Tuesday, April 24, 2012


AFSCME Local 965 President Betty Martin and former President Lioneld Jordan passing wisdom to the younger generation during AFSCME Spring Picnic at Agri Park on Saturday.

Endorsements for May 22 Elections

AFSCME Local 965 has endorsed the following candidates and ballot positions in the May 22 Party Primaries and Non-Partisan Judicial Elections. How you vote is your own decision, but we believe that these choices are best for working families in Arkansas.

Court of Appeals: Niki Cung

Circuit Court, Division 4: Cristi Beaumont

Circuit Court, Division 6: Mark Lindsay

State House District 85: David Whitaker (D)

State Senate District 7: Jon Woods (R)

State Senate District 7: Diana Gonzales Worthen (D)

FOR: Expansion of Public Transit

Early voting in the Transit Sales Tax ballot measure, as well as for the Democratic and Republican primary races and nonpartisan judicial races, runs from Monday, May 7 through Monday, May 21.

All early voting occurs at the County Clerk's office in the Washington County Courthouse, 280 N. College, Fayetteville (corner of Dickson and College). PLEASE VOTE EARLY! Avoid long lines at the polls! Bring a friend or neighbor with you! Free parking behind the courthouse.

Monday thru Friday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Saturday, May 12 & Saturday, May 19: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
MONDAY, MAY 21st: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

ELECTION DAY is TUESDAY, MAY 22. All voting will be at your precinct polling place. Contact the County Clerk's office for details, or to find the location of your precinct polling place.

Polls on Election Day are open 7:30 am to 7:30 pm

Community Service Day 2012

Thanks to all the members of AFSCME Local 965 who helped with the clean-up at Greathouse Park in south Fayetteville on Saturday morning!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Salary Gap Persists for UA Education Workers

A recent Report to the Faculty Senate by its Financial Advisory Committee reveals two issues of continuing concern for workers at the University of Arkansas. Both are about fairness.

Although the wage gap between male and female faculty had improved since the dark days of glaring inequality under Chancellor John White, tenured and tenure-track female faculty members still make 10% less than their same rank male colleagues at the University of Arkansas.

Second, the annual raises for administrators continue to dwarf those for faculty and staff. From 2009 to 2011, raises for Category One Administrators (President, Chancellor, Provost, Vice Chancellors, and Vice Provost) jumped more than 22% (average $45,000 increase). For the Category Two Administrators (Associate Vice Chancellors and Associate Vice-Provost), raises averaged $30,600 or 26% in the same two-year period.

Provost Sharon Gaber told the Faculty Senate that Chancellor Gearhart wanted to give the faculty a 5% raise, but he couldn't balance the budget with such a large increase so offered 2.5%.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fayetteville Sales Tax renewal Election on October 11


On October 11, an election will be held for Fayetteville voters to decide whether to renew the existing 1% sales tax to continue funding of City operations and the Capital Improvement Program. This provides more than 27% of our General Revenue budget, and it has funded our community’s needs for public safety, transportation, and programs that assure the quality of life that our citizens expect and deserve.

THIS IS NOT A NEW TAX. The existing 1% sales tax was approved by Fayetteville voters in 1993 and renewed by voters in 2002; it is again up for citizen approval before 2013. Due to the extensive time required to adjust budgets and city operations if this measure fails, the City Council decided to send the measure to the voters in a special election this year.

The October 11 election question will be stated on the ballot as follows:

[ ] FOR adoption of a 1% local sales and use tax within the City of Fayetteville to begin July 1, 2013 to replace the current 1% local sales and use tax. This replacement tax shall expire on June 30, 2023.

[ ] AGAINST adoption of a 1% local sales and use tax within the City of Fayetteville to begin July 1, 2013 to replace the current 1% local sales and use tax. This replacement tax shall expire on June 30, 2023.

The City’s 1% sales tax currently generates $9.2 million for General Fund operations and $6.2 million for the Sales Tax Capital Fund used for construction and equipment.

General Fund Operations include our obligation to provide fire and police protection that saves lives, the District Court, parks, streets, trails, sidewalks, library, and other essential public services. If the existing 1% sales tax is renewed, these public services will continue at current or expanded levels depending on actual collections.

If the sales tax is not renewed, public services will be cut significantly. Personnel Services constitutes 82% of the General Fund expenditures, so $7.5 million would have to be cut from personnel and 148 positions eliminated. Most of the positions (60%) funded by the General Fund are our Police and Fire personnel; therefore, without funds from this existing tax, approximately 55 Police personnel and 38 positions in the Fire Department would have to be eliminated. Without the Fire personnel to staff fire stations, some fire stations will have to be closed indefinitely. This would affect response time to fires and ISO ratings upon which your property insurance costs are based, but it would also put lives and property at risk.

Additionally, approximately 55 jobs would have to be cut from General Government and support areas such as the City Prosecutor’s Office, Fayetteville District Court, the City Clerk’s Office, Parks and Recreation, City Planning, Information Technology, and Accounting. Furthermore, existing funding for the contracts with the Boys and Girls Club, the Fayetteville Senior Center, the Fayetteville Public Library, and Ozark Regional Transit would be eliminated or drastically-reduced. Also, if the 1% sales tax fails, there would be a loss of $6.2 million in the Fayetteville Capital Improvements Program, meaning it would completely disappear. Included in the current Capital Improvements Program are the street resurfacing and major repair program, the trail system, the sidewalk program, technology upgrades, the Wilson Park swimming pool, and equipment replacement, including police vehicles and fire trucks.

Your union has endorsed renewal of the 1% sales tax. How you vote is your decision.

Friday, September 2, 2011

America’s Future Is at Stake this Labor Day

As we celebrate Labor Day 2011, working families face greater attacks on their economic security than at any time since the days of the robber barons in the late 19th Century. In state houses across the country, politicians backed by Wall Street billionaires are attacking fundamental reforms that union members fought and won over many decades, reforms like collective bargaining, child labor laws, safety regulations and even the right of workers to vote. In the U.S. House of Representatives, right-wing forces have passed legislation to eliminate Medicare, undermine Social Security and increase the taxes paid by working families while giving massive benefits to corporations and the very rich.

Rather than pulling together to find real solutions to our problems, anti-worker billionaires and the politicians they fund are mobilizing to transfer all the burdens of taxation onto working families. Under the budget bill supported by all except nine Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate, taxes would increase for the working middle class while the wealthiest one percent would find their taxes cut in half. Millionaires would be taxed at a lower effective rate than anyone working nine to five for a paycheck. That’s not a real solution, and it does nothing to create jobs.

We fought for reforms . . .

Unions opposed these measures. The labor movement worked long and hard to enact reforms like the progressive income tax, Social Security and Medicare. On Labor Day and every day, we need to remember that winning those victories – and so many others – was not a day at the beach or a walk in the park. When unions fought for collective bargaining rights, for the eight hour work day, to expand non-discrimination laws, to restrict the use of child labor and to enforce workplace safety regulations, we were always opposed by Wall Street. Yet, today, too many Americans take those reforms for granted. But many realize how important these reforms were. And they are mobilizing to oppose the concerted efforts underway across the country to repeal them, along with other policies and laws that have promoted social and economic justice.

In Maine, for example, union members fought Governor Paul LePage and his allies who tried to make an end run around child labor laws. We fought their efforts to eliminate restrictions on the hours children can work and to lower wages for teenagers by more than $2 an hour. We are fighting the efforts of right-wing legislators in more than a dozen states who are trying to undermine the Voting Rights Act by requiring voters to obtain government issued identity cards before they can cast a ballot. These misnamed “Voter ID” laws are part of an orchestrated effort to disenfranchise more than 21 million Americans – including many senior citizens – who do not have government-issued identification.

Some politicians want to undermine long-established reforms . . .

We’re calling out the radical proposals by top candidates running for president to undermine long-established reforms backed by America’s labor movement. Texas Governor Rick Perry, for example, honestly believes that America should consider repealing the ability of citizens to vote for their U.S. senators. He’s wrong. Michelle Bachmann calls for an end to the minimum wage. She’s wrong. And Ron Paul says we should eliminate FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and go back to the time when thousands died when hurricanes hit them. He’s dead wrong.

During the last decade, the CEOs at America’s largest corporations have cut nearly 3 million jobs in the United States while adding more than 2 million overseas. They’ve increased their own salaries to obscene levels, while freezing and cutting the pay of their workers. Left to their own devices, they would continue to act irresponsibly and drive our economy through the ditches created by their greed and irresponsibility. They would eliminate every reform that protects their workers or keeps them from hoarding every dollar earned by the increased productivity of America’s workers. Only strong unions stand in their way. Just as we fought for important reforms in generations past, we are fighting for America’s working men and women today.

Working men and women are fighting back . . .

It is heartening, on Labor Day, to reflect on the efforts of working men and women across the country who are mobilizing in numbers not seen in a generation to protect their interests. We see it in Ohio and Wisconsin, where working families have formed a powerful Main Street Movement to fight the efforts of special interests to undermine their ability to provide for their families. Last month in Wisconsin, for example, voters turned out in massive numbers and replaced two Wisconsin state senators who had voted to eliminate the right of collective bargaining that public employees in the state had won more than a half century ago. Working families in Ohio collected more than a million signatures to put a citizens’ veto on the ballot this fall to overturn Draconian anti-worker legislation pushed through in Ohio by their right-wing governor and his Wall Street allies.

Now, more than at any time in recent years, workers are aware of how the deck has been stacked against them. Yet the focus of too many politicians has not been on pulling together to find real solutions or creating good jobs or helping working middle class families hold on to their homes and their dreams for the future. Instead, they are giving even more power to the greedy interests who created the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. These are the same forces that in earlier times created sweatshops, sent children into mines, denied more than half the country the right to vote and hand-picked corrupt senators to represent them on Capitol Hill.

By pulling together in the past, America’s working families set our nation on a different course. This Labor Day, we are sending the powerful CEOs and their political allies a new message: We will not turn back the clock. We are prepared to fight for the future.

-- AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee

Thursday, January 27, 2011





The City of Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas Associated Student Government are hosting a Mayor’s Town Hall Meeting to be held at the University of Arkansas at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 2, 2011, in the School of Law Courtroom (room 240) located at 1045 W. Maple Street. Parking is available close to the Law School at the new parking deck on Garland Avenue.

Everyone is encouraged to attend and learn about local government issues of concern to you. University of Arkansas students, faculty, staff, and administration are particularly encouraged to attend.

Mayor Lioneld Jordan will be joined by several City Department Directors to provide information for your questions, issues, and/or concerns. This is an opportunity to ask any question of your city government in a relaxing forum, as well as learn about city projects, budget information, policies, events, and other information of interest.

Short presentations will be made by Mayor Jordan and a few city staff members at the beginning of the Town Hall Meeting on topics such as the new city paid parking plan in the Dickson Street Entertainment District; trail construction located at and around the University (such as the UA Farms Trail and the Oak Ridge Trail); the City's 2030 plan and its importance to the University community; streamside protection; and ideas for student involvement in neighborhoods and an overview of activities in Fayetteville, such as those related to our 70 parks, three lakes, and the City’s active recreation program. These will be short presentations just to stimulate audience thinking about what information they want to know about their local government and to allow ample time for audience questions.

Most of the Town Hall Meeting will be dedicated to answering audience inquiries. Come and ask your questions directly to Mayor Lioneld Jordan and city department heads. They are interested in hearing from you! Refreshments will be provided by the University of Arkansas Associated Student Government .

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jordan Fellowship in Arkansas Labor History

This fellowship has been established to honor the leadership and vision of Lioneld Jordan, the current mayor of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Mr. Jordan was an undergraduate student at the University of Arkansas, a carpenter with the UA Physical Plant for 26 years, President of AFSCME Local 965, President of the Northwest Arkansas Labor Council, and he is a champion of working families.


The fellowship is intended to encourage innovative study in the historical problems, identities, philosophies, and especially, the expressive cultures of working people in Arkansas. A special purpose of the Fellowship is to support research that will result in publications (traditional or online) from scholars who are exploring important, innovative topics relative to the lives of working people that might fall outside of the parameters of traditional academic research and funding.

Allowable use

The stipend can be used for any purpose related to the research project, including reproduction of materials, oral history interviewing, and traveling and lodging. Documentation will be required for reimbursements.


The Fellowship provides financial assistance for graduate students as well as junior and senior faculty using the University of Arkansas Libraries Special Collections Department collections related to Arkansas labor history, labor culture, labor education, labor lore, occupational folk life, trade union traditions, and worker culture--all broadly defined.

Applicants may be from any relevant academic discipline, including but not limited to anthropology, art, communications studies, cultural studies, drama, English, folklore, geography, history, journalism, labor studies, literature, political science, sociology, or gender studies. Persons associated with the University of Arkansas are eligible for this Fellowship.


Reimbursement for expenses up to $500.00 will be awarded for the academic year 2011-12.


Applications shall include the following:

• A written proposal, of no more than 1000 words, describing the proposed research project and its significance
• The research question and methods to be used
• A projected timeline
• An estimated budget
• A preliminary bibliography
• Applicant's curriculum vitae

Time Frame

Applications will be accepted beginning March 30, 2011 and must be postmarked no later than May 30, 2011. Fellowship awards will be announced no later than June 15, 2011. Funds will be awarded on a reimbursement basis


Send all materials in paper format to contact address.
Jordan Fellowship Committee
University of Arkansas Libraries
Special Collections Department
365 N. McIlroy Ave.
Fayetteville, AR 72701-4002
Telephone: 479-575-5577
Email: specoll@uark.edu

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Beebe: State Workers To Receive Pay Raises Again

After reviewing state revenues for the first five months of Fiscal Year 2011, Governor Mike Beebe has directed the Department of Finance and Administration to reinstate cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs), career-service recognitions and merit pay for Arkansas state employees.

"Going into this current budget, we froze state salaries out of an abundance of caution to see how our economy would recover," Governor Beebe said. "After seeing the strength of our economic indicators and remaining ahead of forecast for the year so far, I've decided to reinstate the COLA for our employees."

The COLAs are already built into the current budget and will not impact the funding of any state services or require any budget increases. Career-service recognitions and merit pay are funded through salary savings within existing agency budgets.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Community Giving Project

AFSCME Local 965 has again chosen the Peace At Home Family Shelter for our holiday Community Giving Project. Members should make their donations through Secretary Theresa G. Sims by December 15 so we can purchase the items most needed by the families they serve.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

UA Child Development Center

AFSCME Local 965 has been pushing for years for a convenient, high-quality child care facility on our campus, but Chancellor John White failed to respond. We commend Chancellor G. David Gearhart for his support of the important project and express our appreciation to Trustee John Tyson for this generous gift to help working families seeking an education at the University of Arkansas.

The availability of affordable, high-quality childcare is a huge need across the country. Equipping child development educators with the skills to positively impact future generations through their work is just as essential. Now, thanks to a $2.5 million gift from the Tyson Family Foundation and the Tyson Foods Foundation, the University of Arkansas will be able to better join these two needs through the creation of a unified Child Development Center, an educational training facility on campus. With approval of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees, the new center will be named the Jean Tyson Child Development Center, in honor of the matriarch of the Tyson family.

“For years, the need for a better training facility and campus childcare option has been articulated by faculty, staff and students,” said Chancellor G. David Gearhart. “We are delighted that this wish will soon become a reality on our campus with the creation of a new experiential laboratory where tomorrow’s practitioners and leaders in child development and childcare will obtain their education – while providing the best possible head start to infants and preschoolers.”

;“On behalf of my sisters Cheryl and Carla, and my children John Randal and Olivia, let me say how pleased we are to be able to honor our mother and support this very important project on the University of Arkansas Fayetteville campus,” said John Tyson. “My mother, who passed away in 2006, would be delighted to have this facility, dedicated to the education and training of childcare workers and educators, named for her. Quality childcare has become so important to companies and families across our state and nation, and the work that will take place in this facility will make a contribution in this field for years to come.”

Currently, the campus offers an Infant Development Center and a Nursery School through the School of Human Environmental Sciences in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. Both the Infant Development Center and the Nursery School are vital to students and faculty who need childcare, and important to students who study child development, nursing and early childhood education and obtain valuable experience in these learning labs. Both facilities, while able to attain national accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children, are currently inadequate. The Nursery School faces severe space limitations. The Infant Development Center, constructed for a completely different purpose in the early 1970s, has been maintained solely as a temporary facility and has space issues and cannot continue to meet health and safety regulations without extensive renovation. The reality that these two centers are on opposite sides of campus presents further logistical and practical challenges for students, faculty and clients as well.

This gift will help construct one larger state-of-the-art learning facility, with classrooms, indoor and outdoor play spaces and an adequate observation room, where university students gain valuable insight into the behavioral and developmental patterns in children. The new center will provide an outstanding facility to meet the educational and research needs for an increasing number of students majoring in human development, family sciences and rural sociology, while expanding childcare options for the campus and community. The size and scope of the center have not been finalized, and additional funding will likely be needed. Revenue from the expansion will, however, help to support the facility.

“This gift couldn’t come at a better time,” said Michael Vayda, dean of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. “The center will provide acutely needed childcare services for University of Arkansas staff, faculty, students and community members, as well as providing the premier site for training our students as professionals for statewide service in the care and nurturing of children, and an observatory for faculty experts to develop best practices in promoting school readiness, emotional well-being and healthy interpersonal relationships.”

The Jean Tyson Child Development Center will provide educational and research opportunities for more than 300 University of Arkansas students, faculty and children each year and will meet the childcare needs of more than 140 families from the campus and community, Vayda said.

“The number of undergraduate students has increased and to ensure quality experiences, we must have enough room to accommodate enrollment,” said Vernoice Baldwin, instructor and director of the university’s Infant Development Center and Nursery School. “The two-year colleges in the state have seen an increase in the number of students enrolled in child development, and we anticipate many of these students will have a need for a four-year baccalaureate degree. We want to be prepared for the greater demand in laboratory facilities to meet those needs,” said Baldwin.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Local 965 Members in Politics

AFSCME Local 965 members were very active in helping elect good people to public office this year. Now that the election is over, we want to say a special thanks to our members who have been active as candidates and public officials in 2010. Thank you for making Arkansas happen!

State Representative Jim Nickels, House District 43, reelected to second term.

JP Barbara Fitzpatrick, reelected to a second term on Washington County Quorum Court.

Rhonda Adams, elected to Fayetteville City Council.

Mark Swaney, candidate for House District 90.

Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan, former President of Local 965.

State Representative Lindsley Smith, House District 92, 2004-2010.

Catastrophic Leave Donation Drive

The Catastrophic Leave Bank Program assists eligible University of Arkansas employees through medical emergencies, injuries, and illnesses incurred by them or eligible family members after the employees exhaust their earned sick leave, annual leave, holidays, and compensatory time. During fiscal year 2010, 31 University employees received assistance from this program. Human Resources will conduct a donation drive for this program during the month of November 2010.

Information and donation forms are available from your departmental leave representative and on the Human Resources web page at http://hr.uark.edu/CatLeaveDonorApp.pdf. Only 100% appointed employees are eligible to participate in the Catastrophic Leave Bank Program. Donations are strictly voluntary and employees do not need to be donors to participate in the program. Donations must be made in one-hour increments and may not exceed a total of 32 hours per plan year. In addition, a donation cannot be accepted if it would reduce the combined sick and annual leave balances of the donor to less than 80 hours. Leave donations are only accepted during donation drives or at an employee’s end of employment.

If you would like to donate to the Catastrophic Leave Bank, please contact your departmental leave representative to obtain a donation form or download the form from our webpage. Your completed donation form should be given to your department leave representative NO LATER THAN November 30, 2010.

If you have questions about the program, please call ext. 57618 or e-mail leahw@uark.edu.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Working Families Vote!

Vote. Get your family to vote, your friends, your neighbors and your co-workers to vote. Vote for the candidates who will fight for the interests of middle class working families in Arkansas and the nation.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

AFSCME and the Election

This election is about the key issues that affect you and your communities: job creation, your rights on the job, policies that create jobs here at home.

The Wall Street bankers who drove the economy off the cliff – the corporations outsourcing good jobs overseas, anti-union contractors who want to take away your hard-earned wages – they are spending millions to take over Congress and even state offices here in Arkansas.

We can’t match them dollar for dollar. But we have the power of a mobilized membership.

We owe it to ourselves and our children to vote on the issues that matter to us as working people. It’s not about partisanship. It’s about our jobs and our future.

Get informed, get involved and vote. We can’t afford to sit this one out. How you vote is your personal decision, but your union has endorsed the following candidates, because we believe they have a better understanding of the issues affecting working families and will stand up for us. We have also done an analysis of the proposed constitutional amendments and taken positions on two of them.


AGAINST Issue No. 2 for a Constitutional Amendment to remove the interest rate ceiling on bonds, defer the rate on some loans to the federal government, and affirm a 17% interest ceiling on consumer loans. Vote NO on Issue 2 to prevent the increase in interest rate ceilings.

AGAINST Issue No. 3, a proposed Constitutional Amendment abolishing the people's right to vote and decide whether to approve bonds creating public debt and gives that power exclusively to the legislature. Vote NO on Issue 3 to protect the power of the people from the lobbyists.


Steve Zega for Circuit Judge

Earl Hunton for State Representative, District 87
Jim House for State Representative, District 89
Mark Swaney for State Representative, District 90
Greg Leding for State Representative, District 92

Barbara Fitzpatrick for Quorum Court, JP District 6

Mark Kinion for City Council, Ward 2
Rhonda Adams for City Council, Ward 4


U.S. Senate: No Position

U.S. Congress, Third District: David Whitaker

Arkansas Constitutional Offices

Governor: Governor Mike Beebe

Lieutenant Governor: Senator Shane Broadway

Attorney General: Attorney General Dustin McDaniel

Secretary of State: County Clerk Pat O'Brien

State Treasurer: State Treasurer Martha Shoffner

Auditor of State: Charlie Daniels

Commissioner of State Lands: L.J. Bryant

Nonpartisan Judicial Runoff

State Supreme Court Assoc. Justice Position 6: Court of Appeals Judge Karen Baker

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

This Week in Arkansas Labor History

1963 -- AFSCME Local 965 calls first public employee strike in the South, as 300 physical plant employees set picket lines at University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, to protest UA administration recalcitrance on wages and benefits.

Employee Discontent
In 1962, ten employees of the University of Arkansas formed a labor union as a result of failed contract negotiations. Local 965 received its official union charter on April 1, 1962.1 It was not until October of 1963 that Local 965 garnered statewide attention and momentum in it labor negotiations. The unfair labor practices and wage rates of the University of Arkansas forced Local 965, under the leadership of founder and President Rex Rice, to threaten and eventually engage in a non-teaching employee strike.2 A formal press release by Rice outlined the discontent of the employees, the anticipation of the strike, and the choice of timing. Rice knew that the weekend of October 6-7 was an opportune time as the dependency of non-teaching employees would be high. The University was hosting members of the Arkansas General Assembly and state constitutional officers at the annual Legislative Weekend. In addition to these high profile guests the University was playing host to 225 attorneys with the Legislative Institute and it was the SEC season football opener. The impact of the strike would be greater during this period although Rice expresses that he is unclear of how long the strike would last.3 On Friday, October 5th, the strike became a reality with 76 employees forming a picket line.4 The immediate response by University of Arkansas President Dr. David W. Mullins was one of justification. Mullins did little to acknowledge the stance of the union but simply stated that the University’s lack of response was due to legal boundaries that negated negotiations with labor unions. John Hale, international representative for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees stood behind the picketers of Local 965 and a significant amount of non-union employees. Hale stated that the effects of the strike were beginning to be felt by University Administrators.5 While this may have been assumed, little evidence in the statements of University officials support this belief. Mullins simply stated that service levels on Monday (day four) were the same as day one of the strike. On Tuesday, October 9th, Chancellor Thomas F. Butt issued a restraining order against the picketing employees.6 Butt also being a judge issued the injunction stating that the picketer’s methods of demonstration were unlawful. Some of the arguments for the unlawfulness of the demonstration were that it was ruining University property, interfered with the use of property, and that picketers were threatening and intimidating other employees of the University. The injunction did have an impact in that it broke the picket line from re-forming but it had little impact on employees returning to work.7 By this time the effects of the strike were more readily apparent. With a wide base of support by non-union employees and other union members who are not directly employed by the University, more and more supporters were leaving to join the strike. A significant amount of employees in certain dorm cafeterias had left and union workers employed by contracting agencies to work on the construction of buildings around campus failed to show up in support of the union efforts.8 On October 12, a special meeting was held by the executive committee of the Arkansas AFL-CIO to appeal to Governor Faubus for assistance in convincing the University to enter into negotiations with the Union.9 While Faubus did not attend the meeting due to prior engagements, state Labor Commissioner Bill Laney did. Laney refuted Mullins claim that the University cannot engage in contract negotiations with a labor union and added that the University had been found in violation of state labor laws in the past. Laney did have the opportunity to discuss the labor issues with Mullins but there is little evidence to support anything positively conclusive from this talk. Mullins did state that the University could not engage in contract labor unless there was some certainty that money appropriated by the legislature was in fact available. The following Monday, Faubus issued a statement saying he would not become personally involved but would work to get the two sides together to discuss the dispute.10 At the suggestion of Faubus, the University Board of Trustees, led by Dallas P. Raney, conceded to launching an investigation.11 On October 18th, employees returned to work, ending the 13-day strike.12

The primary argument of Local 965 employees was inappropriate wages and unfair employment practices. Union officials stated that the pay for University employees started at 75 cents an hour, a wage far below what was apparently livable. There was also numerous accounts of employees (particularly women) who worked 12-15 hours but only compensated for eight. Employees sent letters to Governor Faubus telling of the difficulty of raising kids on the wages paid by the University.13 The strike was the public display of discontent and became the rallying point for employees outside of Local 965. University employees who were not members joined the union as it grew in momentum. This brought greater impact for the union as their effect was multiplied. In displays of solidarity with Local 965, other labor unions joined in the strike by not showing up for work. The main argument of the union was rather simple, enter into negotiations or endure the strike. While the focus of the argument is specific hygienic factors that are points of contention, most evidence supports the desire for simple negotiations and discussion. This was made difficult by the arguments of the University. The main message of focus for the University was the principle that state institutions could not engage in contract negotiations. Mullins cited the Arkansas Attorney General decision that in disputes such as this, the decision is one of legislatures and not of the University. This surely proved frustrating for Union members as University officials put up a quick wall of silence in negotiation requests. The Board of Trustees also had an enacted a policy a year earlier stating the University’s position in contract labor negotiation but it is unclear whether the policy is based on similar legal arguments or simply a matter of internal policy. The arguments of the University did little to quiet the union. The strike would continue until negotiations occurred. The two positions were deadlocked with no end in sight until the University sought legal injunction against the actions of the picketing employees. Of interest is the fact that the person seeking the injunction and the judge granting the injunction are the same person, Thomas F. Butt. The apparent irony and transparency of this legal move is never noted in historical documentation. The union responded with threatening to appeal to the State Supreme Court but in the immediate problem the union was forced to end the picketing campaign. Public interest in the growing controversy on campus continued as employees did not return to work. The University continued to defend its stance of legality in contract negotiations while minimally defending its wage rates as being competitive when benefits are taken into account.14 The final argument was made by union supporters15 in the appeal to Governor Faubus in his assistance to end the strike.
It is the author’s opinion that the union was the most effective in their use of messages and basis of arguments. In the end, the union got what they demanded, an investigation and a commitment to seek pay increases.16 The key instrument in expediting this outcome was the intervention of Governor Faubus. While Faubus clearly did not want to be used as a tool in the strike and wished to remain impartial17 his interest in seeing the two sides talk had a significant impact on the outcome as this was the primary interest of the union. The outcome from the special investigation into the employment practice yielded no pay increase as it was found to be competitive with other regional institutions.18 It did offer some benefit in the issue of overtime. With many reports of employees working 12-15 hour days this was addressed in the final report. The Board of Trustees explained that it the University did not have the budgetary allocations to pay overtime but it would extend comp time benefits beyond the normal 30-day period to one of 90 days.
More than the simple victory in winning one of the two major points of contention with the union employees was the victory of legitimization. For the union, it forced the University to recognize the impact labor unions can have on the daily operations. The Board of Trustees acknowledged the right of employees to unionize (as long as discussion took place outside of duty hours)19 but there is little evidence of policy transformations (post-strike) regarding the ability to negotiate in labor contract. The effectiveness of the Union messages and actions had a stronger impact than the organizational and legal silence used by the University. The Union took a gamble in that the individual endurance of the striking employees would ultimately dictate the outcome of the argument. The Board of Trustees still did not recognize the importance of the strike. Dallas P. Raney, Chairman of the board, states in a letter to Governor Faubus that “I can understand how employees may be led astray and into mistakes. I think this is what has happened to the employees now on strike against the University of Arkansas…”20 While the Board of Trustees and University officials did not agree with the statement of striking, they surely believed in the potential for organizational impact.
The strike by Local 965 was not isolated within the confines of the University of Arkansas grounds. The public attention of the strike grew quickly and garnered statewide media attention. Other groups, both on campus and off campus joined the effort to end the strike amicably. One of the first groups to become involved was the Young Democrat Club at the University.21 The group adopted a resolution that vilified the University’s labor practices as “immoral, unethical, and unfair.”22 The Young Republicans soon sent out a similar, but less harsh, statement saying that the wages paid to University employees were “disgracefully low.”23 Together, the Young Democrats Club and the Young Republicans Club released a joint statement stating the need for a “public airing of differences” to be able to resolve the labor strike.24 Various Methodist, Christian, Roman Catholic, and Presbyterian campus church groups adopted a similar resolution to urge University officials to negotiate with the labor union.25 The Fayetteville Junior Chamber of Commerce actively sought the University’s participation in debates with the Local 965 that was tentatively scheduled for October 20th by the Young Republicans Club and the Young Democrats Club.26
The faculty senate released a statement stating their disappointment with the labor situation on campus. They stated “It has been deeply disturbing to us in our work to be required to cross the picket line of employees whose demands are so entirely just and reasonable.”27 While there is no evidence of formal repercussions for statements of support to the labor union these did catch the attention of University officials. In response to a report by President Mullins to the Board of Trustees, there was discussion on the loyalty of the Young Democrats Club, the various campus religious groups, and the petitioning professors to the University of Arkansas institution.28

Local 965 was effective in its organization and framing of the strike. It reached a variety of diverse audiences from other labor unions, civic groups, campus organizations to the Governor’s office. While University officials never conceded to the union’s strike (as it is unlikely that any organization ever will) it did bring validity to the effectiveness of labor unions. Local 965, which had struggled to gain membership and credibility initially29 quickly garnered wide support for its strike and calls for negotiation. It is the authors opinion that had not wide this wide support been gained the University would have eventually won out. The employees were easily disposed of and the University posted advertisements in local newspapers calling for applicants to fill “certain prominent full-time maintenance service positions.”30 With high public support for the causes of the striking employees and the intervention of Governor Faubus, the Board of Trustees were quick to act and issued an almost immediate response following the public statement of Faubus. Further research is needed to see the long-term impact of the strike by Local 965. There is little evidence that much was conceded by the University in request of the union but the impact may have been delayed and felt by the next generation of employees. In the immediacy concluding the strike, the Local 965 can claim a certain level of victory in breaking the silence of the University of Arkansas.

Brad Brewster, 2006

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mayor Lioneld Jordan's Labor Day Proclamation

WHEREAS, the sweat and skill of American workers built this country and preserved it through wars and crises. Today, workers and their organizations are giving strong support to our effort to restore our national and local economy. This is in the finest tradition of organized labor, which has served not just its own members but all people through its century-long struggle for social and economic justice; and,

WHEREAS, American workers have carried us through times of challenge and uncertainty, propelled America through eras of peace and prosperity, and have long formed the backbone of our Nation's economy; and

WHEREAS, working Americans constructed our cities and towns, and with unparalleled skill they manufactured the goods and provided the services needed by Americans and people around the world. They have prepared our children for the challenges ahead and cared for the sick and the elderly; and

WHEREAS, the labor movement has given voice to the aspirations and concerns of millions of men and women. By fighting for decent working conditions, as well as fair wages and benefits, organized labor has stood for the rights of everyday Americans. With determination and commitment, labor has advocated for all working families and all have benefited from the fruits of their struggles; and

WHEREAS, the Northwest Arkansas Labor Council and its member unions and organizations are active partners in rebuilding our local economy, creating Green Jobs that pay a living wage, and helping to provide a better life by all residents of our community;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, as we honor our workers, and we renew our commitment to uphold the American Dream for everyone on this Labor Day, let us affirm our determination to build a future together in which all of us can enjoy the blessings of a more equitable and humane society.

I hereby declare Monday, September 6, 2010, as Labor Day in the City of Fayetteville.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Labor Day: Honoring Our History, Fighting for Our Future

On Labor Day, we celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers. However, during years such as this one, Labor Day also marks the start of election season.

You might be wondering what politics has to do with Labor Day.

The answer is: EVERYTHING.

These days, when the middle class is under attack and public employees are the target of a vicious campaign of lies and misinformation, the ballot box gives us a chance to send a clear message.

Yes, it is about standing up for the legacy of those who marched, went on strike and, most importantly, organized workers in the historic fights for safe working conditions, decent pay and the 40-hour workweek.

But it’s also about today’s pressing issues, such as creating more jobs at a time when nearly 25 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. It’s about supporting those who fought to pass a crucial Jobs Bill that will provide $26 billion in federal aid to protect hundreds of thousands of jobs instead of those like Minority House Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) who called this job-saving legislation a “bailout” for “special interests”.

It’s about protecting Main Street instead of extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich that would cost $680 billion in revenue over the next ten years – only to benefit the richest one percent of Americans. It’s about funding the vital public services AFSCME members provide in this time of need, when one out of every six Americans is in a government anti-poverty program. It’s about saving Social Security from Republicans like former Sen. Alan Simpson, who calls retirees “greedy geezers,” and his allies on Capitol Hill who want to dismantle and privatize a proven program that runs a surplus and has no impact on the federal deficit.

During these last two years, despite the distortions and obstructionism of almost every Republican in Congress, working families won some real victories. We secured more than $230 billion in the American Recovery and Revitalization Act to keep state and local governments afloat. We finally passed health care reform that reins in the insurance industry, closes the donut hole for seniors and lets kids stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26. We put through the most significant Wall Street reform since Franklin Roosevelt was President. It restricts predatory mortgage lending, eliminates hidden credit card fees and creates a Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

This November, we’ve got a choice. We can let those who ruined our economy push their agenda of tax breaks for wealthy CEOs and perks for corporations; or we can be true to labor’s history and fight for more jobs and government accountability.

What is it going to be?

Watch the Video

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Please join us for our annual LABOR DAY PICNIC @ THE GARDENS

10:00 - 2:00 On the Corner of LeRoy Pond and Razorback Road in Fayetteville

Fun for the entire family. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and sodas provided by AFSCME Local 965..

Monday, July 19, 2010

UA Enrollment Rises, but Problems Not Addressed

The University of Arkansas is predicting another record enrollment year for the fall of 2010, but the administration is not addressing the concerns about additional faculty needs or compensation plans for existing staff. Last year the official enrollment was 19,849 for the fall semester. This year more than 20,700 students are expected to enroll. A record number of new freshmen are also expected to choose the University of Arkansas. So far 3,458 degree seeking freshmen have enrolled, an increase of 500 over fall 2009 and well above the 2015 goal of 3,350. The exact enrollment numbers will not be known until the 11th day of the fall semester when the enrollment “snapshot” is taken, as required by state law, but all indicators point to record growth.

“It’s exciting. These numbers are right where we want them to be,” said Chancellor G. David Gearhart. “We know that we can best serve the interests of the students and of the state by growing in the right way. We are attracting talented students from across Arkansas and the nation to our state’s flagship campus. They have heard our message—that we are a Students First university— working energetically and creatively to help them succeed in our classrooms and in the world beyond.”

If the University of Arkansas truly puts students first and wants them to succeed in the classroom, the administration must make the financial commitment to hire additional tenure-track faculty, instead of trying to cover the new classes with part-time adjunct faculty and graduate teaching assistants. Chancellor Gearhart did not announce funding for additional faculty to teach the 900 new students expected.

“We have been preparing for this increase since November,” said Provost Sharon Gaber. “We have expanded the number of sections in core classes to meet the demand. We have renovated residence halls and we are increasing classroom availability. We are also thinking about retention as well as enrollment, adding staff to the Office of Academic Success and to the Office of Financial Aid. We want to be sure students receive support in areas that we know are key to their continued success. We are bringing in students who have great potential and we will do our part to help them realize it.” Although preparing for the increase since November, Provost Gaber said nothing about hiring additional faculty to teach the students. It is commendable that she plans to hire additional support staff, but she should also consider additional maintenance and custodial staff and assuring that current staff are given the raises that they were promised.

Most of the Arkansas students in the incoming freshmen class will have support from the Arkansas Challenge Scholarship Program, funded by the state lottery. Those who do not will be encouraged to apply for the scholarship in the spring. These scholarships have clearly contributed to increases in the number of in-state students, who will likely be joined by a record number of out-of-state students as well, said Suzanne McCray, vice provost for enrollment services.

“The University of Arkansas is becoming a destination school for students across the state and across the country as out reputation grows nationally. Prospective students are much better informed now about the importance of picking the college that is the right fit for them and they are starting earlier and taking longer to make their decision. We benefit from that approach. The more students know about the University of Arkansas the more likely they are to come here. The number of people who visit our campus has tripled. Once students and their families see our facilities, meet with faculty and students, get a sense of the community and the special opportunities we have to offer then they are persuaded.”

McCray said that the enrollment gains are anticipated in every college at the university. The College of Education and Health Professions has already enrolled more students than predicted. The J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering and the Sam M. Walton College of Business will also hit record undergraduate numbers. The Honors College is also expecting to have a record number of students, which is evidence of the quality of the incoming freshman class. The graduate school and law school anticipate small enrollment gains.