Organized labor, most notably the AFL-CIO www.aflcio.org with its 56 member unions, including our own parent union, OPEIU www.opeiu.org represents the evolution of the American social justice movement, which began more than 100 years ago. The combined strength of the 11.2 million members of the AFL-CIO has given groups of professionals like us legislative and bargaining power vastly disproportionate to our numbers. The Guild was formed in June of 2000 and joined OPEIU and through them the AFL-CIO. Our participation occurred after a Supreme Court ruling upheld the right of medical professionals to organize for concerted political action through affiliation with entities like the AFL-CIO. That makes us “pound for pound” far and away the strongest legislative fighters in the acupuncture field and a formidable opponent of those who would undermine or usurp the advancement of our profession.
How we operate and cooperate
The Guild uses legislative and affiliation power to advance licensed acupuncturists in every state. We always seek to actively work with existing state and national associations of acupuncturists to defend and strengthen our profession, and we encourage our members to actively support these organizations.
Active communication and cooperation with other acupuncture associations gives the field strength through unity, where that unity is possible. Our code of conduct requires a pledge from all our members and leaders to treat everyone in our field with personal civility and respect, even while we may disagree on goals and strategies. We strive to make our conduct and our communications exemplary and courteous.
A brief word about your brothers and sisters of the Guild. The Guild openly accepts all licensed acupuncturists who seek membership, provided they embrace our code of conduct and keep their self-renewing membership dues current. The typical profile of our membership is of a licensed acupuncturist who is thoroughly committed to their profession and who is focused on becoming one of the top performers and income earners in their profession. They are building their practices and supporting their families well. This is not incompatible with the aspiration of those of our members who are involved in “community acupuncture” and are spreading licensed acupuncture services to as many patients as possible at the lowest possible fee. We commend them. We are a diverse professional association that respects diversity and supports many practice models. Acupuncturists should be able to practice as they prefer, e.g., herbs only, needling only, per the legal scope of practice as it is defined in their state.
Our typical member practices acupuncture as a full-time medical profession, cooperates with other medical providers, sees acupuncture as vital to the future of cost-effective, evidence-based medical practice and feels that their profession is the equal of any other medical profession. Many of our members see accepting insurance for major medical, worker’s compensation and auto and personal injury cases vital to the growth of their practices. Many of our members are committed to the additional business training and professional and personal development that are required to be the equal of anyone in the medical mainstream. The Guild helps to provide access to such training at discounted rates.
Guild members are secure in their commitment to a profession that has as much or more to offer the American public as any other form of medicine and are proud to represent their medicine. The Guild leaders, composed of full-time volunteer licensed acupuncturists, are devoted to helping our members succeed in fulfilling that commitment.