[URBANTH-L]Canterbury Statement

Robert T. O'Brien robrien at temple.edu
Sun Dec 5 23:58:10 EST 2004

  Canterbury Statement
  The following statement was composed by participants
  at the Canterbury Convocation in San Francisco (see
  http://wiki.oxus.net/aaaunite for details). It is
  currently being considered for adoption by several
  of the sections in attendance at the conference.

  Please circulate the document to your section heads
  and ask them to sign on. In considering the
  document, please note that it represents points of
  unity. In other words, not everything that was
  discussed is included here, but everything on which
  we agree is.

  November 20, 2004

  San Francisco, California


  Canterbury Statement


  An open letter to the Executive Board (EB) of the
  American Anthropological Association (AAA):


  In response to recent events, we believe that
  reforms need to be made in how the AAA makes
  decisions so that it uses the collective power of
  its membership to advance fundamental human rights
  as well as carries out its functions as a
  professional organization. To that end, we are
  committed to ensure that AAA leaders and membership
  engage in a productive discussion about the
  following: 1) the levels of material support the AAA
  staff needs to negotiate contracts that promote
  collective bargaining and the right to organize
  while protecting the Association from liability, and
  2) the need for greater transparency,
  accountability, and responsiveness in the management
  of the Association, particularly pertaining to
  communication between the AAA staff, its elected
  leadership, and the Association's constituent
  sections, committees, and members.


  We would like the AAA EB to publicly explain what
  mechanisms will be put into place to address the
  above issues. We are particularly concerned that the
  EB consider taking the following steps:

    o Establish an elected Committee on Labor Issues
      composed of AAA members who will conduct ongoing
      consultation with AAA staff, labor leaders,
      labor attorneys, and other academic and
      professional organizations on ethical business
      practices. The committee will seek alliances
      that promote the interests of labor while
      protecting the Association from liability.
    o In anticipation of labor disputes in Washington,
      DC in 2005 and in San Francisco in 2006,
      renegotiate the existing Marriot and Hilton
      contracts to include force majeure
      (“opt-out”) language that protects AAA in
      the event of such disputes.
    o Resolve to ensure that the staff
         o works closely with the Committee on Labor
         o pursues contracts only with union vendors,
         o adds force majeure (“opt-out”) language
           that protects AAA in the event of a labor
           dispute to all future vendor contracts,
         o prioritizes vendors in union environments
           over anti-union, “right-to-work”
         o and increases AAA’s conference liability
    o Evaluate the conference staff and the resources
      available to them, with an eye towards ensuring
      that they are adequately staffed, trained, and
      managed in a way that ensures their actions are
      transparent and that they are accountable and
      responsive to the EB and membership.


Robert T. O'Brien
AAAUnite Ad Hoc Committee
Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Anthropology
Temple University
robrien at temple.edu

"Don't mourn, organize!"
-- Labor organizer Joe Hill, before being murdered in 1915 by a firing squad.

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