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!

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