Hundreds Rally at the University of New Haven to Support Local 217

by Tyson Odermann & Christina Lee, Yale Daily News, April 10, 2024

After the university refused to meet union members’ demands for job security, more than 100 people rallied to support facilities workers across Connecticut. Over 300 people gathered at the University of New Haven to protest in support of Local 217 UNITE HERE, the union of Hospitality Workers across Connecticut.

The protest was against alleged union busting at the University of New Haven after UNH refused to guarantee job protection for its employees. Union workers, students and other allies of the facilities workers at UNH marched around the campus demanding job security after months of a stand-still with the university regarding contract negotiations. …

After the press conference, protesters began marching around the perimeter of the campus green. As they marched, they chanted, “If we don’t get it, shut it down.” …

[Article can be read in its entirety at]

Amistad Awards: An Enough Is Enough Moment! Time to Organize!

by Connecticut People’s World Committee

In the midst of a national strike wave with thousands of workers standing up against income inequality and march-ing for housing rights, peace, and climate justice, the People’s World Amistad Awards will hold its annual awards rally on the theme, “It’s An Enough Is Enough Moment! Time to Organize!”

The awards ceremony will be held Saturday, December 9, 2023, at 4 p.m. at the historic First and Summerfield United Methodist Church, 425 College St., in New Haven, with a keepsake greeting book. The church is the home to union organizing, including Unite Here Local 34, celebrating its 40th anniversary. A donation of $10 is requested.

In a letter, the committee announced, “People’s World is honored to present the Amistad Award to three wonderful allies and working class champions. Together they represent the kind of unity, solidarity and vision needed to build the movement that can transform our country to put people, peace and planet before profits.”

The three awardees:

Sen. Gary Winfield, a fearless defender of racial, economic and social justice, is always in the forefront with groundbreaking legislation toward equity and a better life for his constituents and all working class people in our state and nation.

Stacie Harris-Byrdsong is the groundbreaking president of AFSCME Council 4 whose courage and leadership is so inspiring as a passionate representative of educators and the needs of children, for equity and economic justice.

Luis Luna is the Husky 4 Immigrants coalition manager whose leadership and dedication for the rights of immigrants as well as an organizer and communicator in many venues, inspires ordinary people to take collective action on their own behalf.

Performance by an Afro-reggae band led by Aklaff Pheeroan, world-renowned artist and outstanding contributor to African-American musical innovations and creative composition, will highlight the program, which is a family event.

The event will stand “IN SOLIDARITY” with the Recovery for All coalition and the Blake St. Tenants Union taking on corporate greed and shifting power to people’s needs and dreams.

This annual event is hosted on the occasion of the 104th anniversary of the Communist Party USA, in the spirit of building unity against racism, red-baiting and all forms of bigotry, and standing for workers rights, equality, peace, democracy, and a better world.

For more information, email [email protected] or visit

Picket Line Report: Meriden NBT School Bus Drivers’ Strike

Eric Goodman, Socialist Revolution New Haven 

The picket line was set up before dawn on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023, by Teamsters Local 671 workers and their supporters. The atmosphere was tense as cars whizzed along Route 5 outside New Britain Transportation in the chilly air. A few scabs, drivers, and office workers hopped the curb before the picketers knew what was happening, but the line was soon extended to block all access. We marched, chanted, and drank coffee to stay warm while other Teamsters arrived from locals as far away as Boston.

Most of the school bus drivers on the line made less than $20/hour and were given fewer than 40 hours a week despite years of work. One woman described how they were given one unpaid bereavement day a year, and how if they took it they would lose an attendance bonus. Their job requires both a CDL and the patience of a saint, but they had reached their tolerance.

Ten or so police officers arrived on cue as the scab buses pulled up the driveway. Eighty-strong picketers formed a marching whirlpool to block the drivers. Some strikers broke off to variously cajole the scabs to turn off their vehicles and insult their integrity. The near-complete strike involved all but five or six drivers, who, I was informed, hardly ever showed up to work normally. How much was the betrayal of these Judases bought for?

We held them back for a good half an hour. “We’re letting two out!” yelled one of the union officials, and the police started shoving workers out of the way. “Get back! We talked to them!” A Teamster officer in a white fleece and khakis pinched my arm and pulled me back as I took my time getting away from a departing bus.

The wind went out of the strikers’ sails as first one more bus and then the rest of the buses were let through the line after perfunctory delays. Still, the strike had done its job. After one more day of striking, the triumphant drivers won a 6% wage increase and the company lost its district bussing contract. tsoc

This Saturday, April 29, 7-9:30 p.m. at the Labor Center: Film Screening of The Wobblies

Come to the New Haven Labor Center Saturday, April 29, 7 p.m. for The Wobblies. a 1979 documentary film about the Industrial Workers of the World. There will also be a slide show and presentation by Steve Thornton on the history of the Wobblies in Connecticut. Hosted by the Greater New Haven Labor History Association.

Recommended donation: $10. The building is wheelchair accessible. This event is in celebration of May Day 2023.

[email protected]. New Haven Labor Center, 267 Chapel St., Enter on 228 Saltonstall Ave.

CT Good Jobs for All Coalition Pushes for Full Employment Legislation in CT

by Frank Panzarella, CT Good Jobs for All Coalition

Activists and labor supporters around the country are once again working to create new full-employment legislation. I hope you all might find time to join in this effort in Connecticut.

Sen. Gary Winfield introduced SB 151, An Act Establishing a Full Employment Trust Fund, to the Labor and Public Employees Committee. The public hearing was held on Feb. 23.

Problem: Across the country, Americans have been struggling due to increased inflation, declining value of wages, and unemployment. As of October 2022, 81,406 Connecticut residents were unemployed.

Solution: SB 151, An Act Establishing a Full Employment Trust Fund. The purpose of this bill is to create a full employment trust fund that will create employment opportunities, job training programs, and recession-proof job creation in the following fields:

Green Jobs:

  • Renewable energy includes creating, installing, funding
    solar and wind power.
  • Mass transportation includes creating, manufacturing,
    operating sustainable vehicles (cars, buses, trains). New
    mass transit infrastructure in the form of additional bus
    routes, railways and train stations across the state.
  • Waste management: coordinating and collecting recycling.
    Care work training programs:
  • Childcare – training programs for childcare providers
  • Elder care – training programs to create jobs for home health aides, nursing home workers
  • Housing rehabilitation
  • Green housing construction

Please contact your state senator and representative and ask them to support this bill. In addition, help spread the word by letting others know. A sample email is below:

Dear ____,

The state legislature has introduced Bill SB 151 that could help establish guaranteed full employment in Connecticut. The bill aims to establish a full employment trust fund that would be used to create job training programs, employment opportunities, and workforce housing.

The Connecticut Jobs and Human Rights Taskforce needs your help! The bill was referred to the Labor and Public Employees Committee, which heard testimony Feb. 23. Please contact your state senator and representative, and let them know you support this bill.

Thank you.

Your Name
Phone number
Email address

Immigrant Workers Respond to New DHS Immigrant Whistleblower Policy

by Megan Fountain, Unidad Latina en Acción

As the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new immigrant workers rights policy, representatives of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Immigrant Work hosted a national press call on Jan. 13 to respond to the new DHS policy, explain how it came about, and what it means for undocumented immigrant workers in the United States.

“This policy came about because of the workers in Connecticut, Mississippi, Georgia, and beyond, who organized and fought against wage theft, sexual harassment, deadly conditions, and workplace ICE raids,” said John Jairo Lugo, Director of Unidad Latina en Acción CT, in a rally with Mayor Justin Elicker in New Haven City Hall Jan. 12. “The real work begins today. This policy will only become a reality if our local and national leaders say it loud and clear: We will stand up for you when you report exploitation, instead of detaining and deporting you.”

“The threat of deportation is like a gun in the boss’s hand, pointed at workers and their rights,” said Yale Law School professor James Bhandary-Alexander, Jan. 12 in New Haven City Hall, calling on President Biden to announce the policy publicly. “Today President Biden could grab that gun right from the boss’s hand.”

People taking part in the national press call included workers, attorneys and organizations advancing first pilot cases of immigrant whistleblower protections from Las Vegas, Nevada; Jackson, Mississippi; and Gainesville, Georgia.

For more about the campaign, go to

Background about the DALE Campaign

To interview CT workers: Megan Fountain, 203-479-2959, [email protected]

For national: Erik Villalobos, 202-643-7348, [email protected]

Graduate and Professional Student Workers Vote to Unionize in Landslide Election

by Megan Vaz, Yale Daily News, Jan. 9, 2023

In a landslide victory, Yale’s graduate and professional student workers have voted to unionize, marking a historic first after decades of organizing on campus. According to the National Labor Relations Board’s final tally, 1,860 of 2,039 voters favored forming a collective bargaining unit under Local 33 – UNITE HERE, the graduate student union that has fought for University recognition since 1990.

Daily Union Elections, which tracks NLRB records, listed Local 33’s election filing as the second largest in the nation in 2022, with 4,000 graduate and professional workers eligible for union representation. Including challenged ballots that went uncounted due to wide vote margin, about two-thirds of those eligible to vote showed up to the polls or mailed in ballots.

“I’ve been looking forward to this day for years,” Local 33 co-President Ridge Liu GRD ’24 said in a Monday press release. “Generations of grad workers have organized before us, and I’m really excited to finally win.”

Yale has officially recognized the results of the election and confirmed that it will begin contract negotiations with Local 33. University President Peter Salovey sent an email to the Yale community shortly after the NLRB’s announcement, stating that the University remained committed to the emphasis on “free expression and mutual respect” that preceded the election. “With today’s result, the university will now turn to bargaining in good faith with Local 33 to reach a contract,” Salovey wrote. “As we work with the graduate student union, we will continue to be guided by our commitment to Yale’s educational and research mission and to the success of all our students.”

On Monday night, Local 33’s members and supporters streamed into the Old Heidelberg bar at the Graduate New Haven hotel for a victory party. The Graduate’s staff secured their first labor contract under Local 217 in the summer of 2022, three months after announcing they were filing to unionize at a Local 33 rally.

“One of two union bars in New Haven,” organizer Abigail Fields GRD ’24 observed. “It’s a historic day in New Haven and there have been graduate workers organizing at Yale for decades. And the win today is really the culmination, in a lot of ways, of generations of organizing, and that feels really incredible, and really powerful and moving to be a part of.”

[Article can be read in its entirety at]

Yale and Local 33 Agree on Union Election Date and Voter Eligibility


by Megan Vaz, Yale Daily News, Nov. 16, 2022 

After weeks of negotiation between Yale and Local 33, the National Labor Relations Board has set official dates, terms and eligibility rules for the graduate and professional worker union election. 

The election — the product of decades of Local 33 organizing on campus, including the collection of thousands of union authorization signatures over the past year — will occur on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Eligible voters, as deter-mined by the NLRB, will decide through a simple majority vote whether or not to form a collective bargaining unit with University recognition. 

“I’m glad that the Yale administration is listening to the will of graduate workers and allowing us to proceed with our election with no delays,” Javier Porras Madero GRD ’26 wrote in a Local 33 press release. “I can’t wait to cast my vote to win a union for myself and my coworkers!”

University spokesperson Karen Peart affirmed to the News that the University is satisfied with the settled election terms. Peart also wrote that University Provost Scott Strobel “has encouraged graduate and professional school students to take an active role in weighing the issues involved in unionization,” including in a previous statement shared with the community. 

Just three weeks ago, the union filed an official petition with the signed authorization of three-quarters of eligible voters. Four days later, the University announced it would hold a recognized election for the first time, as federal labor law requires employers to respond to petitions within two weeks.

After a few short weeks of election term negotiations, which included hearings over voter eligibility and an agreement to accept both manual and mail-in ballots, the University and Local 33 will now prepare for their first-ever union election. 

Although Local 33 has spent the past three decades organizing for a union, the finalization of election terms this week marks the closest the group has ever come to official unionization.

Connecticut to Join Poor Peoples March on Washington June 18

by New Haven Peoples Center

Preparations are underway in Connecticut to join thousands of people from across the country at the June 18, 2022 Mass Poor Peoples and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly “March on Washington DC and to the Polls,” led by Rev. Dr. William Barber.

“There are 140 million poor and low-income people in this country,” says Barber. “If we unite together, we have the power to overturn the interlocking injustices that keep us all struggling,” including systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the war economy, and the false moral narrative of religious nationalism.

The New Haven Peoples Center is organizing a charter bus to attend the march in the nation’s capitol. Participants will represent the struggles unfolding in Connecticut since the pandemic demanding racial and economic equality and the rights of essential workers and all workers.

“There are abundant resources to meet our needs, and we march to summon the political will to do so,” says the call to the march referring to rising billionaire wealth and the bloated military budget.

In this session of the Connecticut General Assembly, the Recovery for All coalition and many unions and community and faith groups organized for pandemic pay, work scheduling and other measures to improve conditions for low-wage workers. This week a bill prohibiting employers from requiring attendance at anti-union “captive audience” meetings was signed into law, making it easier for workers who want union representation to organize.

The march on Washington will launch a mass mobilization to register voters and get out the vote this year in response to increased voter suppression efforts across the country.

Organizational partners for the march include over 200 union, faith, peace and environmental justice groups.

March organizers say that the assembly “will be a generationally transformative declaration of the power of poor and low-wealth people and our moral allies to say that this system is killing ALL of us and we can’t…we won’t…WE REFUSE TO BE SILENT ANYMORE.”

The Peoples Center has issued an invitation to young people and everyone to participate in what promises to be an inspiring and historic experience that will boost ongoing organizing in Connecticut.

Bus reservations can be made by filling out this electronic form: or leaving a phone message at 203-624-8664.

McDonald’s Workers Win Jobs Back in COVID-19 Layoff Case

by Ian Kullgren, Bloomberg Law, Jan. 3, 2022

A federal labor judge ordered the reinstatement of four McDonald’s workers laid off by a Connecticut franchisee in 2020, sending a warning shot to employers who use the pandemic as a pretense to purge union activists.

The workers, who had participated in a public union campaign before the pandemic, were furloughed in early 2020 from a McDonald’s Corp. restaurant at an Interstate 95 service plaza in Darien, Conn., as COVID-19 disrupted travel.

Many of their colleagues were furloughed as well. But their employer, Michell Enterprises, a franchise company that owns several McDonald’s restaurants in the Northeast, called back furloughed workers a few weeks later—except for the four union supporters.

In a lengthy opinion, National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge Donna Dawson suggested the workers were unlawfully fired, ordering that they be reinstated and provided with back pay. She wrote that the employer “kept track of and were aware of various union rallies, events and press releases which included quotations and even photographs” of the four union supporters.

“I find based on the totality of the circumstances, including the almost complete unreliability of Respondent’s witnesses, that their arguments are without merit and that their reasons for its actions are based on pretext,” the judge added.

The workers are backed by Service Employees International Union 32BJ as part of a broader effort to organize workers under multiple brands at Connecticut highway rest areas, as organized labor seeks a crucial foothold at McDonald’s and other fast-food chains. Three of the workers also filed a lawsuit in Connecticut Superior Court under a state law requiring employers to re-hire laid-off pandemic workers before replacing them.

[To read the article in its entirety, please go to]

Car Caravan and Rally for Respect at Yale May 5

Join us Wednesday, May 5 at 5 p.m. for a Car Caravan and Rally for Respect, an event with Local 34 UNITE HERE, Local 217 UNITE HERE, Local 33 UNITE HERE, Students Unite Now and New Haven Rising, starting at 1 Prospect St., New Haven.

For the last year, many Yale workers have been essential workers on the frontlines of higher education. We have worked to provide health care, to keep the Yale community safe, to facilitate online learning, and to ensure successful University operations.

It’s been over five years since Yale committed to hiring 1,000 New Haven residents into good jobs at the university—and we are still waiting.

Meanwhile, Yale’s wealth continues to grow every day. And on May 5 at 5 p.m, we’re going to show Yale that it’s time — time for Yale to step up and pay its fair share. Now is the time for Yale to commit to protecting our union standard and our job security. Now is the time for Yale to honor its commitments to New Haven and help ensure the city recovers from this crisis.

Come out to join other Yale workers, New Haven Rising, and our allies on 5/5 at 5 p.m. on the corner of Prospect and Grove to demand respect for our union and the New Haven community. All are welcome to join by car, bike, or by foot. Social distancing, masks, and all other necessary safety precautions will be followed. When we fight together, we win!

Home Health Care Workers from New Haven Lobby for Insurance, Sick Time, as Hartford Protest Prompts Mass Arrests

by Ben Lambert, New Haven Register, April 9, 2021

Anthony Ligon and Terrell Williams, both New Haven residents, provide comfort and care for others as home health care workers. But they don’t have health insurance of their own. They and fellow members of SEIU District 1199, a chapter of the New England Health Care Employees Union, called for legislators to grant them that level of support and stability Thursday at the state Capitol in Hartford, staging a protest that ended with the arrests of 20 people, according to state police.

Ligon and Williams said Friday they attended the rally in hopes of securing benefits such as health insurance, sick time, vacation time and other benefits. The union has called for the state legislature to pass legislation that raises the minimum wage for such workers to $20 per hour by 2023 and create a pathway to affordable health care.

“We are long-term home care (workers) without long-term benefits,” Ligon said. “We were pretty much there to fight for some basic human rights.”

Read the entire article at

Articles, video and photos are on Facebook page of SEIU 1199 New England

Why Are Worker Co-operatives Rising in the United States?

by Robin Latta and Lindsay Mathews, PAR readers

One person, one vote.

How would you like to vote for who your next work supervisor will be? Do you think you should have a say in how much you and your co-workers make? And, do you believe you have a right to vote on what you need to stay safe in your workplace?

These democratic rights are yours if you are part owner of a worker co-operative.

Visualize yourself as a partner in a worker-owned co-operative. As a partner, you get to vote on your own and your co-partners wages, working conditions, and where the profits of the enterprise go. Not only that, but people who are partners in a worker co-operative have a different, more personal, motivating approach to their work because they are working for themselves!

The basic structure of worker co-operatives makes the workers feel as though they have their shoes on straight instead of backward. This may sound like a worker’s paradise, but democracy is hard. It’s difficult.

The alternative, however, is corporate power acting like Santa Claus. Here the bosses and corporate thieves gift to the workers what they will receive from the fruits of their labors. Although a union in a corporate workplace advances workers’ rights, for those of us who want a truly democratic workplace, co-operatives can be the better choice.

In the US, corporate Santas/CEOs are paid over 300 times as much as the typical worker. In New Haven, corporate-owned Subway and Ann Taylor recently closed. Had they been worker co-operatives, the workers would have been able to make the decisions needed to keep everyone employed proving, again, that worker co-operatives are more resilient even during tough times.

Visualize a worker cooperative at the North Pole!

Suggested resources:

Valley Alliance of Worker Co-operatives, (413) 268-5800 or [email protected]
United States Federation of Worker Co-ops, (415) 292-7277
or [email protected]

Book on Workers at Winchester Now Available

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

Our Community at Winchester: The City and Its Workers at New Haven’s Gun Factory is now available for purchase online at Based on a traveling exhibit produced by the Greater New Haven Labor History Association in 2013 about workers at the plant and the community they created there while struggling for fairness in the workplace, this new book includes updated information and much additional research.

Here is the book description on the October Works website:

From the late 19th century through the early 21st, the Winchester Repeating Arms Company was an important employer in New Haven, Connecticut. The legendary guns it produced and their role in American expansionism at home and abroad were celebrated, largely uncritically, in movies, books, and songs. But the stories of those who worked there and of the company’s impact on its host community have received little attention.

The tale includes elements familiar to students of United States economic, social and labor history: workers’ struggles to win collective bargaining rights and to achieve equity in the workplace across all job classifications, ages and ethnicities; relentless management efforts to divide them and prevent, then undermine, union representation; a ruthless company’s repeated threats to leave town in order to force union concessions and win economic incentives and tax abatements from city government; and the gentrified aftermath of the loss of working-class jobs in an American city.

The story of New Haven’s experience unfolds in Our Community at Winchester through interviews with former workers and their families as well as material from union newsletters, archival records, and city publications.

Please visit to read reviews of the book and information to purchase the book.

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