Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Launches Non-violent Direct Actions

Holding signs and banners calling for an end to poverty, over 100 union, faith and community leaders marched from the Legislative Office Building at the state capitol in Hartford down the street to Capitol Avenue on Monday, May 14.

Sixteen people carried their banners into the street and locked arms, blocking traffic, in the first of six weeks of nonviolent actions across the country organized by the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

The 40 days of protest reignites the poor peoples' campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was organizing when he was assassinated while supporting striking sanitation workers fifty years ago.

Under the leadership of Rev. William Barber coalitions have formed in 39 states to fight systemic poverty and racism, ecological devastation and militarism and the war economy.

Fast Food workers in the Fight for 15, teachers union leaders and faith leaders were among those who took part in the civil disobedience in Hartford. As they blocked the street police arrested them one by one and loaded them into two police vehicles.

This campaign may have been inspired by historic events fifty years ago,” said AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel, who previously taught in the state's technical high schools. “Yet, in 2018, we're witnessing the lessons of non-violent, civil disobedience across the country, from West Virginia to Arizona and Oklahoma to Puerto Rico. Union members are putting themselves on the line — and winning."

"They’re winning not just for themselves — they’re winning justice for their students, their patients, the residents they serve and their communities,” Hochadel concluded in a speech prior to taking arrest along with several of her union colleagues.

Our commitment is to keep our issues front and center in the public discourse.  No more will we allow statewide elections to happen without real dialogue regarding the poor, the disenfranchised and marginalized.”  says Bishop John Selders, Tri Chair of CT Poor People’s Campaign and director of Moral Monday CT, the state's campaign coordinator.

Protests will be held each Monday through mid-June. For information visit poorpeoplescampaign.org

Monday, April 16, 2018

May Day 2018 -- Fighting Together for Justice, Equality and Peace


The lives of workers, their families and the 99% are on the line here and around the world, and people are in motion. On May Day 2018 we are “Fighting Together for Justice, Equality & Peace.”

The annual Connecticut People's World rally for International Worker's Day will be held on Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 4 pm at the King-Davis Labor Center, 77 Huyshope Ave, Hartford.

The event will be highlighted by a reportback from the four UNITE HERE buses that traveled from New Haven to Memphis for the I AM 2018 conference and march held fifty years after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated while supporting striking sanitation workers. 
 
The occasion attracted 20,000 members of unions, faith, community, immigrant and youth groups exemplifying an approach to labor organizing that encompasses all working people.
The UNITE HERE choir and Ice the Beef Youth who traveled to Memphis will perform.

A solidarity panel will include group home workers and immigrant workers facing strike or recently on strike, and union members running for public office in 2018. The event will include an action in support of key worker friendly bills still before the state legislature.

A powerpoint of May Day Around the World will highlight the struggles of workers on every continent.

A homemade buffet will be served.

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 blast killed several Chicago police and protesters during a meeting in Haymarket Square. Four of the march leaders were framed up and executed. In their memory, May Day was set as 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 2018 is part of the resistance against the anti-people Trump/Republican 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 rides from New Haven e-mail ct-pww@pobox.com or call 203-624-4254.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Porcelen SpecRail strikers hold firm

http://www.peoplesworld.org/article/porcelen-specrail-strikers-hold-firm/


HAMDEN, Conn.—Negotiations with the company at Porcelen SpecRail were not going well. The company refused to budge on wages, a retirement plan, or health insurance. The 66 painters union (IUPAT) members began wearing buttons to work listing their demands to show their strength.

As the last bargaining session ended and union representatives were on their way to meet with the membership for a strike vote, the company suddenly produced a list of workers who they claimed, without any back up proof, had Social Security numbers or names that did not cross check. Many have worked at the company for as many as 10 to 28 years. The company said these immigrant workers would be fired unless they got their information corrected within one week’s time.

The union members refused to be intimidated by this threat to nearly half the workforce. They voted to strike, and have been on the picket line since March 1.

The union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on the grounds that the threatened workers were not given sufficient and required time to collect their information.

“It took a lot of bravery to stand up,” said IUPAT District 11 business representative Willie Vega Jr.  “The workers felt they were being abused. They are concerned about their families. They want a better life. With the wages here, they have to work two and three jobs in order to pay their bills,” he added.

Hector has worked at Porcelen for seven years, and has been a union steward for two. He has a four-year-old son at home. “The reason I applied to work here was that the wages and insurance were good. We had a $20 co-pay on health insurance.”

Their healthcare deductible is now $3,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a family. The company wants to increase workers’ health care premiums to as much as $600 a month, about a third of wages.
“They have a health plan they cannot afford to use,” said Vega.

The workers produce railings and also coat products for Stanley. They also coat the steel on the coil line which is sent to G&S Metal Products in Cleveland, Ohio, where it is stamped out for baking pans sold at Walmart and Target. G&S is the largest producer of metal bakeware in the United States.

The workers coat as many as 28 coils a day five days a week. That production alone generates high profits for the company.

A giant pig balloon sits in front of the Porcelen building, just next to where the workers picket in the driveway. The pig is labeled “Mark Schwartz,” the owner of G&S.

The workers immediately gained wide support from the Connecticut AFL-CIO and all its affiliate unions, from community groups including the immigrant and workers’ rights group Unidad Latina en Accion, and from elected officials including Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and chair of the Labor Committee of the state legislature, Robyn Porter.

Speaking at a solidarity rally at the picket line early Friday morning, Rep. Porter decried the fact that the company does not pay a living wage. “We are fighting to raise the minimum wage to $15,” she said. “That is still not a living wage but it is a step forward and it will help you,” she told the strikers.
Many workers at Porcelen make $10.40 an hour. The average wage is $14.10 an hour. They are welders, aluminum fabricators, forklift drivers, and hold many other skilled jobs.

The company rejected the workers’ proposal for a 60-cent-a-year raise. The company also refuses to provide a modest 401(k) so the workers can begin making meager contributions to their retirement.

“The people united can never be divided,” chant the workers on the large picket line. “We all went out together, we’re all going back together,” says Vega.

Food, energy assistance, and a strike fund are being organized to enable the workers to withstand the company as long as it takes.
Strike fund contributions can be sent to:
United Labor Agency
56 Town Line Road
Rocky Hill, CT 06067

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Happy International Women's Day

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY!
from the Connecticut Communist Party USA


Born in 1910 at an international socialist conference standing
in solidarity with women in the USA who went on strike
against sweatshop working conditions and demanding
the right to vote.  Come together on March 8, 2018 in
support of CT legislation for women's economic security.

Celebrate International Women's Day by testifying in support of paid family and medical leave, pay equity, raising the minimum wage, and expanding sexual harassment protections in the workplace!
The Labor & Public Employees committee is holding a public hearing at 2:30 pm in room 1D of the Legislative Office Building. Come share your story and raise your voice for policies that advance the economic security of women in CT.
Participate with CT Women's Educational and Legal Fund,  Women's March - CT and many others.

Friday, March 2, 2018

People's World events inspire unity to Reconstruct the Dream


Reconstructing the Dream was the theme of a march and two powerful events in Hartford and New Haven for the 44th People's World African American History Month Celebrations honoring Martin Luther King Jr fifty years after his assassination and W.E.B. DuBois on the 150th year of his birth.

Despite rain, the march, organized by New Haven Rising, Ice the Beef and New Elm City Dream / YCL, brought a crowd to the historic Peoples Center. Rev Scott Marks dedicated the march to Bishop Charles Brewer, COGIC and Delphine Henry, AFSCME representing the two national organizations mobilizing for April 4th in Memphis Tennessee.
Union members, concerned residents, clergy, youth of all races and ages proceeded throughout the Dwight neighborhood to Troup School chanting "Jobs for youth,..Jobs for All ....S-T-O-P the violence." Residents looked out of widows and stood on porches with their smartphones taking pictures and waving.
At the school, in a momentous speech, Rev. Scott Marks emphasized the importance of grass roots leadership, and Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr's lessons on the common struggle for racial equality, economic justice and peace. He shared his experience as chair of the national Black Leadership Committee of Unite Here, and spoke of love as the guiding force to organize for social change. He called for unity to uphold the rights of unions and communities and win justice in these times.
The program also included African drumming by Brian Jarawa and friends, a dramatic presentation by Ice the Beef, presentation of Arts and Writing Competition prizes, remarks by Fatima Rojas supporting a sanctuary city ordinance, and a tribute video remembering Dalzenia Henry, Grace Cummings and Emma Fair which was directed by Jahmal Henderson and Mark Winters.
In Hartford the night before, the crowd that filled the King-Davis Labor Center enjoyed the same tribute video and performance by Ice the Beef. Barbara Vereen, Chief Steward of Local 34 at Yale give the keynote address. She is part of the national Unite Here Black Leadership Committee which Rev Marks chairs. Its mission is "to train new African American union leaders." Vereen discussed the work of this progressive labor group as well as her own journey to ensure a voice for all among the leadership of her union.