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 We encourage individuals, union locals and other relevant organizations to donate their papers, memorabilia and historical documents to the Collection.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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100+ Attend May 1 International Worker’s Day March in New Haven

by Melinda Tuhus

may-day-2016-iiMore than a hundred people marched through downtown New Haven Sunday May 1, in the annual immigrants’ rights action. An enthusiastic crowd led by Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA) braved cold May showers on May Day this year.

The march included mostly young activists, children and college students. There were many signs and banners and robust chanting. No more deportations!

The marchers were accompanied by a lively group of very humorous and energetic “Radical Cheerleaders.” As the group walked down Chapel Street, the chants called for free education and free health care for all, as well as immigrants’ labor rights. Yale senior Sebi Medina-Tayac, a member of the Piscataway Nation as well as ULA, said the group wanted to bring attention especially to immigrant labor in New Haven, which is concentrated in construction and food service.

ULA works to create a vision for workers’ rights and freedom for all people based not only on lefty labor movements, but also to show the labor movement as something that’s diverse, changing, global and inclusive of people from all backgrounds regardless of citizen status or the color of their skin.

may-day-2016-iMarchers stopped to chant in front of restaurants that they say have mistreated their workers. They said Atticus restaurant fired a long-time worker who spoke out against a pay cut and hired a union-busting firm to thwart the mostly immigrant workers’ attempt to unionize. The owner was not available and a manager said their policy was not to comment on the charges.

The march also stopped at Calhoun College to protest the college named after an avowed racist.

Thank you to New Haven Workers Association – Unidad Latina en Acción for continuing to fight for the dignity of all our communities! Together they seek to build unity for racial, gender and economic justice, including defending the freedom and dignity of and respect for all people and the planet.

Demand for Union Recognition at Zane’s Cycles

(edited from press release – ed.)

On May 21 workers and community members gathered at Zane’s Cycles (330 East Main St., Branford) to protest what they claim to be owner Chris Zane’s exploitative practices.

zanes-storeIn September 2015, workers at Zane’s Cycles facility voted overwhelmingly under federal labor law to bargain collectively for a workplace contract. The workers elected UFCW Local 919 to represent them in contract negotiations. Since then, Chris Zane has agreed to meet eight times to negotiate a contract with the workers. That’s eight negotiating sessions in 8 months.

Among the issues workers want to address, which Zane has refused to reasonably discuss, are:

  • Having a clean, sanitary break room (currently workers eat their lunch in the dirty, greasy work area where they assemble thousands of bikes for Zane)
  • Adequately heated and cooled working area (workers tell us it is often too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer… many have to wear coats while they work in the winter)
  • Paid sick days (workers lose money when they or a family member is sick)
  • Paid vacation days (after building thousands of bikes for Zane, workers can’t even count on a paid vacation after so much hard work)
  • Paid time off to mourn the death of a family member (Zane won’t even agree to pay a worker who has to go to a funeral for a family member!!)

Workers say they feel exploited. Because of the owner’s behavior, Zane’s Cycles has been charged with violating federal labor law. The charges are currently before the National Labor Relations Board. Workers and community members gathered to protest Chris Zane’s bad faith bargaining and his unfair labor practices.

zane-protester

Press Contact: Jorge Cabrera (203) 499-8694.

Labor History: Looking Back, Moving Forward – Annual Conference June 5

by Joan Cavanagh, GNHLHA director/archivist

Members and friends of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association are invited to its annual conference and meeting on Sunday, June 5, from 1:30-4:30 p.m. at 267 Chapel St., New Haven. The conference, “Labor History: Looking Back, Moving Forward,” will honor the organization’s late President, Nicholas Aiello, showcase its 28-year history and discuss plans for the future.

Author Anthony Riccio, who interviewed Nick for his books, The Italian American Experience in New Haven and Farms, Factories and Families will present “Sisters and Sweatshops: The Life of Nick Aiello,” and will give this year’s Augusta Lewis Troup Award to Louise Fortin, Nick’s sister and a retired garment worker.

Frank Annunziato, outgoing Executive Director of the American Association of University Professors, University of Rhode Island Chapter, who co-founded LHA with Aiello in 1988, will discuss the organization’s mission and its early years, inviting contributions from others who were among its first members. The Director, Joan Cavanagh, and current Executive Board members, including Bill Berndtson, President, and Steve Kass, Vice President, will talk about LHA’s accomplishments during the first 16 years of the 21st century, including its work to produce a labor history curriculum for Connecticut’s public schools.

As always, there will be time for refreshments and socializing. The organization’s troubadour, noted musician Frank Panzarella, will provide labor songs.

If you want to learn more about LHA’s history, have ideas about how to move forward in the 21st century, and/or simply want to learn more about LHA, please join us on June 5th to look back at what has been accomplished and to imagine and plan the future. For more information, please call (203) 668-9082 or contact joan@labor.history.org.

International Workers’ Day: Fighting for Our Future, May 1

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

The People’s World in Connecticut is hosting its annual celebration of International Workers’ Day on Sunday, May 1 at 4 p.m. at the King-Davis Labor Center, 77 Huyshope Ave., Hartford. The lives of workers and the 99% are on the line here and around the world and people are in motion. On May Day 2016 we are “Fighting for Our Future.”

We are honored to welcome keynote speaker John Wojcik, editor of People’s World and vice president of the International Labor Communications Association who lives in Chicago.

A panel including representatives of state workers and immigrants and those struggling for jobs in Connecticut will highlight key demands of the moment.

The program includes a presentation of May Day Around the World, music and home made buffet. Donation is $5 or what you can afford. A fund appeal for the annual People’s World will be made. For more information, call (203) 624-4254.

Unidad Latina en Acción and Rosa DeLauro Push to Stop Wage Theft

Brothers Axel and Henry Tubac worked for a company installing kitchens. For the first two years they were paid without fail. Then, for six and seven weeks, respectively, their employer stopped paying them.

When they met with U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro at New Haven Legal Assistance headquarters Tuesday afternoon, the brothers still hadn’t been paid.  They have filed suit against their former employer for wage theft.

“It was just a nightmare what happened to me,” Axel Tubac recalled. “I did not have food. I talked to my boss many, many times. He just seemed like he don’t care. He owes me about $4,000; $500 in overtime that he did not pay.”

….

Lugo was arrested on Nov. 22 for disturbing the peace during a protest outside of Goodfellas. He argued that the police are more interested in harassing him for protesting rather than going after restaurant owners that are allegedly committing the far more serious crime of stealing from their employees and thumbing their noses at the law.

To read the entire article with all the photos, visit: DeLauro Targets Wage Theft | New Haven Independent

 

Labor History Association Annual Conference and Meeting, June 5: Looking Back, Going Forward

by Joan Cavanagh, GNHLHA Archivist/ Director

This year’s annual conference and meeting of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association will honor the organization’s late President, Nicholas Aiello, showcase its 28 year history and give our members and friends an opportunity to brainstorm about the future.

Frank Annunziato, who co-founded LHA with Nick in 1988, will give a presentation about the organization’s mission and its early years, inviting contributions from others who were among its first members. The Director and current Executive Board members, including Bill Berndtson, President, and Steve Kass, Vice President, will talk about LHA’s work during the first 16 years of the 21st century.

Author Anthony Riccio, who interviewed Nick for his books, The Italian American Experience in New Haven and  Farms, Factories and Families will present “Sisters and Sweatshops: The Life of Nick Aiello” and will give this year’s Augusta Lewis Troup Award to Louise Fortin, Nick’s sister and a retired garment worker.

As always, there will be time for refreshments and socializing and our troubadour, Frank Panzarella, will serenade us with labor songs.

If you have memories to share about Nick or the organization’s history, ideas about how we should move forward in this new century, and/or simply want to learn more about LHA, please join us on June 5th to look back at what has been accomplished and to imagine and plan the future of our mission to document and celebrate working class history.

2016 Annual Conference and Meeting: Labor History: Looking Back, Going Forward

Joan Cavenaugh, Archivist/Director, GNH Labor History Association

The theme of this year’s annual conference and meeting on Sunday, June 5, from 1:30 to 4:40 p.m., has a special poignancy given the death of our co-founder and President Emeritus, Nicholas Aiello, last November, as well as the passing of so many of our members in recent years. We will be honoring them and looking back at the history of this organization as we also envision our future.

laborAnthony Riccio’s presentation, “Sisters and Sweatshops: The Life of Nick Aiello,” will be a keynote, with discussion to follow. We urge all who have memories of Nick and stories to share to come prepared to do so!

There will also be a presentation about LHA’s 28 year history, followed by a discussion of its future. This is a crucial time not only to look back at what has been accomplished, but to imagine and begin to plan ways to accomplish the organization’s continuing goals in a social climate that is markedly different than it was in 1988. We need all hands on deck for this discussion session!

This year’s Augusta Lewis Troup award will be presented to Louise Fortin, sister of Nicholas Aiello and a retired garment worker.

The conference will conclude with the annual meeting, where members in good standing will vote on the newest by-laws revisions and for the slate of officers for 2016-2018.

If you have memorabilia from Nick’s life or from the 28 years of the Labor History Association’s work, please contact us ASAP. We’re thinking about possible formats to display such things for posterity.
Visit the conference website at http://www.conference.ctcor.org.

Job Openings for Project Labor Organizers

by Cara Jennings, NY Communities for Change

New York Communities for Change is hiring Project Labor Organizers to join the exciting Fight for $15 Campaign.  We are reaching out to activist groups to spread the word about these great jobs. Can you please share the below job postings with your network via e-mail and social media? We offer salaried positions plus benefits — paid work for a good cause. We encourage activists with organizing experience to apply. See the job listing below and apply today!  Please contact Cara Jennings if you have any questions – cararyanjennings@gmail.com.

Position: “Fight for 15” Project Labor Organizer with New York Communities for Change Location: New York City. Compensation: Competitive salary commensurate with experience, starting at $40,000/year. Individual health care and dental coverage is provided, as well as car allowance and paid time off.

Details: The New York City “Fight for 15” campaign is seeking candidates committed to the fight for economic and social justice and to raising work place standards for thousands of fast food and low wage workers in New York City. This is an exciting opportunity to work for an innovative and ground-breaking campaign that is bringing together fast food and low wage workers to hold corporations and employers accountable, to improve working conditions, and to fight for $15 an hour and a union. Project positions are available immediately. For job qualifications and online application, go to http://SEIU.org. Search for “Labor Organizer, New York City ‘Fight for $15’ campaign” for this position. Other SEIU jobs are also on this website.

The NYCC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Unidad Latina en Acción Against Wage Theft

Joseph Foran, ULA

On Dec. 2, about 15 members of Unidad Latina en Acción and allies met with Mayor Harp and Police Chief Esserman.  We read to them a letter that documented the many specific cases of Goodfellas Restaurant failing to pay employees minimum wage. A wage theft victim from Thai Taste gave his personal testimony.

Mario Cerame, an attorney on 1st Amendment rights, sent a letter to Mayor Harp outlining the violations that the New Haven Police Department made when stopping a protest outside of Goodfellas on Nov. 20 and arresting John Lugo, charging him with disorderly conduct.

We will be meeting with Mayor Harp’s office to follow up on our policy recommendations. Mayor Harp and Chief Esserman must condemn the actions of the officers who violated our constitutional right to assemble without police intimidation and retaliation. Our members have the right to protest anonymously, and it is illegal and inappropriate to demand identification, especially when NHPD and Goodfellas have threatened to use IDs to create a blacklist. Officers must be educated that a civilian noise complaint alone is not grounds for arrest. We also assert our right to record any interactions our members have with police. Our families shall not be threatened, and officers shall not question our decision to bring children to peaceful protests. New Haven must immediately revoke the outdoor seating license of Goodfellas restaurant. It is unacceptable that our city is facilitating a criminal enterprise at Goodfellas, an enterprise that has been found guilty of wage theft on multiple occasions by multiple government agencies and is currently under investigation for forced labor, wage theft and other threats to the health and safety of New Haven residents. The City of New Haven gave Goodfellas the license, and the City of New Haven is the only entity that can revoke it.

Two members of ULA (Karim Calle and I) agreed to attend meetings of the Community Policing Task Force to address the issues we raised in our letter. We are also collaborating with Board of Alders on wage theft. Meanwhile, public actions against wage theft at Goodfellas, Thai Taste, and other establishments continue.

Amistad Awards Rally Calls for Justice for All

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

From Ariel Johnson’s beautiful rendition of Change is Gonna Come to the closing performance by Ice the Beef Stop the Violence Start the Peace, the 2015 People’s World Amistad Awards inspired young and old alike with its message of unity and struggle.

Themed “Justice for All – In Solidarity with Black and Latino Youth – Stop the Right-wing Attacks,” the event greeted actions by youth to end racism and achieve a future with hope and dignity.

“The 2016 elections are the battleground for every democratic right we’ve ever won,” declared Joelle Fishman in the Call to Action. “We can stop….candidates who want to bring us back 175 years. We will not go back! We must go forward!”

Awardees included Jill Marks, a leader of New Haven Rising and Alder-elect in Ward 28; Ciro Gutierrez, member-leader of SEIU 32 BJ building cleaners union in Hartford, and Cindy Harrity, Communication Workers of America Local 1298 organizer, retired.

Marks said she was moved to become a grassroots leader after knocking on thousands of doors and hearing the problems of ordinary families. She urged those present to join the fight for good jobs and attend a New Haven Rising rally Dec. 12.

Gutierrez, born in Peru, described how he became involved in the social movement during the right-wing coup in his country. When his family came to U.S. after losing their public sector jobs to privatization, he continued his commitment to workers’ rights through his union.

Harrity, unable to project her voice due to illness, prepared comments read by husband John Harrity. Cindy, well known for her successes as a union organizer, urged those present to “be unreasonable” when confronted with exploitation, unfairness or any injustice.

The awards were held on the 96th anniversary of the Communist Party USA. Edie Fishman, who joined the YCL at 14, now in her 80th year in the working-class movement, received flowers from the youth. She recounted experiences which won social security, unemployment compensation, health and safety on the job, and ending Jim Crow racial segregation. “When we stick together and fight together we can win,” she said.

Performances also included Capoeira by Raca em Moviemento Dance Studio and poetry by Gaylord Slaters and Aaron Jafferis.

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