In This Issue:
- Top Enforcer Blows Whistle on Workers’ Protections
- American Library Association: Programs And Planning For Annual Meeting
- PftPI Builds on Forums, Looks to Future
- DPE Collaborates To Address Worker Training
- “Next Up” Young Workers Summit This Month
TOP ENFORCER BLOWS WHISTLE ON WORKERS’ PROTECTIONS – Rarely has a top enforcer so candidly criticized the laws and program that he oversees.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels (on left) oversees the Whistleblower Protection Program. On May 11, 2010, he assessed federal laws providing private-sector whistleblower protections as “patchwork.” He also described their enforcement as ineffective:
- “…there are a series of institutional, administrative and legislative barriers that stand between many whistleblowers and justice. These barriers, and our failure to protect legitimate whistleblowers creates an injustice for these workers, and it discourages other workers from asserting rights.
- “When two-thirds of whistleblower complaints are dismissed, it sends workers a clear message – a very unfortunate message: ‘The odds are against you.’
- “This must change, but change will not come easily or quickly.”
As his office undertakes a strategic review, Dr. Michaels invited a dialogue about changes that could strengthen protections for whistleblowers.
DPE President Paul E. Almeida (on the right in the photo above) joined Al Teich of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which hosted the event, in introducing Dr. Michaels’s presentation. President Almeida also moderated the exchange that followed. Photo by David Cohen, DPE.
“Whistleblowers and OSHA: Defending Professional Integrity” was the second Forum from Professionals for the Public Interest: Associations and Unions Defending Professional Integrity (PftPI). For the written text of the presentation by David Michaels, click here. For his biography, click here.
For an account of the first PftPI Forum, “Defending Patient Care: Dilemmas and Possibilities,” click here and scroll down to “1st Professionals Forum Draws Rave Reviews.”
PftPI brings together 19 national and global organizations around a common focus: defending professional integrity against external pressures in the interests of the public. PftPI addresses that focus with the members of these organizations, policymakers, and the public. The organizations include eight professional associations; 10 national unions; and the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE), which collectively represent millions of professionals in disciplines that include the sciences and engineering, health and health care; the arts, entertainment, and media; and human services.
For more information about the Forums, contact DPE Executive Director David Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 extension 113.
AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION: PROGRAMS AND PLANNING FOR ANNUAL MEETING – The work of DPE with the American Library Association (ALA) promises a slate of exciting programs. The 2010 ALA Annual Meeting and Exposition takes place on June 24-30, 2010 at the Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC.
Saturday, June 26th will see programs on two major areas of DPE attention. The first, “Professional Integrity and Library Workers: What’s the Connection?” will feature speakers from the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom, the Library of Congress, and IFPTE Local 75, the Congressional Research Employees Association. It will be moderated by Jenifer Grady of the ALA-Allied Professional Association, the session sponsor.
This panel will focus on the special importance to library workers of defending professional integrity from external pressure. Library workers often find themselves on the frontline of battles over everything from the individual right to privacy to fundamental issues of intellectual freedom. This panel will examine resources library workers can draw on to defend their professions, including union representation.
Later that day, union representation for library workers will be addressed directly in the ALA-APA session “Unions 101 for Libraries.” What is a union? How do you form a union? How are unions working to support and protect library workers today? This session will provide an opportunity for library workers to hear about the modern labor movement and successes on behalf of library workers. It will also provide a forum for questions attendees may have always had about organized labor but didn’t know where to ask. Speakers will include members and leaders of AFT and AFSCME.
Finally, as co-chair of the AFL-CIO-ALA Joint Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups, DPE Researcher and Representative Alexis Spencer Notabartolo has worked with other Joint Committee members to craft the session “Labor Rights are Human Rights,” to be held Monday, June 28th. This session will feature Dr. Bama Athreya, Executive Director of the International Labor Rights Forum and Carol Rosenblatt, Executive Director of the Coalition of Labor Union Women. They will discuss the challenges to labor rights globally and how labor rights are at the heart of the struggle for human rights.
The freedom to associate, to organize and to have equal opportunities in the workplace are under attack around the world. This program will discuss labor rights, including the role of unions in promoting democracy and economic prosperity, and the attack on workers’ rights as part of an international phenomenon. The importance of unions to the salaries and status of women will be a special focus.
All sessions will be held in the Washington Convention Center and are open only to ALA Annual Meeting attendees. For information about day passes, the ALA Annual Meeting, or the work of DPE with ALA, please contact Researcher and Representative Alexis Spencer Notabartolo at Anotabartolo@dpeaflcio.org, (202) 638-0320 extension 119.
PftPI BUILDS ON FORUMS, LOOKS TO FUTURE – Building on the momentum from two successful public Forums, the Joint Working Group (JWG) of Professionals for the Public Interest: Associations and Unions Defending Professional Integrity (PftPI) planned for its future.
In a meeting on May 27, 2010, the JWG debriefed from the April 15 Forum about “Defending Patient Care” and the May 11 Forum about “Whistleblowers and OSHA.” (See “Top Enforcer Blows Whistle on Workers’ Protections” above.) Next: a series of forums about free speech and censorship in multiple settings, including higher education; and separately, about scientific integrity.
To fund the Forums, the JWG approved a letter of inquiry to an interested foundation. It also heard from Michael B. Trister, Esquire, about creating an educational non-profit organization, a 501(c)(3), as a conduit for grants. As an interim step, representatives of three organizations in PftPI volunteered to investigate the ability and willingness of their organizations to administer grants on behalf of PftPI.
Work in preparation for the May 11 Forum included a May 3 conference call of the Communications Subgroup chaired by Gary Hubbard of the USW and a May 12 conference call of the Communications Subgroup led by Raymond Garant of the American Chemical Society. Preparation for the JWG meeting on May 27 included a May 18 meeting at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) of the Operations and Ground Rules Subgroup chaired by Joanne Carney of AAAS and a May 24 conference call of the Activities Subgroup chaired by Vin O’Neill of IEEE-USA.
For more information about Professionals for the Public Interest, please contact DPE President Paul E. Almeida, email@example.com, 202-638-0320 ext 112, or Executive Director David Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-638-0320 ext 113.
DPE COLLABORATES TO ADDRESS WORKER TRAINING – DPE has been working with the Albert Shanker Institute, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), and the AFL-CIO to bring together people who might be positioned to take worker training to a new level. An invitation-only conference will be held in Washington, DC on June 29 and 30, 2010.
Workers need access to a system that helps guide them through career adjustments before they are out of a job. The focus of the conference is a concept that has been used in the U.K. for years called Union Learning Reps (see www.unionlearn.org.uk) and efforts to model it in the U.S. AFT has already developed several pilot projects. For more information, contact DPE President Paul E. Almeida, email@example.com, 202-638-0320.
“NEXT UP” YOUNG WORKERS SUMMIT THIS MONTH – The “Next Up” Young Workers Summit of the AFL-CIO is quickly approaching! The summit website is now live. While registration for the June 10-13 event is full, interested parties can sign up for the in-person attendance waitlist and get information about taking part via a live web stream.
For more information, contact DPE Researcher and Representative Alexis Spencer Notabartolo at Anotabartolo@dpeaflcio.org, (202) 638-0320 extension 119.