Nineteen professional societies and labor organizations launched a national campaign today to protect the white-collar work force against political interference. The coalition, called Professionals for the Public Interest, held a press conference this morning to unveil a Web site and promote an essay contest intended to highlight egregious examples of such interference—and how they were thwarted.
The group was formed 2 years ago amid concerns that the Bush Administration was compromising professional job standards and distorting the results of research carried out by employees or outside advisory panels. The group also hopes to protect those who try to blow the whistle on illegal or unethical behavior within the federal government, including science agencies such as NSF and NIH. "The ability to do the job right matters to professionals—and to everyone they serve," says Paul Almeida, president of the Department for Professional Employees within the AFL-CIO. The 19 organizations include the American Chemical Society, IEEE-USA, and AAAS (which publishes ScienceInsider).