This relationship between UNCG and ARA-Slater would last for forty-five years (until 2009), but not without controversy. The first strike against ARA-Slater occurred in December 1964, when black full-time employees objected to a proposed pay cut, even though they were already being paid only ten cents an hour more than primarily white part-time student employees.
|Scene from the picket lines of the ARA Strike, 1969|
Following the walkout, the SGA voted to support the striking workers and to call for a boycott of the cafeteria. In a controversial move, SGA also voted to use student funds to hire an attorney to represent the striking workers. On the night of March 31, a crowd of approximately 1200 students, including activists from A&T, demanded that Chancellor Ferguson answer their demands. Ferguson agreed to address the campus the next day, at which time he stated that he must remain neutral. Behind the scenes, however, Ferguson was involved in the negotiations between ARA-Slater and well-respected black attorney Henry Frye. In the end, ARA-Slater offered the striking workers even more than they had requested, and the strike ended April 2. Despite calls for competitive bidding, ARA-Slater's contract was renewed for the following year.