Friday, May 29, 2020

New Haven Peoples Center COVID-19 Solidarity Update May 28, 2020


A weekly compilation of links to mutual aid, actions, information and on-line cultural and organizing opportunities during the pandemic. We stand together in solidarity and demand inclusion and protection with full civil and human rights for every person no matter immigration status, race, gender, age or income. Email:

Final call to contribute Peoples Center GreatGive donation page open thru May 30:

New Haven Peoples Center Jobs & Unemployed Committee is re-forming to address the immediate material needs of those affected by the pandemic and organize for legislation that makes meaningful change. Join us in our efforts to spread awareness and respond to the overwhelming crisis stemming from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Facebook homepage: Unemployed survey Open in Forms

Tues June 2 public hearing City of NH Peace Commission Health and Human Services Committee, New Haven Board of Alders public hearing on zoom to place on the November ballot in New Haven a non-binding referendum question: "Shall Congress prepare for health and climate crises by transferring funds from military budget to cities for human needs, jobs and an environmentally sustainable economy?" Endorse here:  Sign up at Facebook event page:

Take our 3-min Action Now  Join CT AFL-CIO and SEIU CT State Council in urging Governor Lamont to establish a Workers' Compensation Presumption and streamline essential workers' access to vital benefits when they get sick. We need to do more than say "Thank you!"
Undocumented Workers Relief Fundmore than 60 organizations and 55 state legislators are asking the governor to create a Disaster Relief Fund for Undocumented Immigrants who are essential workers but excluded from the federal stimulus package as well as ineligible for unemployment insurance.
32BJ SEIU Petition: Gov Lamont: protect essential workers at Connecticut's highway service plazas
Immigrant Health Care: Petition to Open HUSKY to All Immigrants, being circulated by CT Students for a Dream. Please consider signing and circulating to others.
Pharma in the Age of COVID-19. Find your U.S. representative here, or Senator here, contact them and demand they intervene to ensure that any COVID-19 treatment or vaccination is affordable and fairly priced.
Cancel rent throughout the pandemic emergency and recovery period so people do not lose their homes in the midst of this health and economic crisis Sign the petition here.
Civil and Human Rights During COVID-19.  The Peoples Center is one of 43 organizations that sent the Governor a  letter  demanding action to include and protect those disproportionately affected.
2020 Census. The numbers of people who fill out the census determines federal funding for our communities through 2030.  Videos in English and  Spanish highlight the importance of a complete count.  Click here  to complete the Census. Call (844) 330-2020 - English or (844) 468-2020 - Spanish.
End US Sanctions. The Greater New Haven Peace Council asks for signers on an open letter to end US sanctions and war creating extreme suffering during COVID-19
New Haven Sunrise is circulating petitions to Elicker, Yale and Gov. Ned Lamont supporting the demands of the Earth Day Green New Deal rally.

Know Your Rights in the Workplace: COVID-19 English and Spanish is a resource to help workers navigate state and federal programs, including Unemployment Insurance, paid sick leave and FMLA. Haga clic aquí para la version en español. Issued by CWEALF.
If you have become unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can apply for unemployment benefits online here.
Workers’ compensation claims related to COVID-19: A guide prepared by CT AFL-CIO. Workers who need additional assistance should contact their union or an attorney.
Operation Fuel: Utility or energy assistance in relation to COVID-19? Call 2-1-1 or email. Links:
School meals 7 days' worth of food distributed on 3 days/week New Haven Schools Grab & Go Meals for students 18 years old and younger
Mutual Aid New Haven Area Mutual Aid Fund Semilla Collective of New Haven for labor and immigration justice! Funds go to direct financial assistance or essential items supporting New Haven area community members disproportionately affected by this crisis
CT Mutual Aid - sign up for offerings and/or needs
CTCORE -Click here to join CTCORE in holding each other up. Mutual aid throughout the state.

Emergency Medicaid for Non-Citizens / COVID 19. Ct residents who meet financial eligibility requirements but do not qualify for full Medicaid due to immigration status, including undocumented individuals, are eligible to receive Medicaid to treat an emergency medical condition. COVID-19 testing and testing-related provider visits are emergency visits that will be covered by Emergency Medicaid. Emergency Medicaid is not a factor in federal immigration ‘public charge’ determinations. 

There are seven testing locations across New Haven. There is no barrier to get tested. Visit the City’s COVID-19 website or call the New Haven Health Department  at (203) 946-4949 to get tested. 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Helpline 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
Food, shelter, and other needs statewide: call 211 or visit

City of New Haven comprehensive list of Food Resources

Pantry to Pantry food delivery for low-income folks who can't get out. Hotline: 888-910-2960.

State, City Updates
May 20 to June 3rd. 25th anniversary International Festival of Arts and Ideas
 Our homepage is being updated daily with new activities
View the MAY DAY RALLY hosted by People's World on May 3rd here:
COVID-19 Rap by Roberto Carmon and Nazir Hobby

Informative, scientific and understandable articles on Covid-19. 1) treats both economic and epidemiological aspects and 2) explores better ways of protecting ourselves.
Creative Arts Workshop is offering many online classes, demonstrations, and other events through its website under the heading “Creating Freely.”
Music Jeff Fuller's trio recordings, with Darren LItzie on piano and Ben Bilello on drums, are available online here, here and here.
Tour the National Museum of African American History and Culture here: NMAAHC Digital Resources Guide

Palestine Museum.  View exhibits here: 

New Haven Museum
The history of the City of New Haven is alive and well. We welcome you to learn more about it at the New Haven Museum.

Front Line Worker - Jahmal Henderson, SCSU Local 217 Unite Here

Following are remarks by Jahmal Henderson, food service worker at Southern Connecticut State University and member of Local 217 Unite Here, at the May Day Rally "International Workers Solidarity: COVID-19 and Beyond hosted by CT People's World on May 3 via zoom. View the entire rally here.
Front Line Worker - Jahmal Henderson, food service at SCSU and Local 217 Unite Here
I've been employed as a food service worker at Southern Connecticut State University for 18 years. I've also been a union steward for eight years as a member of Local 217 Unite Here.
I am among those whose job is closed during these unfortunate times with the coronavirus epidemic having a devastating impact on our lives and country. Myself, and other food service workers throughout, are in solidarity with front line essential workers who are putting their lives at risk in order to keep a sense of normalcy in these dire times.
We at Southern Connecticut State University Local 217 have a "phone tree" system which enables employees to get vital information and available resources to help them with unemployment,  food banks, healthcare, and other emergency needs.
In these times of social distancing,  it is a very good time to stay in contact with each other via Zoom meetings, having daily check ins and discussing strategies that can be helpful.
The majority of Unite Here members across the country are in the hospitality industry and most of our members are now unemployed. The union is organizing to help with applications for unemployment, rent assistance and basic living needs, and demanding that federal relief funds go to the workers and not big employers.
The union is also organizing so that hospitality/food service and all essential workers who are still employed during this epidemic, out there risking their lives, get the necessary resources from Congress and the state government to make sure proper PPE's and safety measures get established going forward so we can return back to healthy productive work environments. 
The petition to Congress: Don't cut off hospitality workers is here.
Car caravans for workers rights and immigrant rights continue

FRONTLINE HEALTHCARE WORKERS will hold a car caravan at Waterbury Hospital on Saturday June 6 at 11 am as they continue to push Prospect Medical Holdings to put patients before profits and provide proper PPE, hazard pay, and safe staffing. The action is part of the national Workers First Caravan days of action. A caravan was also held last week by Nurses and Technical Employees at Waterbury Hospital, members of CHCA District 1199, National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees (AFSCME), and community supporters.

A DISASTER RELIEF FUND for undocumented immigrants was the demand of a car caravan to the state capitol from Norwalk, Danbury, New Haven, Bridgeport, Willimantic, and Middletown. State legislators, immigrants, union workers, and activist groups demanded Governor Lamont create a $150 million fund.  Sixty organizations, 55 legislators and 4500 petition signers have joined the call.
Kica Matos said "57% of interviewed immigrants in New Haven have been laid off, hours cut, or in quarantine because of illness in the workplace or home with no income or access to relief. Connecticut's 120,000 undocumented immigrants pay $400 million a year in state and local taxes, but are excluded from the federal stimulus packages and ineligible for unemployment insurance.

Front Line Worker - Mario Franco, CT Service Plaza worker 32BJ SEIU

Following are remarks by Mario Franco, worker at Connecticut Service Plaza and member of 32BJ SEIU, at the May Day Rally "International Workers Solidarity: COVID-19 and Beyond hosted by CT People's World on May 3 via zoom. View the entire rally here.
My name is Mario Franco. I worked  at the McDonald’s at the Darien Northbound rest stop on I-95 for 26 years.

I am here today to talk about the situation at the rest stops. For one year, I helped my coworkers work with 32BJ to try to get better conditions. I lost my job, and the conditions now are terrible, but I want to continue fighting to make things better.

I had a tragedy at McDonalds. My wife worked together with me for over 20 years. Four years ago, she passed out in the backroom at the McDonalds and hit her head. A few days later, she died in the hospital. McDonald’s paid for nothing, only the stone on her grave.

When I was working, most people only got minimum wage. We did not get holidays.. Most people did not get vacation time. We worked on State property, but we did not get the benefits in the Standard Wage Law. The law says everybody is supposed to have five sick days a year. We had no sick days.

When you have low pay and no sick days, you have to come to work sick. You cannot afford to miss one day of work. Now, many people at McDonald’s are coming to work sick. I do not think they are cleaning and disinfecting properly. It is dangerous for my coworkers and it is dangerous for everyone who comes to the rest stop.

I was laid off with the entire night shift. Most of us on the night shift have many years of experience. The people who continue working do not. I think they laid off the experienced workers because we were protesting.

We are asking Governor Lamont to help us. He can make McDonalds and other fast food companies act better because they are on state property. We are asking for support with a petition. Many of my coworkers are single mothers. They have no income now. I am helping distribute food for them. I am still fighting. I thank you for all your support.

"Money Bags and Body Bags" 100-Car Protest in Fairfield County

On May 21, union workers and community members stopped at the Darien Southbound service plaza at the start of a 100-car caravan tour of wealthy individuals and corporations that are not doing their fair share in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. The tour continued through Greenwich and Westchester NY to visit the homes of local billionaires who pay a far smaller proportion of taxes than all other residents.
The stop at the service plaza highlighted how McDonald’s and other fast food corporations have failed to devote their profits to support essential workers during the pandemic.
Four workers have contracted COVID-19 while working at the rest stops, yet McDonald’s and other stores have demonstrated little evidence that they have properly disinfected their worksite. Workers attested to how McDonald’s and others have not offered sufficient PPE, hazard pay or paid sick days.
The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed McDonald’s continual mistreatment of its workers into a health threat to all of us who use the Interstate service plazas in Connecticut,” said Juan Hernandez, Vice President of 32BJ SEIU . “It’s one more example of how the indifference and greed of the super-wealthy needs to be directly addressed now more than ever.”

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Front Line Worker - Jeanne Wehling, L&M nurse and AFT CT

Following are remarks by Jeanne Wehling, nurse at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital and leader of AFT CT Local 5049, at the May Day Rally "International Workers Solidarity: COVID-19 and Beyond hosted by CT People's World on May 3 via zoom. View the entire rally here.

My name is Jeanne Wehling.  I am a Registered Nurse.  I have worked for the past 8 years at L&M Hospital which is part of the YNHHS.   Today I join you as the Political Action liaison with AFT Local 5049.  I have been elected into this role for the past 4 years

This May Day couldn't be occurring at a more poignant time.  We watched COVID-19 come alive in Wuhan China.  This virus spread far and wide.  We watched and listened to their cries for help as each person became infected and oh too many lost.  This virus spread to almost 200 countries and islands. Yet the USA leads in the world in number of cases over 1.1 million!!!  We have lost over 67,000 Americans to this deadly virus. WHY??? When we are the USA.

When the virus hit our shores and was no longer a "hoax" we were unprepared.  We did not have adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  Our Center for Disease Control (CDC)  lowered the classification of the virus from Airborne to droplet.   

When you think airborne think of TB and tiny particles that with one cough or sneeze spreads wide and far.  Droplet think of the flu larger particles that drop quickly.  This one change put the lives of all Americans at risk.   

What does the public hear. "Stay Home, Stay Safe.".  "Quarantine for 14 days if anyone in your household shows symptoms" "This will flatten the curve and save lives!!!"  
What did we do?  Stay closed to essential business only, schools are now at home.  We are working from home and educating our children at home.  We are celebrating with zoom parties and drive by parades.  We are calling our loved ones and not visiting for the fear that one visit can spread the virus and end their life.

I want to thank you all for doing your part.  You truly are saving lives!!!

I wish I could say the same about us in the hospital.  When we all apply to a position in a healthcare industry we are all vowing to save lives.  From the lowest job to the CEO and all in between.  We in healthcare have taken an oath to do no harm.  I have read the Nightingale Pledge in two different pinning ceremonies.  It is the core of  who we are as healthcare professionals. 

By the CDC changing the standard we are doing harm. We are spreading the virus!  Before Covid 19 1 applied a mask before entering the patient rooms and immediately discarded upon exiting. We were taught that wearing PPE protects not only the nurse however her other patients.  We are keeping those germs with the infected patient only. 

Currently now in the hospital per the CDC and DPH they have lowered those standards putting not only the staff lives in harm's way but also our patient's lives.  When the CDC lowered the standards the hospitals went directly to crisis mode of PPE.  They by passed all the previous steps. 

All of the PPE and cleaning supplies were taken off the floors.  Some stock locked in the managers offices, the rest locked up at the warehouse.  The manager is to leave out only enough for the next 24 hours at the nurses' station.  Typically PPE is in a caddy on the door of the patients with precautions. 
When this was first rolled out, we were given one level 1 mask (not rated for droplet precautions) to be used indefinitely. We have now moved up to one level 1 mask per shift.  Sad to think that this is an improvement.  N95 masks are only being used on our COVID floor, ICU and ER, and rule out patients. We apply the mask at the beginning of our shift taking it off to go home.  That means is if we come in contact with the virus we are then bringing it into each of our rooms. 

My floor has not started taking COVID positive patients yet, we anticipate this week.  However we have had many patients moved to the COVID floor and ICU when they start to rapidly decline or show symptoms. 

We are also no longer being told when a patient does test positive.   The hospital is running under the frame that we all employees have already been exposed and do not need this information.  Again failing to do no harm!!!  This also does not allow us to self quarantine when exposed.  We are not allowed to self quarantine if a family member shows symptoms or becomes positive.  Only if we the member show symptoms.  With each exposure you are not only  increasing your viral load and risk for infection.

More than six weeks ago all three locals at L&M - RN's 5049, TECH 5051 and Healthcare 5123, have asked to negotiate.  The hospital ignored our requests until they wanted to mandate nurses to Greenwich and then Bridgeport. We accepted their offer to bargain.  We stood hard and firm with our members and their concerns regarding the mandate.  The hospital backed down on the mandate portion only.  We still have not come to a memorandum of understanding regarding adequate PPE, safety, incentive for this time of pandemic, workers compensation, paid time off, not using personal PTO and sick time and Familyand Medical Leave Act.

We are working around the clock to keep our patients, our members and the community safe..