May Day 2018 — Fighting Together for Justice, Equality and Peace

by Joelle Fischman, People’s World CT

The lives of workers, their families and the 99% are on the line here and around the world, and people are in motion. On May Day 2018 we are “Fighting Together for Justice, Equality & Peace.”

The annual Connecticut People’s World rally for International Workers’ Day will be held on Sunday, May 6, at 4 p.m. at the King-Davis Labor Center, 77 Huyshope Ave, Hartford.

The event will be highlighted by a report back from partici-pants on the four UNITE HERE buses that traveled from New Haven to Memphis for the I AM 2018 conference and march held fifty years after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated while supporting striking sanitation workers.

The occasion attracted 20,000 members of unions, faith, community, immigrant and youth groups exemplifying an approach to labor organizing that encompasses all working people.

The UNITE HERE choir and Ice the Beef Youth who traveled to Memphis will perform.

A solidarity panel will include group home workers and immigrant workers facing strike or recently on strike, and union members running for public office in 2018. The event will include an action in support of key worker-friendly bills still before the state legislature.

A PowerPoint of May Day Around the World will highlight the struggles of workers on every continent. A homemade buffet will be served.

On May 1, 1886, thousands of workers marched in Chicago to demand relief from brutal 12- and 14-hour workdays. A few days later, a suspicious bomb blast killed several Chicago police and protesters during a meeting in Haymarket Square. Four of the march leaders were framed up and executed. In their memory, May Day was set as a day of international workers’ struggle and solidarity. In the United States, May Day took on new life when immigrant workers from Latin America held mega marches for their rights in 2006. May Day 2018 is part of the resistance against the anti-people Trump/Republican agenda and the rising move-ments to put peace, planet and people before profits. Donation is $5 or what you can afford. A fund appeal for the People’s World will be made. For rides from New Haven email ct-pww@pobox.com or call (203) 624-4254.

Ready for Researchers: The Greater New Haven Labor History Association Collection at the UConn, Storrs

by Joan Cavanagh, Archivist and former Director, GNH Labor History Association

Thirteen groups of records, photographs, artifacts, newspaper articles, and audio and videotapes documenting slices of New Haven’s rich working class and union history are now available to researchers at the Greater New Haven Labor History Association Collection held in the Archives and Special Collections repository at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.

The records include materials from New Haven’s garment workers’ unions; the Typographical Union of New Haven (ITU Local 47); the New Haven Federation of Teachers Local 933; the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers Local 299; and selected papers of the preeminent labor historian David Montgomery, as well as memorabilia from the life of Nicholas Aiello, business agent and organizer for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, and Joseph Rourke, Secretary-Treasurer of the CT AFL-CIO from 1946 until the late 1950s.

The Collection also includes the organizational records of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association itself, from its founding in 1988 through 2016.

The finding guides for the Collection may be accessed at the following link: hdl.handle.net/11134/20002:860317492.

For more information or to access any materials in the collection, contact Laura Katz Smith, Archivist, Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Library, (860) 486-2516, laura.katz.smith@uconn.edu.

And don’t forget to check out the exhibit about Winchester workers, “Our Community at Winchester,” at exhibits.winchesterworkers.gnhlha.org. A book is currently in the works, and the physical exhibit will be on view at Southern Connecticut State University in the fall of 2018. Stay tuned!!

Creating a Vision for the GNH Labor History Association Nov. 29

by Steve Kass, President, GNH Labor History Association

After a 5-year organizing effort to get labor history taught in the Connecticut public schools, the “labor history bill” was ceremonially signed into law on July 29, 2015, by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. The legislation directs the state department of education to make a curriculum available in “labor history and law, including organized labor, the collective bargaining process, and existing legal protections in the workplace.”

Connecticut became only the third state in the nation to have a bill that supports the teaching of labor history in the public schools.

Since then, the GNHLHA has spent the last two years trying to get the labor history curriculum downloaded onto the Connecticut State Department of Education social studies division website.

The final step is to disseminate the labor history curriculum to Connecticut teachers.

Please join us from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at the New Haven Central Labor Council (267 Chapel St., New Haven) to discuss the future of our organization. Pizza will be served promptly at 5:30 p.m. This session will be facilitated by SEIU union organizer Steve Schrag. We need your input and energy!!

For more information, go to laborhistory.org.

People’s World Amistad Awards: Resisting Together

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

This year’s People’s World Amistad Awards are dedicated to “Resisting Together So We Can Move Forward.” The event will take place on Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. at the First and Summerfield United Methodist Church, 425 College St, New Haven.

We are excited to announce this year’s awardees Peggy Buchanan, Rep. Robyn Porter, and Camila and Carolina Bortolleto. All are on the front lines of resisting the policies of white supremacy, hate, division and fear that threaten democracy and our future. All are fierce warriors in the forefront of demanding priorities for workers’ rights, peace and equality that put people and planet before profits.

The Awards will take place on Saturday, December 9 at 4 p.m. at the First and Summerfield United Methodist Church at 425 College Street, New Haven. Marco Reyes took sanctuary there in July to resist deportation and separation from his family. The event will pay tribute to the Reyes family and Unidad Latina en Acción. The unions at Yale have their offices at the church. The event will pay tribute to the ongoing struggle of Unite Here Local 33 for union recognition and a contract.

  • Peggy Buchanan is Connecticut AFL-CIO campaign manager and former president, Greater Hartford Labor Council who has dedicated her life to solidarity and organizing workers on the job, in the community and to run for public office.
  • Rep. Robyn Porter represents the 94th District and co-chairs the Labor Committee in the Connecticut General Assembly where she leads for social justice, equality and workers’ rights as an elected official and at the grass roots level.
  • Camila and Carolina Bortolleto are courageous twins who co-founded CT Students For a Dream which has become a statewide voice and organization of youth “undocumented and unafraid” and organizes for the rights of all immigrants.

The annual Awards are presented to allies by the Connecticut People’s World Committee on the occasion of the 98th anniversary of the Communist Party USA. We come together in hope and unity as increased economic and racial inequalities, climate change and war give rise to new organizing by youth, low-wage workers and the 99% toward a society that puts people and planet before corporate profits.

In Solidarity, People’s World Amistad Awards Committee

We invite you to place an ad in the greeting book and take a bloc of tickets to honor the awardees and the occasion. The ad deadline is Nov. 17, 2017. Ads range in price, starting at $15. Tickets are $10. For details, contact People’s World Amistad Awards, (203) 624-4254. E-mail formatted ad copy or text: ct-pww@pobox.com or mail to: 37 Howe St, New Haven, CT 06511.

Mary Johnson, March 29, 1922-Aug. 13, 2017

It is with great sadness that the Progressive Action Roundtable Planning Committee informs our readers that Mary Johnson, a founding member of PAR and leader, strategist and active participant in most of PAR’s committees, has passed on.

We dedicate this issue of our newsletter to Mary. Without her guidance, ideas for informing the public and each other of rallies and events, optimism in the struggle for justice and her persistence in fighting for people’s rights throughout the years, there may not have even been a Progressive Action Roundtable. We all owe so much to her.

Frank Panzarella, “Mary was the den mother for most of the New Haven activist community.”

Mary was directly active in many of the organizations that are PAR-affiliated. She was also active in most of New Haven’s progressive organizations. She most likely was a founding member of many.
She was a great political and personal influence on many. PAR encourages our readers to send in their reminiscences of her. In the words of Frank Panzarella, “Mary was the den mother for most of the New Haven activist community.”

A memorial is being planned for her with details upcoming.

New Haven Labor History Association Annual Conference and Meeting June 25: Reviving the Labor Movement

Steve Kass, GNHLHA Executive Board, President

This year’s annual conference and meeting of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association (GNHLHA) will honor an organization and an individual with the “Pass It On” awards in addition to having a keynote address on reviving the labor movement.

The honorees are IRIS (Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services) and Frank R. Annunziato.

1) IRIS started in 1982 and continues to this day to be a vital organization that works in New Haven to resettle refugees and other immigrants from around the world since 1982. IRIS is named after the iris flower, which thrives all over the world and is a symbol of hope and faith.

The numbers and nationalities of clients have fluctuated as the world has changed in the past 34 years. Currently, IRIS addresses the critical needs of hundreds of refugees; about 420 arrived in New Haven and surrounding towns in 2016. Refugees come from a wide range of war-torn countries, including Sudan, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

IRIS recognizes that welcoming persecuted people from other countries is both an ancient and universal custom, and part of a long tradition in the United States. In today’s political climate of hatred and mistrust, organizations such as this provide an extremely important beacon of hope to us all. This award also recognizes the historical link between immigration and labor.

2) Frank R. Annunziato’s career and commitment to the labor movement spans almost 50 years. He is an academic (PhD thesis on collective bargaining in education), writer, teacher, workshop leader, activist, labor historian and organizer. He recently retired as the Executive Director of the University of Rhode Island, American Association of University Professors after 17 years. He was the founding president of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association in 1988.

As always, there will be time for refreshments and socializing with our troubadour, Frank Panzarella, serenading us with labor songs. Please join us on Sunday, June 25 from 1:30 – 4 p.m. at the Greater New Haven Central Labor Council, 267 Chapel St.

May Day/International Workers’ Day and Immigrants’ Rights Rally and March

Dozens of area organizations endorsed the day-long May Day and immigrants’ rights rally on the New Haven Green where many hundreds enjoyed entertainment, speakers and exhibits. The day ended with a march from downtown through Grand Avenue, a great example of networking and building a local coalition of resistance. In addition to the sponsors listed on the flyers, there were many more that helped build this day of action, such as Progressive Action Roundtable, People Against Injustice, May Day Celebration Committee, Food Not Bombs, the Shoreline Green Party and GNH Labor History Association.

The support and solidarity for this year’s May Day was broad. Among the speakers prior to the march was Mayor Toni Harp, who declared that New Haven will remain a city welcoming to immigrants.
RESIST Foundation, which awarded a generous grant for the event, wants more people to know about their work so potential applicants and donors will be aware of Radical Philanthropy. Contact them at 259 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144. Telephone: (617) 623-5110.

Website: resist.org.
Local TV station WTNH posted a video on its website with its news story: wtnh.com/2017/05/01/ new-haven-may-day-protests-take-on-new-urgency-under-trump/

Shops Close On “Day Without Immigrants” | New Haven Independent

At least 40 New Haven businesses kept their stores bolted all day Monday to demonstrate the contribution that immigrants make to the region’s economy.

New Haven’s cuisine was most noticeably impacted by city’s participation in a national “Day Without Immigrants” strike — with restaurants as varied as Kasbah Garden Cafe (owned by a Moroccan) on Howe Street to La Molienda Cafe (owned by a Peruvian) on Grand Avenue all vacant for the day. Less visible were the contractors, like maids and gardeners, who didn’t take any gigs.

“The only way we can really demonstrate ourselves, especially for the ones who don’t have any documents and cannot vote, is to show that we have weight in the economy of this country,” said John Lugo, a 15-year organizer Unidad Latina en Accion (ULA).

Source: Shops Close On “Day Without Immigrants” | New Haven Independent

Letter re: Adjunct Faculty Organizing at UNH

I am writing to ask for your support in the campaign for workers’ rights at the University of New Haven. Contingent faculty are attempting to form a union to improve their working conditions.

As you may know, contingent faculty make up 76% of college educators nationally and 73% of University of New Haven’s campus. Adjuncts make a fraction of the wages and benefits of tenured faculty and have little to no job security from semester to semester. The nature of this type of work means many faculty are working for close to minimum wage with no hope for full-time employment, despite their commitment to providing a quality education to their students.

A letter of support from you, especially one that asks for neutrality from the administration, would be of great benefit to their cause. Neutrality means they will not interfere with the workers’ federally-guaranteed rights to organize a union in their workplace. [….]

Letters can be sent to my email, jodie.leidecker@seiu.org. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you’d like more information regarding this campaign. Thank you for your support of workers’ rights and the improvement of higher education.

Sincerely, Jodie Leidecker, Organizer-in-training, SEIU Faculty Forward in partnership with The 4 C’s (Congress of CT Community Colleges)

Celebrate May Day May 1 with International Workers’ Day Rally and General Strike

Call for General Strike on May 1!

For full video coverage of the May Day festivities, visit http://www.thestruggle.org/Mayday%202017%20in%20New%20Haven.htm.

The rally begins with speakers and performers on the New Haven Green from noon to 5 p.m. on Monday, May 1, and will be followed by a Solidarity March starting at 5 p.m.

New Haven joins a call for a nationwide strike to demonstrate our economic power by not going to work, not going to school and stopping business as usual. We aim to highlight the economic power of workers: immigrants, women, Muslims, LGBTQ folks, Native Americans and African Americans and every other marginalized group that is currently under attack by the Trump administration.

We are asking you to join us and show solidarity: close your business on May 1; don’t go to work; don’t go to school.

Join the rally on the New Haven Green from 12 to 5 p.m. Speakers, live music, children’s activities, and a May pole! Join local justice, peace, equality, and labor groups as well as social service organizations, educators, students, healthcare workers, artists and ALL people on the Green.

Join the international workers’ march from the Green through Fair Haven at 5 p.m.

Funded in part by a grant from RESIST, Somerville, MA; web: http://resist.org; phone: (617) 623-5110.

Changes at the Labor History Association

by Joan Cavanagh, Archivist/Director, GNH Labor History Assoc.

2016 is a year of transition for the Greater New Haven Labor History Association. As of Dec. 31, I will be leaving my position as Archivist/ Director because there is no further funding available to maintain it. LHA will return to its roots as an all-volunteer organization, guided by the efforts of its Executive Board and membership.

To prepare for this change, I am spending this fall organizing our archival holdings (including the historical records of LHA) for transfer to Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at UConn in Storrs. They are establishing a Greater New Haven Labor History Association Collection. The materials we have already gathered will thus be preserved in a climate controlled facility and made available to researchers by UConn’s archivists. We encourage individuals, union locals and other relevant organizations to donate their papers, memorabilia and historical documents to the Collection. Contact Laura Katz Smith at laura.katz.smith@uconn.edu or (860) 486-2516 for information about it.

On a personal note: it has been my privilege and joy to work with the Board and the members of the Labor History Association for the past 16 years. We brought LHA into the 21st century along with its mission to collect, preserve, share and celebrate the history, culture and traditions of working people and their unions in our community and beyond.

Moving forward, LHA will help to ensure that current and future generations understand the heritage and struggles of workers through the creation of a labor history curriculum for Connecticut’s public schools as well as by carrying out other projects spearheaded by the Board and our membership. Please, get involved. If you haven’t yet become a member, please do. If you’re already a member, please consider joining the Board or a project committee. And, if you have a special project you’ve always wanted to see the organization undertake, now’s the time! Remember: We Are All Workers! (P.S. Check out the LHA exhibit on Winchester workers, now showing at Hagaman Memorial Library, East Haven until Nov. 15, and on line at http://exhibits.winchesterworkers.gnhlha.org.)

For a picture of Joan Cavanagh, director of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association, with Craig Gauthier, former president of Local 609 of the International Association of Machinists, visit the link below. They are holding one of the panels of an exhibit on Olin-Winchester labor history, outside Wells Fargo Bank in New Haven visit the link below

: Randall Beach: Winchester exhibit evokes New Haven era of union, community solidarity

Al Marder to be Recognized Aug. 6 at New Haven Peoples Center Reception

A reception and fundraiser highlighting the history of the New Haven Peoples Center will recognize the leadership of it’s president, Alfred L. Marder over a span of 80 years for peace, equality and justice. The event will take place at Coogan Pavilion in Edgewood Park near Whalley Ave and West Rock Ave. from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6, also marking Hiroshima Day.

Al Marder poses with New Haven peace activist and Peace Council member Mary Compton at the Peace Day celebration at the Amistad Memorial statue outside New Haven City Hall Sept. 21, 2015.  The statue was built thanks to his guidance and supervision. Marder is chairman of the Amistad Committee.  (photo: cjzurcher)

Al Marder poses with New Haven peace activist and Peace Council member Mary Compton at the Peace Day celebration at the Amistad Memorial statue outside New Haven City Hall Sept. 21, 2015. The statue was built thanks to his guidance and supervision. Marder is chairman of the Amistad Committee.
(photo: cjzurcher)

As founder of the Amistad Committee who served as chair of the City of New Haven Peace Commission for many years as well as the United Nations International Association of Peace Messenger Cities and the U.S. Peace Council, Marder has been called a “hero for peace.”

A resident of Westville, Marder has been active in New Haven since the age of 14 when he was a student at James Hillhouse High School. He expanded his vision through participation in events at the New Haven Peoples Center. The Peoples Center was founded in 1937 to provides social, cultural and educational opportunities for the community. With Al Marder’s participation, it was the site of the first inter-racial theater group in the city called Unity Players. This was one of many efforts that broke down racial segregation at that time.

Today the Peoples Center hosts the youth group New Elm City Dream, and is home to the immigrant rights group Unidad Latina en Accion as well as the SEIU 32 BJ janitors union and Greater New Haven Peace Council. The space is utilized by many social justice organizations.

The event will include an exhibition of Peoples Center memorabilia, remarks by Marder and refreshments. Donations will be accepted toward the restoration fund for the building which was erected in 1851. The Peoples Center, a site on the Connecticut Freedom Trail, is currently raising $10,000 as part of a grant to restore the windows, roof and entry door.

In his early years, Marder served as Executive Director of the Connecticut CIO Youth and Sports Organization and was President of the New Haven Youth Conference. During World War II and the fight against fascism, Al served in the U.S. Infantry from 1942-1946 in the European Theatre and received a Bronze Star. During the McCarthy period, as one who was persecuted for his ideas, he stood firm for civil liberties. He has supported every civil rights and workers rights struggle of his times.

Marder is known for bringing to light the story of the Amistad captives and its lessons of Black-white unity to achieve freedom. Through all the decades, Marder continues organizing, educating and creating positive change. His depth of knowledge, commitment to equality, powers of persuasion and indomitable spirit inspire generations in New Haven and throughout the world.

Requested donation at the door is $25 or what you can afford, no one will be turned away. Tax deductible contributions to the restoration fund can be sent to PERA / New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe St., New Haven CT o6511.

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