Canterbury Statement sign now

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:
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.
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.
Resolve to ensure that the staff
o works closely with the Committee on Labor Issues,
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 environments,
o and increases AAAs conference liability insurance.
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.

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    Title Asst. Professor Affiliation Bridgewater College An all-AAA listserv (digest) or bulletin board would have been both appropriate and very doable as an alternative to a radio-button survey, which suggests certain conclusions are foregone. Who knows,
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    Title Professor Affiliation CUNY Section Memberships AAA, AES, Culture.Agriculture This is crucial
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    Title MA Affiliation Business Consultant Section Memberships NAPA, SUNTA, SEAA, SLAA Us anthropologists should come up with a sensible solution, for the sake of the discipline.
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AAA Executive Board

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