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: https://forms.gle/ZVuHK5fjWSb3KHFG8 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 https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/mcdonalds-workers-win-jobs-back-in-covid-19-layoff-case]

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! https://www.facebook.com/events/209241147274412

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 https://www.ctinsider.com/news/nhregister/article/Home-health-care-workers-from-New-Haven-lobby-for-16089557.php.

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 info@valleyworker.coop
United States Federation of Worker Co-ops, (415) 292-7277
or info@usworker.coop

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 https://octoberworks.com/our-community-at-winchester. 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 octoberworks.com/our-community-at-winchester to read reviews of the book and information to purchase the book.

People’s World Amistad Awards on Saturday, Dec. 12

by Joelle Fishman, Connecticut People’s World

This year’s People’s World Amistad Awards will take place on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, at 4 p.m. as a virtual concert program, with printed greeting book mailed out to participants. The theme is United for the World We Want: Celebrating Resilience, Solidarity and Vision.

This year’s awardees are:

  • Barbara Vereen, staff director Unite Here Local 34 and Unite Here Black Leadership Group;
  • Rob Baril, president SEIU District 1199 New England;
  • Jan Hochadel, president AFT Connecticut; and
  • Councilwoman Wildaliz Bermudez, Working Families Party, Hartford.

We pay tribute in the fight for the rights of essential workers and all workers irregardless of immigration status during the COVID pandemic, the rise of the movement for Black lives, and the fight of our lives in the 2020 elections.

For information about logging on to the virtual concert, tickets or placing an ad in our greeting booklet, please email ct-pww@pobox.com or call (203) 624-4254.

Unions Are Beginning to Talk About Staving Off a Possible Coup

by Barbara Madeloni, Labor Notes, Oct. 15, 2020

“Therefore, be it finally resolved that the Rochester Labor Council, AFL-CIO calls on the National AFL-CIO, all of its affiliate unions, and all other labor organizations in the United States of America to prepare for and enact a general strike of all working people, if necessary, to ensure a Constitutionally mandated peaceful transition of power as a result of the 2020 Presidential Elections.”

These words conclude a resolution passed October 8 by the Rochester Central Labor Council. In calling for all of labor to prepare to strike for democracy, the Rochester CLC may be the first out of the gate to call for direct action over concerns many share: will there be a peaceful transfer of power after the November election? Will votes be fairly counted, and will the outcome be determined by the voters—not the courts?

A few nights later the representative assembly of the Seattle Educators Association (SEA) passed a resolution stating that its board will call an emergency meeting within seven days of the election and, if it determines there has been election interference, call a meeting of the representative and general assemblies as soon as possible to vote on a work action.

And on October 20, the Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee will host a discussion among labor leaders including Flight Attendants President Sara Nelson: “What Can Workers Do to Stop Trump from Stealing the Election?” EWOC is a pandemic-era collaboration between the Electrical Workers (UE) and the Democratic Socialists of America.

Ready on a Minute’s Notice?

In Rochester, the discussion began with concerns about whether or not Trump would step down if he lost the election. Then it moved to talk of the appointment of Louis DeJoy as Postmaster General, the subsequent mail delays, and Trump’s efforts to undermine faith in mail-in ballots.

The resolution was passed unanimously by the executive board and the full delegate body.

What if Trump refuses to accept a loss? “If he doesn’t, we need a plan already in place, ready to implement on a minute’s notice, to remove him from office,” wrote Rochester CLC President Dan Maloney in an email. “A national general strike, if joined by all democracy-loving Americans, can be the impetus the Congress and judiciary need to fulfill their role as co-equal branches of government.”

[Read the entire article here: labornotes.org/2020/10/unions-are-beginning-talk-about-staving-possible-coup

May 1 Connecticut – Día de Trabajadores

by Unidad Latina en Acción and CT Workers Crisis Response

Friday, May 1, 2020, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Hartford.

From every corner of Connecticut, we will take to the streets of Hartford in a car rally on May Day, International Workers’ Day. At the same time, an online rally will amplify the demands of CT workers. In this crisis, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer; and black people, Latinx people, and working people are the majority of the ones dying. The rich and powerful are demonstrating that they value their profits more than our lives. Workers and unemployed people are fed up. We are compelled to build a more just society that values our lives over their profits. Call us for rally details.

If you want to endorse… If you want to get involved… please sign up here: https://ulanewhaven.org/may-day-2020 Telephone: (203) 606-3484.

May Day 2020: International Worker Solidarity: COVID-19 and Beyond, Sunday, May 3, 3 p.m.

This year May Day, International Workers Day, comes in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Come together in solidarity and unity for a special one-hour May Day 2020 Rally hosted by CT People’s World:

INTERNATIONAL WORKER SOLIDARITY: COVID-19 AND BEYOND

Sunday, May 3 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. via Zoom and phone.

Register here: us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_uEEDPXkeS4ybRusFhWFR9g

See on Facebook at May Day 2020: International Worker Solidarity: COVID and Beyond
Rally Program:
* Special Guest: Steve Noffke, UAW Local 600, Dearborn, Michigan
* Panel of Connecticut workers on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 and for workers rights
* Special slide show presentation of working-class struggles around the world
* Solidarity actions and demands
* Staying physically distant, but socially organized to put

People and Planet before Profits!
Register in advance:
us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_uEEDPXkeS4ybRusFhWFR9g
After registering, you will get a confirmation email with information about joining the rally.

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