Tony Ellis is president of the Central Arkansas Building and Construction Trades Council, the local branch of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s Building Trades Department. Ellis angered boycotting national union leaders by agreeing in April 2002 to allow the Clinton Library to be built with less than one hundred percent union workers. Labor leaders felt that their strong support of Bill Clinton in two presidential election races demanded such an agreement, even though the requirement would break Arkansas law. Ultimately, three-quarters of the 350 construction workers on the Clinton Library site were union members.
Edward Sullivan, president of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department, concluded the conflict, saying, that his organization "can't approve the agreement because it doesn't measure up to our standards, but in deference to our terrific local building trades president Tony Ellis, and the local union leaders who negotiated it, we will not oppose it."
- David M. Halbfinger, "With Latest Battle Resolves, Clinton Library Work Begins," New York Times, June 7, 2002.
- Sherie Winston, "Building Trades are Furious Over Clinton Library Agreement," ENR: Engineering News-Record, 248.23 (June 17, 2002): 17-18.