Thursday, June 28, 2007

Student Labor Action Project

Every summer, clothing companies like American Eagle spend millions of dollars advertising fall's must-have items, hoping we will run out and buy them for the first day of class.

But this summer, business as usual isn't going to fly for American Eagle Outfitters. Over the next few months, students across North America will show AE that students care about more than just fads and fashion.

Thousands will pledge to boycott American Eagle Outfitters back-to-school.

AE says it cares about workers — its own Code of Conduct requires contractors to respect the right of employees to form unions. Yet workers at the National Logistics Services warehouse contracted to ship AE clothing in Canada faced harassment and intimidation when they tried to improve conditions by forming a union with UNITE HERE. Instead of doing the responsible and moral thing – protecting workers' rights at NLS – American Eagle hasn't lifted a finger. We think this inaction violates AE's own Code of Conduct, which requires that contractors respect their employees' right to organize.

Students have worked hard to create accountability for workers' rights with both the overseas contractors where university apparel is sewn and with the contractors here at home that prepare our dining hall food and clean our classrooms. Taking the same fight to a retailer, especially one whose target customer is young, college-age people like us, is an extension of our efforts.

Don't Buy American Eagle until they protect workers' rights!

Be among the thousands of young people who have signed the pledge!

I pledge to not purchase American Eagle Outfitters merchandise until AEO enforces its Code of Conduct to ensure that distribution workers at National Logistics Services in Ontario have the right to join a union free from harassment and intimidation.

The Student Labor Action Project (SLAP) is a joint initiative of Jobs with Justice and the United States Student Association and is a network that engages student organizations in economic justice campaigns. Jobs With Justice (JwJ) coalitions around the country house local SLAPs that connect students from multiple campuses. SLAP supports the growing student movement for economic justice by making links between campus, community, and labor union organizing. So does AFSCME Local 965.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

GOP Blocks Vote on Employee Free Choice

The battle for the Employee Free Choice Act moves to the 2008 election after a handful of obstructionist senators have blocked a vote on the bill. On a vote of 51-48, the Senate voted for cloture, that is, shutting off debate. Sixty votes were needed to invoke cloture, end debate, and move to a vote on the bill. So even though a majority of the Senate voted for cloture, a small group of Republicans denied workers a free choice to join a union.

Senators Lincoln and Pryor both voted for cloture. Please contact them and thank them for their support.

U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln
Washington D.C. Office
355 Dirksen Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
202.228.1371 – Fax
Central Office
912 West Fourth Street
Little Rock, AR 72201

501.375.7064 - Fax

U.S. Senator Mark Pryor
Washington Office
217 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
202.228.0908 – Fax
Main District Office
The River Market
500 President Clinton Ave., Suite 401
Little Rock, AR 72201

501.324.5320 - Fax

Sunday, June 24, 2007

UA Faculty Salaries among Lowest in SEC

Faculty salaries at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, are among the lowest in the Southeastern Conference. Only Mississippi State University’s salaries are lower, according a national report by the American Association of University Professors.

UA Administration spokesmen blamed the legislature for not appropriating more money. They did not mention the inordinate amount of the University budget consumed by the ever-growing number of administrators with salaries higher than the teaching faculty, nor did they explain why professors in the Walton College of Business are paid $50,000 more per year than faculty in the Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences. Coaches make more than faculty in any college.

News coverage in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette also noted that male faculty members are paid more than female faculty members at all academic ranks.

Friday, June 15, 2007

AFSCME Wins Paid Leave to Participate in Your Children’s Educational Activities

One of the 2007 Legislative Priorities for AFSCME Local 965 was a bill providing paid leave for state employees’ children’s educational activity. We were successful, and now each year, all full-time benefits eligible employees will receive 8 hours of paid leave for the purpose of participating in their children’s educational activities. Unused leave is not subject to carry-over and is not compensable at retirement, so use it for the sake of your kids.

Children are defined as any person enrolled in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 (preK-12) and who is related to the state employee as: natural child, adopted child, stepchild, foster child, grandchild, legal guardian or any other legal capacity where the employee is acting as a parent.

Educational activity is defined as: parent-teacher conferences, participation in school-sponsored tutoring, school-sponsored volunteer programs, field trips, classroom programs, academic competitions, and assisting with athletic, music or theater programs. Please note that this does not include attendance at sports activities.

This leave goes into effect July 1st. For 2007 only, you will receive the full 8 hours to use between July 1st and December 31st. After January 1st, 2008 it will be 8 hours per calendar year. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Beth Arbuthnot of UA Human Resources at 5-6209 or If any supervisor trys to deny you paid leave for your children's educational activities, contact any officer or executive board member of AFSCME Local 965.

This Date in Arkansas Labor History

1936 Mr. Roy Morelock, Rev. Claude Williams, and Miss Willie Sue Blagden flogged by six men hired by planters near Earle for supporting Southern Tenant Farmers Union cotton pickers strike for $1.00 per hundred pounds.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Educated Workers Are Dangerous

Educated workers are dangerous. They have facts and solid arguments, and that makes it more difficult for the corporate managers and institutional administrators to peddle their bull unopposed in the media. So, keep reading. This week's New York Review of Books looks at three excellent additions to any union resource library. Read the reviews, read the books, and tell it like it is.

The Disposable American: Layoffs and Their Consequences, by Louis Uchitelle. Vintage, 287 pp., $14.95 (paper)

The Great American Jobs Scam, by Greg LeRoy. Berrett-Koehler, 290 pp., $24.95

The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism, by John C. Bogle. Yale University Press,260 pp., $16.00 (paper)

Friday, June 8, 2007

Restoring the Right to Organize

The Morning News provides coverage of today's informational picket at the Little Rock office of U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln. "Dozens of union members and nonunion workers alike gathered here Friday outside the office of Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., to urge the senator to support union-backed federal legislation that would ease union-forming practices. Led by the Arkansas AFL-CIO State Federation, the group of steel workers, plumbers, machinists, government workers, communication workers and others delivered more than 6,000 postcards urging Lincoln to support the Employee Free Choice Act."

"We're looking for the right to be organized without being interfered with and to have a voice in a work place," Alan Hughes, the AFL-CIO president, said during Friday's demonstration. He later used a bull horn to lead the group in chanting, "What do we want? Free choice! When do we want it? Now!" The act would increase penalties for employers that commit unfair labor practices as well as provide arbitration if labor and management fail to agree on a first contract.

America’s working people are struggling to make ends meet these days and our middle class is disappearing. The best opportunity working people have to get ahead economically is by uniting to bargain with their employers for better wages and benefits. Recent research has shown that some 60 million U.S. workers would join a union if they could.

But the current system for forming unions and bargaining is broken. Every day, corporations deny workers the freedom to decide for themselves whether to form unions to bargain for a better life. They routinely intimidate, harass, coerce and even fire workers who try to form unions and bargain for economic well-being.

The Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 800, S. 1041), supported by a bipartisan coalition in Congress, would level the playing field for workers and employers and help rebuild America’s middle class. It would restore workers’ freedom to choose a union. Republican Congressman John Boozman voted against it. All Arkansas Democrats in our Washington delegation have announce their support for the bill--except Blanche Lincoln.

Priority #1 - Affordable Housing in Fayetteville

Adam Wallworth's article in today's Northwest Arkansas Times reports that Alderman Lioneld Jordan's persistent advocacy for affordable housing has made it the top priority for the City Council agenda for the next six months, with a decision set for Dec. 31.

City staff will be making a policy recommendation in three weeks for providing housing options for people who make 60-80 percent of the median income, said Gary Dumas, director of operations. He said there will be a second phase for affordable housing that will address housing options for people with incomes that are 30-60 percent of the median income.

Ward 2 Alderman Nancy Allen was especially interested in the priority. ”We need to quit talking and do it, ” she said.

We agree.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Organizing Nurses in Northwest Arkansas

Doug Smith's recent article in the Arkansas Times details the recent reaffirmation of union representation for the nurses at St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center in Little Rock. The vote was 334 to 224 to keep the union. It was a big victory for the professional nursing staff, represented by United Health Care Local 22 of the Office and Professional Employees International Union.

Nurses at health care facilities in Northwest Arkansas also have an opportunity to organize for better salaries, benefits, working conditions, and respect for their important work. The members of AFSCME Local 965 stand ready to assist them in their efforts and to put them in contact with professional organizers from AFSCME Council 38 and AFSCME United Nurses of America.

AFSCME-United Nurses of America is over 60,000 nurses working in unity to advance quality and accountability in the healthcare setting through organizing, political action and nursing practice. Together, United Nurses of America members across the country are winning wage, benefit and other improvements such as prohibitions on mandatory overtime through strong collective bargaining agreements with our employers – and advocating for legislation and policies to increase health care funding, improve quality care, and institute safer working conditions and protections for nurses. Across the country, we are reaching out to other nurses who want to join AFSCME-UNA. As our numbers grow, so does our power to improve our jobs, the care we deliver and the quality of our lives.

Contact our officers by email at

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Celebrating 120 Years of Local Labor History

This month marks the 120th anniversary of organized labor making a difference for working families in Fayetteville and Washington County. On June 17th, 1887, Fayetteville Lodge No. 10,388, Knights of Labor organized at Byrnes' Hall at Fayetteville. A. C. Hoag, a carpenter from Minnesota, was elected Master Workman of the local lodge. Other officers included J. Tillman, W. F.; Calvin H. Putman, W. I.; W. Gakin, Almoner; S. H. Smith, F. S.; Henry M. Rieff, Treas.; E. D. Erwin, Statistician; C. T. Carr, R. S.; John French, U. K.; A. Hodges, I. E.; John Zilla, O. E.; H. M. Rieff, Judge; D. Calvin, Judge Advocate. These, with twenty-five others, constituted the charter membership.

AFSCME Local 965 honors those who lived and made labor history. Today our members are proud to continue the union tradition of fighting for a better life for working families in Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Always Low Wages, 總低薪水

In case you have missed the fact that our campus is currently occupied by Wal-Mart, the parent company of the University of Arkansas, the Morning News today has a fuzzy puff piece by PR conduits Brandon Harris and Dug Begley. They think everything is wonderful, and we are sure that Wal-Mart management loved it as much as anything produced by their in-house publicity operation--or by Julie Roehm and Draft FBC.

Not everyone agrees, but you won't find much about that in Arkansas newspapers or aired on local television "news."