The Department for Professional Employees (DPE) is a coalition of 22 national unions representing over four million highly skilled, white-collar employees. DPE unions include professionals in over three hundred separate and distinct occupations in many sectors including: health care and education; science, engineering and technology; journalism, entertainment and the arts; public administration and law enforcement. The DPE is the largest association of professional, technical and administrative support workers in the U.S.
The mission of DPE is to:
* Unite those AFL-CIO unions that represent professional workers and which have similar interests and goals;
* Create a forum for affiliated unions to discuss and cooperate on issues of mutual concern;
* Promote the unionization of professional, technical and administrative support workers and support the efforts of DPE affiliates to organize and represent them;
* Provide research, education, training, and other assistance to affiliated unions supporting their organizing, bargaining and servicing objectives;
* Advance a public policy agenda in federal and state government that enhances the economic security, well-being and status of professionals;
* Educate pre-professionals, the public and the media about the prominent role of union professionals within our nation and the labor movement;
* Build alliances with non-union associations and societies that also promote the interests of these workers;
* Enhance the profile and visibility of professionals within the labor movement;
* Advocate for this constituency within the decision-making councils of the AFL-CIO;
* Engage in other appropriate activities that further these goals and are consistent with AFL-CIO policies.
DPE is one of seven constitutional "trades" departments that are part of the AFL-CIO structure. It was chartered by the Federation in 1977 in recognition of the remarkable increase in professional and technical employees occurring at that time among union members. Since then, that growth has accelerated as America’s "the world of work" transitions even more dramatically from blue to white collar. Today, the community of professional workers within organized labor is now a near majority of the 9 million member AFL-CIO.
In this environment, as more professionals seek union representation, the work of the DPE will be essential to expanding the reach of DPE unions among professional and technical workers as well as to the vitality, diversification, and future of the American labor movement.