Razorbash a Success for Union

Hundreds of students took the lunch break on the third day of classes to walk through Razorbash 2021, and Local 965 with officials of the Arkansas Education Association were on hand to greet them.

The University of Arkansas hosts Razorbash early every fall on the commons between the Arkansas Union and Mullins Library. It is an “information fair for students to engage with local businesses, national chains and non-profit organizations throughout Northwest Arkansas,” according to the Office of Student Activities.

Running the booth for Local 965 were President Bret Schulte, Secretary Ben Pollock and at-large board members Patrick Williams, Chad Kieffer and Ryan Gliszinski. Joining in from Little Rock were Carol Fleming, AEA president, and Karla Carpenter, AEA manager of organizing & field services, and from Springdale was Renee Johnson, AEA UniServ director.

Besides explaining the advantages of AEA membership to UA faculty and staff members who dropped by, undergraduate education majors and graduate students interested in careers that may include K-12 education learned about the benefits of the Student AEA.

Our table likely gathered more interest than previous years because of more colorful display banners from both the 965 and AEA and even the benefit of shade from the canopy bought that hot August morning by Karla.

Table reserved sign at the 2021 Razorbash
The table-reserved sign at the 2021 Razorbash

Parading for Pride, 2021

UA-Fayetteville Education Association/Local 965 was represented in both parades in their city honoring the LGBTQ community, during the June 2021 Pride Month. The Northwest Arkansas events were organized by NWA Equality.

The first was Thursday evening, June 24, the first Trans March in Arkansas. The parade went from the Walton Arts Center to the Town Center. The march and rally were intended to increase visibility and empower transgender, nonbinary, gender variant and gender nonconforming people to come out, as well as protest the state Legislature’s passage of transgender laws, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

Local 965 at-large board members Ryan Gliszinski and Chad Kieffer participate in the Fayetteville Trans March on June 24.
Local 965 at-large board members Ryan Gliszinski (left) and Chad Kieffer walked for the union to support transgender rights, the community and their supporters in the state’s first Trans March on June 24, 2021.

At noon Saturday, June 26, a few hundred marchers organized in several dozen groups took part in the 17th annual NWA Pride Parade began near St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, moving west on Dickson Street to the edge of the University of Arkansas campus. Thousands watched and applauded from the sidewalks of Dickson, the city’s main entertainment district.

Lining up for the Local were President Bret Schulte, Vice President Mike Pierce, Secretary Ben Pollock, at-large board member Ted Swedenburg and member Tricia Starks. Other union members marched with other groups in the parade, including at-large board members Ryan Gliszinski and Chad Kieffer.

We would be remiss if we failed to note the obvious: The Covid pandemic is ending but not over and Saturday’s event is not a good look. We were heartened and grateful that parade organizers and city management arranged the participant groups carefully using health protocols. The current safety guidelines for large gatherings were honored by those participating IN the parade — generally standing at least 6 feet apart and so forth.

That the thousands of onlookers mobbed up shoulder to shoulder like old times with no face coverings and so forth is a worry. We only can hope that the sorts of people who support the principles the parade espoused know the safety and efficacy of the new coronavirus vaccines and got their shots weeks ago.

Supporting Workers at Amazon, its Affiliates

The Solidarity with Amazon Workers Rally

Members of Local 965 joined with area progressives March 20 to support workers at the Bessemer, Alabama, Amazon facilities to join a union to boost their wages to that of similar workers in the area and to improve work conditions.

  • Red-shirted 965 members Hershel Hartford, Bret Schulte, Mike Pierce, Tricia Starks and Geoff Brock await Ted Swedenburg to shoot a photo at the Solidarity with Amazon Workers rally March 20, 2021, outside the Fayetteville Whole Foods Market.
  • Hershel Hartford, Bret Schulte, Geoff Brock, Ted Swedenburg and Ben Pollock discuss Local 965 business at the Solidarity with Amazon Workers rally March 20, 2021, outside the Fayetteville Whole Foods Market.
  • Red-shirted 965 members Ben Pollock, Tricia Starks and Geoff Brock join the Solidarity with Amazon Workers rally March 20, 2021, outside the Fayetteville Whole Foods Market.
  • Mike Pierce, Bret Schulte and Tricia Starks hold the Local 965 banner at the Solidarity with Amazon Workers rally March 20, 2021, outside the Fayetteville Whole Foods Market.

Announcement of rally, March 19, 2021

We of UA-Fayetteville Education Association / Local 965 decided at our monthly membership meeting March 18 to actively support union organizing efforts at the Amazon facilities in Bessemer, Alabama. Specifically, we are asking our members and supporters to attend — safely, with masks and social-distancing — a rally outside the Fayetteville Whole Foods Market 1:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 20, 2021. March 20 will also represent U.N. World Day Against Racism.

We suggest that you don your red 965 T-shirt if you have one, otherwise any red shirt, for a bit of visual solidarity. The local event’s organizers created a Facebook event with details. The national facilitator is Support Alabama Amazon Union.

For background information, “Amazon, Union Battle for Undecided Workers in High-Stakes Vote” from the Voice of America is pretty comprehensive with no paywall.

This is Collective Action.

Campus Covid Gallery

The union of the University of Arkansas presents images and a bit of information on the pandemic — from the worker viewpoint of faculty and staff.

We welcome photos from members and other employees. Send the highest resolution available to uarkansas965@gmail.com. Submissions will be curated. We need as much information on the photos as possible. We’ll protect the privacy of the sender and photographer if requested, but otherwise the more transparent our project is, the more trusted. That’s the point.

This post will be updated, so please check back.

Websites

Twitter

  • AR COVID-19 Fails — @ARCOVidiots — “Documenting Arkansans’ response to the coronavirus pandemic.”
  • UArk COVID-19 Fails—@UArkCOVIDFAILS— “The University of Arkansas is not preventing the Spreading of COVID-19, these are first hand examples. not affiliated with the University of Arkansas”

Photo Gallery

Non-masked, non-socially distanced brothers of a University of Arkansas fraternity stand outside a Maple Street sorority across from The Academy at Frisco apartments, Fayetteville, 6 a.m. Nov. 13, 2020.
Non-masked, non-socially distanced brothers of a University of Arkansas fraternity stand outside a Maple Street sorority across from The Academy at Frisco apartments, Fayetteville, 6 a.m. Nov. 13, 2020.

Local 965 Joins 2019 NWA Women’s March

Members of AFSCME 965, representing government workers of Northewest and north central Arkansas, rallied then paraded with its banner at the 2019 Northwest Arkansas Women’s March. The winter day was mild on Saturday, Feb. 2 in downtown Fayetteville.

The march served to promote justice for all women. The rally included a drive for supplies for the area Peace at Home Shelter. Two local TV stations reported on the event; here is the NBC affiliate’s story and here the CBS station’s piece.