Anyone with a job can relate to widespread problems that continue here in Northwest Arkansas as well: Economic inequality, low wages, persistence of poverty especially among children, and the growing marginalization of working people in public life.
An afternoon of programming to address such issues is being set up for the Ozarks.
The Northwest Arkansas Labor Council and UA-Fayetteville Education Association/Local 965 are hosting the Northwest Arkansas Labor Spring Teach-In at the Fayetteville Public Library’s Ziegler Reception Room from 1-4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 8, 2023. It is free, and the public is welcome.
The Labor Teach-In will highlight the ways that unions and collective action on the part of working people can contribute to the elimination of these pressing problems.
Speakers will include representatives from the Arkansas AFL-CIO, Starbucks Workers United, Venceremos for poultry workers, UA’s Local 965, Southern States Millwright Regional Council and the International Association of Fire Fighters. Here are confirmed presenters.
The teach-in is an informal forum developed in the mid-1960s to educate on a complex contemporary topic.
“The Teach-In is inspired not only by the activism that we are seeing throughout the nation with teachers, nurses and Amazon workers but also by what people are already doing here in Northwest Arkansas,” co-organizer Michael Pierce said. “Starbucks workers, some of the poultry workers, and many others are starting to stand up for worker rights, better wages and improved conditions.”
“The goal,” Pierce said, “is to bring together working people who want to make their jobs better — to put them in touch with like-minded people, to provide them with tools and access to resources, to hear about successes, and to provide a sense of belonging.”
The Northwest Arkansas Labor Spring Teach-In is part of a series of some 60 similar events being held on or near college and university campuses throughout the United States. Dubbed Labor Spring, these events are organized with the help of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University and the Labor and Working-Class History Association.
The February 2023 article “In 1996, There Was Union Summer. This Year, There’s ‘Labor Spring’ — ‘Labor Spring’ Brings Back a National Teach-In on Organizing to Campuses across the Country” further explains the project.
Updates on the Teach-In will be posted on its Facebook event page. For more information, write us.
In alphabetical order, as schedule has not been finalized.
- Jessica Akers Hughes, president, Arkansas AFL-CIO
- Rick Halford, regional political director, Southern States Millwright Regional Council
- Dylan Hartsfield of Wedington Drive Starbucks, Workers United (Starbucks)
- Magaly Licolli, executive director and co-founder, Venceremos for poultry workers
- Pete Reagan, district field service representative for the 14th District (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee), International Association of Fire Fighters
- Annie B. Smith, professor, University of Arkansas School of Law
- Welcome: Hershel Hartford, president, UA-Fayetteville Education Association/Local 965
- Emcee: Walter Hinojosa, president/secretary-treasurer, Northwest Arkansas Labor Council
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