Halford to speak at Labor Spring in Arkansas

SSMRC Political Director Rick Halford will be among the speakers at an event aimed at highlighting ways unions and collective action by workers can alleviate the most pressing problems facing northwest Arkansas residents.

The Northwest Arkansas Labor Council and the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville Education Association/Local 965 will host the Northwest Arkansas Labor Spring Teach-In at the Fayetteville Public Library on April 8, from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Issues in northwest Arkansas that collective bargaining could positively affect, according to the event organizers, include: low wages and persistent poverty, especially among children; economic inequality; and the growing marginalization of working people in public life.

“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,” said Michael Pierce, one of the organizers. “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 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.”

In addition to Halford, speakers will include representatives from the Arkansas AFL-CIO, Starbucks Workers’ Union, Venceremos, University of Arkansas Education Association/Local 965, and the International Association of Fire Fighters.

The Northwest Arkansas Labor Spring Teach-In is part of a series of similar events being held on or near college and university campuses throughout the nation. 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. Learn more.