretical materials and on more recent information. The bibliography includes these sections:
- Pay Equity
- Library Related Sources
- Library Pay Equity Case Studies
- Library Issues Related to Pay Equity
- Faculty Status
- Library Roles
- Worker Competencies
- Salary Data/Surveys/Statistics
- Other Professions
- Other Factors Affecting Pay Equity in the Library Profession
- General Salary Negotiating
- Library Salary Negotiating
- Pay Equity Legislation
- Comparable Worth
- Economic, Cost of Living, Living Wage Issues
- Websites Addressing Pay Equity and Pay Equity Issues
For information about ALA, visit the website, www.ala.org; for information about ALA-APA, see www.ala-apa.org, or contact ALA-APA Director Jenifer Grady, email@example.com. To learn more about DPE’s work with the Library Association, contact DPE Researcher and Representative Lexi Notabartolo, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 extension 119.
LEXI NOTABARTOLO JOINS DPE – On Monday, February 23, Alexis Spencer Notabartolo – Lexi – joined the staff of DPE as Researcher and Representative.
In a memo to the DPE General Board, DPE President Paul E. Almeida noted that Lexi “brings an extraordinary background”: “Even in a field of outstanding candidates, her qualities shone through.”
Most recently a field organizer in the Florida Campaign for Change, which contributed to the Obama-Biden victory on November 4, Lexi (right) was a U.S. Fulbright Student Research Fellow in the Republic of Georgia and served as an international election observer working with the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center.
In Brussels, Lexi interned in the political section of the U.S. Mission to NATO. As Pitzer College in Claremont, California, from which she graduated with honors in Political Studies, she was a student representative, with full voting rights, on an eight-member committee that decided on faculty appointments, promotions, and tenure.
DPE IN THE NEWS – A March 3 AlterNet story quoted DPE President Paul E. Almeida about the Sanders-Grassley amendment barring banks from using federal money to hire foreign workers on H1-B visas. See “Bailed-Out Banks Looking for Low-Wage Migrant Workforce.”
DPE SIGNS ON – In a letter of January 12, 2009, DPE President Paul E. Almeida recommended Michael C. Dorf for Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.
In an email of February 5, 2009 to the office of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, DPE President Paul E. Almeida supported the Sanders-Grassley Employ American Workers in Banks amendment.