VLERA Webinar with presenter Michael Wasser: The Growth of Union Professionals

The School of Labor and Employment Relation's Virtual Chapter of LERA will be holding its first meeting/presentation for the spring semester. Presenter Michael Wasser is a former IUG student, a part-time online instructor, and Assistant to the President and Legislative Director for the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE).

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Virtual Chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association (VLERA) will host their first spring semester webinar, "The Growth of Union Professionals," on Wednesday, February 19 at 8 p.m. EST. Presenter Michael Wasser is a former IUG student, a part-time online instructor, and Assistant to the President and Legislative Director for the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE). LERA provides a unique forum for professionals interested in labor and employment relations to obtain insights on recent developments, issues, and practices within the field. 

This is a free Zoom webinar. Registration is required and can be completed here: https://psu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_L_5VQCIaRveouWk9uY289Q

Program:

Professionals represent a growing share of the American labor movement. Today, union professionals account for roughly 42 percent of all union members, a nearly 20 percent increase from four decades prior. Fueling this increase in union membership among professionals are writers and digital content creators, engineers and scientists, graduate employees and adjunct faculty members, nurses and doctors, yoga instructors and other professionals – all of whom are joining together in unions to negotiate collectively with their employers.

The Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) has worked to cultivate and support the increased organizing of professionals over these past forty years. DPE, a coalition of 24 national unions representing more than 4 million professional, technical, and highly skilled workers, is one of the AFL-CIO’s seven trade departments. It is the only trade department dedicated solely to union professionals.

This webinar will provide participants with a profile of the current union professional workforce and discuss the multiyear growth of union professionals. Participants will also learn about DPE and its role in the American labor movement.   

The webinar will conclude by looking at how current employment relations dynamics may affect professionals and their decision to join together in union.

SHRM/HRCI Recertification Credits and CEUs:

1.5 credits Pending Approval

Agenda:

1. About the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO

  • What is a trade department?
  • Who is a part of DPE?
  • What does DPE do?

2. Overview of the growth of union professionals

  • Recent trends
  • Case studies of certain DPE affiliate unions

3. Why are professionals joining together in union?: Highlights from DPE’s 2016 survey of nonunion professionals

4. Current employment relations dynamics and the impact on professionals

About the Presenter: 

Michael Wasser serves as Assistant to the President and Legislative Director for the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE), a coalition of 24 national unions representing over 4 million professional, technical, and other highly skilled workers. Michael joined DPE in August 2016. At DPE, Michael is responsible for conducting outreach to labor and non-labor organizations, representing DPE before Congress on issues important to professional and technical workers, and working with affiliate unions to identify and advance issues important to professional and technical workers.

Prior to joining DPE, Michael worked for six years at Jobs With Justice (and, previous to its merger, American Rights at Work), serving most recently as senior policy analyst. Michael produced original research and led the organization’s federal policy strategy, monitoring developments related to the workplace and serving as the primary liaison to congressional offices and federal agencies.

Michael has been quoted in or written for a number of media outlets, including The Washington Post, The Hill, Huffington Post, and NPR. He also has been published in the Nevada Law Journal.

Michael is a graduate of the Schreyer Honors College at the Pennsylvania State University, with a bachelor’s degree in labor studies and employment relations and a master’s degree in human resources and employment relations. Michael is also an adjunct professor of labor and employment relations at Penn State.

February 10, 2020