Presents Charter to U. S. Employes Here
Northwest Arkansas Times, Saturday, Aug. 4, 1962
The chief figure in Arkansas’ labor movement told a small Fayetteville audience last night that anti-union politicians “can’t pass enough restrictive legislation” to subdue the movement “if we stick together.”
The speaker was Fort Smith native George Ellison, president of the Arkansas AFL-CIO, which he said has 414 locals with over 72,000 members.
Ellison spoke to 43 men and eight women gathered at the Washington County Fairgrounds for presentation of an AFL-CIO charter to the newly formed union of non-academic University employes.
He said department store workers in Arkansas make an average of 90 cents an hour, laundry workers make 87 cents, hotel workers 72 cents, restaurant employes 63 cents and farm laborers 42 cents. “This puts Arkansas last on the economic ladder of the country,” Ellison assorted, adding:
“Yet the Arkansas worker pays a higher percentage of his income for state taxes than the workers of any other slate in the union.”
A second speaker at the charter presentation was Deputy Commissioner Bill Laney of the state’s Department of Labor, which administers the Arkansas child labor law and other labor statutes inclding the Arkansas right-to-work law.
Himself a unionist, Laney declared, “Half of the laws that I enforce, I don’t approve of.” He predicted that his department of government will “take its rightful place” among other departments, and told the union members, “We will be of whatever service we can be.”
Arthur Whaley, union organizer from Washington, D.C., presented the AFL-CIO charter to Rex Rice, temporary president of the new University local of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employes.
As opposed to an industrial labor organization, the public employes union will carry most of its wage and working conditions campaign to the state legislature.
Some proposals will be made to the University administration next week, reportedly including a proposal that the University deduct union dues from monthly paychecks. Whaley said the proposals will not e made public until after a meeting with U.A. officials.
The union now claims 10 per cent of the institution’s non-academic employes, of whom there are about 870, as dues-paying members. Organizers have had the least success among the University’s estimated 180 clerks and secretaries.
- “Employe” and “employes” are how “employee” and “employee” were spelled in some newspapers through the mid-20th century.
- Article is from the files of Professor Emeritus of Communication and longtime Local 965 member and officer Stephen A. Smith.