Saturday, August 30, 2008

Labor Day 2008

Labor Day was first celebrated in 1882 and became a national holiday in 1894, but sometimes we forget that it means more than just watermelon, barbecues, and beer. Labor Day is a creation of the labor movement and is a national celebration dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.

We have set aside this day to honor the working men and women whose energy, talent, creativity, and determination are the foundations of freedom and prosperity enjoyed by generations of Americans and who fought to bring justice and dignity to the workplace.

Yet, we must not become self-satisfied or complacent. As we celebrate Labor Day, let us recommit ourselves to raising the minimum wage to a living wage, to promoting training and continuing education for workers, to providing affordable health care to every family, to organizing all workers, to demanding equal pay for women and fair pay for everyone, and to building a stronger national community.

We must continue to recognize the importance of maintaining dignity, securing economic justice in the workplace, making the American Dream a reality for all our people, and building a brighter future for our children.

The vital force of labor has brought us closer to the realization of our ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation and our state pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lindsley Smith at Democratic Convention

AFSCME Local 965 member Lindsley Smith is a Delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Denver this week. She is among 150 members of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees from across the country serving as Delegates, Alternates, and Committee Members at the 2008 Convention.

At the AFSCME Caucus meeting on Monday she met with AFSCME International President Gerald McEntee about plans for the 2008 general election campaign to elect Barack Obama and members of the U.S. House and Senate to stop the filibuster of important legislation. Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius addressed the AFSCME delegates on Monday and praised the organizational work of our union to improve public service and the lives of working families everywhere.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lioneld Jordan Awarded Diversity Certification

AFSCME Local 965 member Lioneld Jordan was among seven members of the University of Arkansas staff who earned diversity certificates, after completing 20 hours of combined classroom training, self-study, and community service, as well as writing a Personal Impact Statement that specifies his or her plan to personally increase inclusiveness on campus.

Jordan, a Zone Supervisor with the Facilities Management Department, received the Diversity Certification on June 20th, 2008. Only 75 university employees have earned diversity certification since the program began in 2005.

In March, Jordan also received the Torchbearer Award for Exemplary Community Service to Northwest Arkansas from Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at the University of Arkansas. Past winners of this prestigious award include Dr.Merlin Augustine, Dr. Gordon Morgan, and P&G Global Wal-Mart President Jeff Schomburger.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

This Date in Arkansas Labor History

August 3, 1962. The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees grants Charter to Local 965 to represent employees of the University of Arkansas. The ceremony was held at the Women's Exhibition Building on the Washington County Fairgrounds. Speakers at the event included Arkansas AFL-CIO President George Ellison, Arkansas Department of Labor Director Bill Laney, AFSCME International Organizer Arthur Whaley, Arkansas AFL-CIO Organizer Schuyler Smith, and Northwest Arkansas Joint Labor Council President Bob Parker of Food Handlers' Local 425.

The Charter ceremony sanctioned the effort that began in June when University of Arkansas physical plant and food services employees requested assistance in organizing and became a reality when 55 UA employees formally paid dues and elected officers of the Arkansas Public Employees Union on July 12. Rex Rice, UA Physical Plant employee and a former coal miner, was elected the first President of Local 965 and said the workers had already proposed a grievance procedure for addressing problems with University policies and their administration and that improvements in job classifications and pay scales were the immediate goals. Other founding officers of the Local were Willis Fields, Vice President; Raymond Rogers, Treasurer; and Rachel Campbell, Secretary.

AFSCME Local 965 received an expanded Charter in April 1966 and is now authorized to organize and represent all state, county, and city employees, except public school teachers and firefighters, in Washington, Benton, Carroll, and Madison counties.

Happy 46th Anniversary to us!

Friday, August 1, 2008

This Date in Arkansas Labor History

August 1, 1887. The Order of Railway Conductors in Arkansas receive charter signed by Grand Chief Conductor A. S. Wheator.

August 1, 1925. More than 200 UMWA miners and their families hold rally on public square at Greenwood to protest Greenwood Coal Co. reduction of wage scale back to 1917 levels.

August 1, 1940 Carpenters and Joiners business agent Fred Burt announced that union had accepted 2 cent per hour wage increase and would end strike against Crossett Lumber Company begun June 4.

August 1, 1990. The National Labor Relations Board filed its third unfair labor practices complaint against Morrilton Plastics Products Inc. of Morrilton.