Frequently Asked Questions

Illustration of boxes with a check mark and a cross sign

Why should I join Local 965, UA-Fayetteville Education Association?

The most important reason to join a union is to foster change at the workplace through an amplified voice of the workforce. The power of any union to enact an agenda of equity, fair compensation and workplace safety depends on the strength of its membership. The local already is engaged in campaigns to ensure that all workers are paid a living wage, to give voice to those who are concerned with guns on campus, among other issues.

That Local 965 belongs to the Arkansas Education Association/National Education Association has powerful advantages, both in the workplace and personally.

What are the goals of Local 965?

Local 965 represents the interests of University of Arkansas employees in Fayetteville — full time and part time — from faculty (tenure and tenure track to instructors and adjuncts) to educational support professions (i.e. staff) to graduate teaching and research assistants. The Local is pursuing clear, tangible goals to benefit the faculty and staff as well as students.

Our primary obligation of course is to our members, who get numerous traditional union benefits as well as perks. Local 965 will look in any substantial issue any UA employee brings to our attention or that we hear about.

Is it legal to join a union in Arkansas?

Yes. Amendment 34 to the Arkansas State Constitution guarantees the right of every citizen to join a union. In fact, it is illegal for an employer to fire a person because of membership in a union. The amendment is explicit: “No person shall be denied employment because of membership in or affiliation with or resignation from a labor union, or because of refusal to join or affiliate with a labor union.”

Arkansas is a so-called right-to-work state, which means that union membership is not required in a unionized workplace. Even if a worker does not join a union, he/she is entitled to the benefits secured by the union. Many union members believe so-called “right-to-work” laws are meant to cripple union bargaining power by encouraging workers not to join them, but the laws do not prohibit unions.

Furthermore, the University of Arkansas System allows union membership in Board of Trustees Policy 460.1 Employees Joining Labor Unions and the Fayetteville Human Resources quotes the state constitution’s Amendment 34.

That said, any employee — from tenured prof to a classified part-time hourly — is subject to workplace discipline or a negative workplace environment, where at could be root one’s affiliation with some group including a union. To fight this or any discrimination, union membership has value there.

Does the union provide representation to employees who face ‘issues’?

Yes. Dues-paying Local 965 members are encouraged to contact our Zone 1 UniServ representative at or 501-400-7270 immediately should they face issues like termination, discipline or threat of lawsuit, or that superiors are not responding promptly and appropriately to their reports of (as examples) abuse, unsafe practices or threats. The UniServ rep can advise the employee, mediate as needed and arrange for legal representation if warranted. If a member is facing disciplinary actions of any kind, the rep wants to know as soon as possible. An AEA member should not begin contesting their issue on their own. The rep can assist throughout the process, from the start.

How long has Local 965 been around?

The Arkansas Public Employees Union (APEU) was founded in 1962, with a charter signed with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, to represent University of Arkansas employees and area municipal workers. AFSCME authorized Local 965 to represent government employees in nine counties through Northwest and North-Central Arkansas and later to also represent any U of A System employee.

An August 1962 newspaper article reports the presentation of the AFL-CIO charter to the UA union. Former Local 965 member Mark Martin in 1975 gave the early history of the Local in “From Discord to Harmony.”

The Local has had an online presence since 2007. From February 2007 to April 2012, the 965 maintained a blog, Campus and Community News. Then this website was begun in November 2017. In between and continuing, the Local has held forth on social media though its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Local 965 has long been a member of the Northwest Arkansas Labor Council. As an archive its website last updated in 2013 is of interest.

Why did Local 965 reaffiliate?

In its five decades through 2019, APEU’s membership numbers fluctuated but diminished. Growth resumed in 2017 when some U of A faculty and staff looked for ways to oppose legislation allowing gun owners with enhanced concealed carry licenses to take firearms on campuses, which was passed as Act 562 of 2017. They joined Local 965.

In 2018 AFSCME merged its Arkansas council into Louisiana’s. Local 965 officers found the enlarged council unresponsive — chiefly for not allowing lowering of dues, which hurt 965 recruiting — and resumed informally calling themselves the APEU. A quorum of the APEU general membership cast written ballots on Nov. 21, 2019, after receiving pitches from several national unions, to affiliate with the Arkansas Education Association/National Education Association, effective January 2020. The membership was impressed with AEA/NEA’s influence in the state capital and its leadership’s eagerness for higher education representation. Their dues table took support staff’s lower salaries into account. In a state with no collective-bargaining rights for public-sector employees, our members decided the best way to pursue a pro-worker policy was to be represented by the most effective lobbyists for education employees in Arkansas, the AEA/NEA, which boasts over 12,000 members statewide.

What impact did the June 2018 Supreme Court ruling Janus v. AFSCME have here?

As Arkansas already is a right-to-work state, Janus seems to have had little immediate impact. However, the ruling forces public employee unions to change how they operate nationwide, which does have an impact at the local level in policies, financing and influence.

The General Assembly’s ever-more-constrictive majority enacted Act 612 of 2021, prohibiting collective bargaining by public employees even though that activity already has been banned in Arkansas.

What voting precinct do I live in, and how can I find out who my state legislators are?

The Arkansas secretary of state’s office provides Voter Registration Information with which you can sign up, along with policy summaries.

Type your name and birth date in Voter View, under Registration Information, to see whether you’re duly registered and your poll precinct numbers (general and school district); under Polling Place Search type in your home’s residential address (which has an autofill feature) for the addresses and hours of polling places.

To learn your residence’s state Senate and House district numbers and your legislators, use the Arkansas District Finder: on the left side type in your address under Find My District.

Alternately, to learn your home’s districts or zones, again use Voter View in the following way: In the gray section titled Polling Place Search, type in your residential address — let the system autofill to complete your official address — then click View Locations. The list will show you district numbers even of township and water board but with no person’s names.

Other Election Information

Our FAQs are open and will be revised as needed. Have a question? Please contact us.