People’s World Amistad Awards: Rise Up — Unite 2020, Nov. 8, People’s Center

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

This year’s People’s World Amistad Awards will take place on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 4 p.m. at New Haven City Hall Atrium, 165 Church Street — site of the Amistad statue symbolizing solidarity and courage in the ongoing freedom struggle. The theme is “Rise Up – Unite 2020. People & Planet before Profits.”

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 November 20, 2019. For greeting book and ticket information e-mail ct-pww@pobox.com or call (203) 624-4254.

This year’s awardees are:

Rochelle Palache, Political Director of 32 BJ SEIU, a fierce warrior for workers’ and immigrant rights and a leader in the fight that won $15 minimum wage and paid family leave in Connecticut.

Ken Suzuki, Secretary-Treasurer of Unite Here Local 34 and a leader in the ongoing fight for job pipelines for Black and Latino neighborhood residents to full-time union jobs at Yale University.

John Humphries, Executive Director of the CT Roundtable for Climate and Jobs, is in the forefront of the movement for a just transition for workers and people of color in the climate crisis.

The Awards event leads into the 2020 elections and is held on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party USA. Special recognition will be given to Joelle Fishman for 50 years of leadership. To mark this special year, all former awardees will be called forward in a tribute to their continued contributions and unity building. The Movement Band and Brian Jarawa Gray and Friends will perform.

Greater New Haven Labor History Association Annual Meeting 1:30-4 p.m. Sunday Sept. 15

by Steve Kass, President, GNHLHA

Please join us for our annual meeting at the New Haven Labor Center, 267 Chapel Street, New Haven. As usual, the Greater New Haven Labor History Association (GNHLHA) will present the Augusta Louis Troup “Pass It On” award to people and organizations that advance the labor movement agenda of decent working conditions at a good wage with hope for the future.

This year’s recipients are Dan Livingston and Cathy Osten. Dan is one of the most widely known and respected labor attorneys in Connecticut, a life-time member of the United Auto Workers Union, and a progressive activist. Cathy is a Democratic member of the Connecticut State Legislature representing District 19 since 2013. As the President of SEIU 2001, she successfully led efforts for Connecticut health care, paid sick leave and aligning prevailing union wage and minimum wages to annual Consumer Price Index increases.

In addition, there will be a panel discussion on the labor movement since the Janus vs. AFCSME Supreme Court decision. It will be moderated by Troy Rondinone (labor history professor at Southern CT State University) with the following participants: Teri Merisolis (AFTCT Legislative Advocate), Rick Melita (SEIU Director of CT State Council), Sal Luciano (CT AFL-CIO president), Dan Livingston and Cathy Osten.

Pizza will be served from 1:30 to 1:50 p.m., then we will start our program and awards promptly. Frank Panzarella will perform labor music.

The meeting is free and open to the public. The GNHLHA welcomes you to join the organization or renew your membership. It costs $25 or $10 for low income people each year. Our website is www.laborhistory.org.

Report on Coalition for People Annual Meeting

On April 17, the Coalition for People held its first annual meeting since 2014. Among the 24 attendees, there were many past members and some newcomers to the group.

The gathering started off with music by Flint Ladder. A slideshow featuring CFP founder Mary Johnson played during the performance.

Elected board members are Dorothy Johnson, Elizabeth Neuse, Holly Hackett and JoAnn Moran. If anyone wants to still join the board, they can be considered during the monthly business meetings. Please call (203) 468-2541 if you are interested in joining the board.

The keynote speaker was Rev. Bonita Grubbs, Director of Christian Community Action. She spoke about the long history of Coalition for People, the legacy of Mary Johnson, what it means to be organizing and inspiring people, and always pushing for what is right, even though it may not always be immediately evident. She gave the example that that week scientists were able to photograph a black hole, proving Albert Einstein’s theory about the existence of black holes, 64 years after Einstein’s death. Many ridiculed Einstein when he first presented that theory, just as many people call activists crazy for trying to change things. But just because we as activists don’t get immediate results doesn’t mean we’re crazy or wrong. Rev. Grubbs talked about the individual lights of each person, their intelligence, skills, how people have their own understanding, that everyone can bring their lights together, discuss reality and solutions from her or his own perspective, and shine the light to push things forward.

Discussion of various topics followed – affordable housing, Yale New Haven Hospital’s plan to move the primary care centers to Long Wharf, healthcare, homelessness, justice. It was a good gathering to share the concerns of Coalition members and supporters, as well as those new to CFP.

The monthly board meetings are open to the membership. For June, July and August, our meetings are on the third Wednesday from 3-5 p.m. at the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Avenue (June 19, July 17, and August 21). For more information, email coalitionforpeople@hotmail.com. Thank you!

Happy May Day! Continue the Struggle for Justice!

by the PAR Planning Committee

Since the nationwide strike for the 8-hour workday in 1886, the first of May has become a historic day for the struggles of working people, and for over a hundred years May 1 has been celebrated as International Workers’ Day. Locally, in 1970, the May Day protests on the New Haven Green demanded freedom for Bobby Seale, justice for the Black Panthers, and the end of the Vietnam War. Starting in 1987 and continuing for thirty years on the Green, the annual May Day celebration each year brought together dozens of organizations to promote their work for labor rights, peace, human rights, and economic rights to the broader New Haven community. And since 2006, city-wide marches for immigrants’ rights are held on May 1. Peace, racism, police brutality, union struggles, fair wages, anti-war, immigration, a safe environment, criminal justice issues, labor history, welfare rights organizing, the right to healthcare — these are some of the struggles and issues in the celebration of international solidarity.

April was a month full of upsurge. From April 11-21, Stop & Shop workers from Connecticut, Rhode Island and

Massachusetts (31,000 workers) were on strike. The union considers the new contract a victory, preserving healthcare and retirement benefits and providing wage increases. The next strike in Connecticut will be unionized workers in nursing homes. They are scheduled to strike on May 1.

For days there have been massive protests and marches in New Haven and Hamden condemning the thoroughly unjustified Hamden and Yale police shooting in New Haven of two African-Americans in their early twenties on April 16. Thankfully, Stephanie Washington is recovering from her bullet wounds, and Paul Witherspoon was not hit. Video from the police body cameras has not yet been released. As of this writing, people will gather at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 6 at the Hamden Town Hall for the Legislative Council Meeting. We urge our readers to join in the many rallies for justice around these and other issues and be inspired by the many people at the forefront of these struggles for their lives and their livelihoods.

May Day 2019 — 100 Years of Struggle for Workers’ Rights

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

The annual Connecticut People’s World rally for International Workers’ Day will highlight union organizing today and in history. Themed “May Day 2019: 100 Years of Struggle for Workers’ Rights,” the rally will be held on Sunday, May 5, at 3 p.m. at the New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe St. The event, held during the 100th anniversary year of the Communist Party USA, will include a brief history of labor organizing by the Communist Party since its founding in 1919 and continuing today.

The experience of organizing food service workers who won a union last year at United Airlines will be shared by Jaime Myers-McPhail who lived in Colorado for several months working on the campaign, and his colleague Charlie Delgado who participated for a shorter time. Myers-McPhail is an organizer in New Haven with New Haven Rising and Unite Here.

“May Day Around the World” slide show will show workers’ protests and actions from every continent including many demands for equality for immigrant workers. The afternoon will be capped off with labor songs led by some of those who participated in the newly formed labor chorus at the Women’s March in Hartford this year.

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 killed several Chicago police and protesters in Haymarket Square. Four of the march leaders were framed and executed. In their memory, May Day was proclaimed 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 2019 is part of the resistance against the anti-people Trump/ Republican white supremacy agenda, and the rising movements 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 information e-mail ct-pww@pobox.com or call (203) 624-4254.

Help Push New Health Care Choices This Session!

by Protect Our Care Connecticut

From Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut:

The race is on to offer Connecticut small businesses and individuals new quality health insurance coverage they can afford. Will you help us get over the finish line?

Act Now! Call Governor Lamont at 800-406-1527 and let him know that you need him to support small businesses and individuals seeking better health insurance choices. Ask him to support House Bill 7267/SB 134. Make the call now!

BACKGROUND: Groundbreaking legislation to open up new health insurance choices, built upon the health coverage state employees and legislators receive, could pass in the next six weeks. Small businesses are the major source of job growth in our state, employing over 700,000 people. They struggle to afford health coverage for their workers, facing double-digit increases year after year. They deserve better options for their employees, not health plans that only pay for care after people spend thousands of dollars on co-pays and deductibles.

Individuals who buy insurance on their own have fewer and worse insurance choices. The high deductibles they face are a barrier to using their coverage to address worrying symptoms or to help them stay healthy. A new insurance choice built upon the state plan, sometimes called a “public option,” would mean small businesses and individuals could benefit from the negotiating power of the largest health plan in the state.

Save the Date – Wed. May 1 – Health Care Action Day Join us at the state Capitol to tell legislators – It’s Time to Act on Health Care!

10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Ave., Hartford. We will start with an issues briefing (location to be determined) and then meet with legislators. We are working in partnership with the Women’s Health Lobby Day. Issues briefing will also include updates on major women’s health issues.

Protect Our Care CT priority bills/issues:

*Protect Medicaid/HUSKY from cuts
*Establish public health insurance options for small businesses/nonprofits and individuals buying on the private market (HB 7267; SB 134)
*Bring down the price of prescription drugs (HB 7174).

See Resources page of www.protectourcarect.org for information on POCCT bills.

U.S. Census Job Fairs — Now Hiring in New Haven County

Learn about job openings with the U.S. Census Bureau. Register for a information session at any library branch. Flexible hours, office jobs or work from home, earn $17-23 per hour. Experience with technology, computers, smart-phones needed. Bi-lingual candidates in all languages needed. Paid training, no previous experience required.

Tuesday, May 7 & 28 at 4 p.m.
Mitchell Library, 37 Harrison Street (203) 946-8117
Wednesday, May 8 & 15 at 4 p.m.
Wilson Library, 303 Washington Avenue (203) 946-2228
Monday, May 13 & 20 at 10:30 a.m.
Ives Main Library, 133 Elm Street (203) 946-8130
Tuesday, May 14 & 21 at 12 p.m.
Stetson Library, 200 Dixwell Avenue (203) 946-8119
Thursday, May 23 & 30 at 6 p.m.
Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Avenue (203) 946-8115

Area Census Office Staffing – Hiring now through Spring of 2020 The Census Bureau is hiring for several temporary positions. For more information, call 855-562-2020 (855-JOB-2020).

Field Operations Apply here: 2020census.gov/jobs.

Is Your PAR Subscription About to Run Out?

by PAR Planning Committee

The Progressive Action Roundtable newsletter publishes from September through June. Subscriptions from many of our readers will expire with the June issue.

We hope you enjoy your subscription and value the PAR newsletter as a community resource. To see if your subscription is due for renewal, please look at your address label. If “201906” is printed on the label to the right of your name, your subscription ends next month. Please send in $13 for 10 issues (Sept. 2019-June 2020) so that you can continue to read about what local organizations are doing and you can submit articles about your own organization.

The Progressive Action Roundtable was started in January 1993. After several months, this community Newsletter became the main activity of PAR, giving New Haven area organizations an opportunity for networking and for advertising their activities.

We hope to hear from you.

Job Openings with the U.S. Census Bureau

Register for an information session at any library branch. Flexible hours, office jobs or work from home, earn $17-23 per hour. Experience with technology, computers, smart phones needed. Bilingual candidates in all languages needed. Paid training, no previous experience required.

  • Thursday, Feb. 7 & 14 from 6-8 p.m. Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Ave. (203) 946-8115
  • Monday, Feb. 4 & 11 from 2-4 p.m. Mitchell Library, 37 Harrison St. (203) 946-8117
  • Tuesday, Feb. 5 & 26 from 10 a.m.-noon. Stetson Library, 200 Dixwell Ave. (203)  946-8119
  • Wednesday, Feb. 6 & 13 from 10 a.m.-noon. Wilson Library 303 Washington Ave. (203) 946-2228
  • Monday, Feb. 11 & 25 from 10 a.m.-noon. Ives Main Library, 133 Elm St. (203) 946-7431

Info: NHFP Library, 133 Elm St. (203) 946-8130.

Google Brings Economic Opportunity Initiative To Connecticut

Google announced that it is coming to cities and towns throughout Connecticut as part of the tech company’s Grow with Google initiative to help create economic opportunity in communities across the United States. Google will kick-start this work locally by hosting free, one-day events to help job seekers, small business owners, students, educators, and entrepreneurs improve their digital skills.

“Connecticut is one of our country’s most historic centers of innovation, entrepreneurship, and manufacturing. By bringing the ‘Grow with Google’ tour to the state, we are committing to help develop a skilled workforce that can meet the needs of the state’s growing economy,” said Erica Swanson, Google’s Head of Community Engagement. Google staff will be at the New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm St., on Wed., Feb. 13 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

In recognition that libraries are increasingly centers for digital skills learning, Grow with Google plans to visit libraries in every state, partnering with them to deliver digital skills training directly to job seekers and small businesses in their community. Google staff will lead hands-on workshops about online marketing for small businesses, search engine optimization, email basics and coding. Attendees can also sign up for one-on-one training with Google staff, and tour demo booths to learn more about Google’s free products for learners and small businesses. Attendees are welcome to drop in for a few sessions or stay all day.

To learn more about the free event and to register, visit g.co/growconnecticut. Space will be limited; so please register in advance. For more information, contact: Peter Schottenfels, schottenfels@google.com, (646) 832-6785.

‘Our Community at Winchester: An Elm City Story’ — A traveling exhibit

by Joan Cavanagh, researcher and curator

From 1870 until 2006, the Olin-Winchester plant operated in New Haven under various names and with multiple corporate owners. Famous around the world for the Winchester rifle and other firearms (along with occasional tentative and short-lived ventures into the production of more benign goods), it has been the subject of many books, films and articles. But before the Greater New Haven Labor History Association’s traveling exhibit, “Our Community at Winchester: An Elm City Story,” the tale of the company’s workers and its impact on the New Haven community throughout the 20th and early 21st centuries had not been told.

In a series of panels which include interviews with former employees as well as a historical chronology, the exhibit depicts workers’ struggles to unionize and gain racial and economic justice and equality in the face of relentless management resistance. It illustrates the rich culture they formed within the plant, and it describes the always fraught interaction between the company’s owners and managers and the city of New Haven.

The exhibit, which opened at Gateway Community College on Jan. 29, 2014, was shown in several other venues including Yale’s Science Park, the Stetson branch of the New Haven Free Public Library, New Haven’s City Hall, Fairfield University and the University of Connecticut at Storrs. Thanks to volunteer David Cirella, it can be viewed online at http://exhibits.winchesterworkers.gnhlha.org.

Researcher and curator, Joan Cavanagh, and designer, Jeanne Criscola, are planning a book based on the exhibit which will include additional material to bring the story up to date in the context of New Haven’s current housing and economic crises. They are also seeking a venue in which to mount the exhibit for permanent display. If you can suggest a location or would like to help fund these efforts, please email joan.cavanagh@gmail.com.

CT Working Families Organization Annual Awards Night 6 p.m. Dec. 12 Hartford

Please join us on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 6-9 p.m. for the 2018 CTWFO Annual Awards Dinner. Every year, our organization recognizes the contributions made by labor leaders, grassroots activists, and rank and file workers — all of whom have helped protect and advance the fight for economic, racial, and social justice in our state.

We’re excited to announce our honorees this year!:

  • State Representative Robyn Porter (Progressive Political Leadership Award)
  • Ana María Rivera-Forastieri (Merrilee Milstein Award for Organizing, Activism, and Leadership)
  • Eva Bermudez Zimmerman (Brian Petronella Labor Leader Award)

And more to be announced! We look forward to seeing you there and appreciate your support.

Hors d’oeuvres will be provided, including vegetarian and vegan options, alongside a cash bar. Please email Kristin at kburgess@workingfamilies.org with any dietary restrictions and allergies.

The suggested contribution is $50, but come no matter what. Wednesday, Dec. 12, 6-0 p.m. at the Mark Twain House & Museum, 351 Farmington Ave., Hartford. RSVP: http://workingfamilies.org/ctawards2018.

Contributions benefit Connecticut Working Families, a 501(c)(4) organization, that fights for an economy that works for everyone in Connecticut so we can all find good jobs, get healthcare when we need it, afford homes, send our kids to good schools, and have a secure retirement. Funds support our community organizing, legislative outreach and lobbying efforts, door to door issue canvasses and legislative communications strategy. Contributions can come from individuals, incorporated businesses, union general fund accounts, PACs, or other non-profit entities.

Talk and Labor History Walking Tour, Nov. 18

by Steve Kass, President, GNH Labor History Association

Toil and Triumph: Italian American Women in the Sweatshops of New Haven. To celebrate the permanent display of the former traveling exhibit of “Garment Workers of New Haven” at the New Haven Labor Center, 267 Chapel St., New Haven, the GNH Labor History Association will host Anthony Riccio’s talk with historical pictures on Italian American women in the sweatshops of New Haven. Afterward, there will be a labor history walking tour of the former garment district. Anthony is the author of the book, The Italian American Experience in New Haven: Images and Oral History. A suggested donation of $5 or a $25 membership to the Greater New Haven Labor History Association, a non-profit organization, is encouraged.

ConnectiCOSH 2018 Annual Health and Safety Convention

The convention on Friday, Oct. 19, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., will highlight “Stop the Plague on Workers’ Lives” and “Making Worker Safety a Priority in Tough Times.” It takes place at the Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 777 Training Center, 450 Murdock Ave., Meriden.

The keynote speaker, Les Leopold, co-founder and current Executive Director of the Labor Institute, is the author of several books, including the award-winning The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor: The Life and Times of Tony Mazzocchi. His current book is Runaway Inequality: An Activist Guide to Economic Justice.

More than 4,000 workers do not return home to their families every year. Millions of workers return home injured or ill as well. The struggle to make sure that workers go home alive continues. Our annual health and safety convention offers a variety of thought-provoking workshops that better prepare participants for addressing hazards on the job.

ConnectiCOSH continues to:

  • Organize and educate injured workers to protect their legal rights
  • Be active members of the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut fighting for chemical substitution and reducing exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Partner with UCONN and Yale Occupational Environ-mental Health Clinics
  • Train Hazardous Waste Site Workers and Emergency Responders as part of a joint effort with the other COSH groups in New England
  • Organize and participate in Worker Memorial Day events across the state.

    For more info, call (860) 953-2674.

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