by Dan Piper and Stanley Heller. Promoting Enduring Peace
Union members and supporters met on February 25 in a fundraiser for a branch of the Independent Trade Union of Ukrainian Miners. Despite New Haven’s first snow of the year, they gathered and heard over Zoom from Yuri Samoilov, the president of the Kriviy Rih City Branch of the miners’ union. He had to be translated from Ukrainian to Spanish and from Spanish to English, but it was done swiftly and without a hitch.
Frank Panzarella, a former president of a Connecticut Machinists local and professional singer, entertained with a verse he wrote to the tune of Neil Young’s song “Rockin’ in the Free World” and later sang the traditional labor hymn “Solidarity Forever.” Over Zoom we also heard from Pavel Polska, who was in Mexico and Fabio Bosco, a unionist from Brazil. Rachel Lonchar, a member of Teamsters Local
1150, gave her analysis combining support for the miners’ union and Ukraine’s resistance, but explaining that U.S. government support is being given to weaken Russia in a battle of empires, and warning that U.S. officials would like to entangle Ukraine in U.S. imperial ambitions.
Raffle tickets were sold and winners got everything from Ukrainian tea to cups with Ukrainian colors to a copy of Ukrainian artist Kataya Gritsvea’s depiction of the Russian invasion. An auction was held for a donated print from noted artist and journalist Molly Crabapple, made from a sketch of a main square in Kyiv during her 2022 trip to Ukraine. Bidding went on for a while and a hefty sum was raised for the Ukrainian union.
Teamsters were the biggest group attending the fundraiser, but members and retired members of five or six other unions took part. There was applause when it was announced that John Olsen, the former president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO (who was not able to attend), had made a donation.
The event was sponsored by Workers’ Voice and Promoting Enduring Peace and co-sponsored by the Ukrainian Socialist Solidarity Campaign, the New Haven Federation of Teachers (933R) Retired Teachers Chapter, the Ukraine Solidarity Network and around 15 individual union members.
Contributions can still be sent online via “Chuffed” at https://chuffed.org/project/workersaidtoukraine or by check to Promoting Enduring Peace, 39 Goodrich St., New Haven, CT 06517. Make checks to “Promoting Enduring Peace” and be sure to add in the “Memo” line “for Ukrainian miners.”