January 4, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Little Rock, Ark.—The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services is going to terminate its contract with the state branch of the AFL-CIO to help laid-off workers.
The department will save about $100,000 a year by providing those services itself, said assistant director Steve Guntharp. The state Legislative Council had given the federation a short-term contract for fiscal 2016 and delayed extending it for the full year after Rep. Bob Ballinger, co-chair of the Cruz-for-President campaign in the state, argued that it be cancelled, saying that the AFL-CIO had “used thuggery tactics in other places.” “I just hate the way it came down because the AFL-CIO is doing it," Arkansas AFL-CIO President Alan Hughes said Dec. 23. “We served the people really well, and I hope they put as much effort in as we did.” The state AFL-CIO represents unions with about 32,000 members. In 2014, Arkansas ranked 46th in the nation in the percentage of workers represented by unions, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Read more