Wednesday, December 24, 2008

No Benefit Cuts to Auto Workers

The American auto industry problems are not due to the wages, health benefits and pensions that Union auto workers have fought for through the UAW for many years. These benefits helped to create a broad, diversified, and healthy working and middle class. They enabled millions of workers to raise and educate their families, unlike the benefits provided by the newer foreign-owned companies.

To enable the American-owned manufacturers to compete in the future, government assistance must include two major items:
1. The government should take over the automakers future payments to the auto industry health benefit plans, with no cuts in benefits or increased cost to present and future autoworkers. The plan should be governed by a board made up of UAW and government representatives. This would also be a big step towards health care for all.
In addition, foreign-owned automakers must immediately be required to either provide equivalent health benefits to their workers, or to pay into the UAW-sponsored fund to provide benefits for their workers. The workers in the home countries of these automakers receive health benefits through social insurance paid for by general tax revenues; their U.S workers should have the same benefits!

2. The pension liability of the U.S auto companies should also be taken over by a government assisted fund, again governed by a joint Union and government Board.

There must be no cuts in benefits earned by these workers.

-- Bill Morico

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Fight of Our Life to Change the Direction of Our Country

by Dorothy Johnson

NEW HAVEN, CT – There was much to celebrate at the 89th anniversary of the Communist Party USA in New Haven on December 7. Our allies, unionists and friends, joined together this year to work diligently to elect our first African American president Barack Obama. Folks in the pavement in Bridgeport Connecticut to defeat the last standing Congressional Republican Chris Shays . Newly elected Jim Himes is vowing to take the people’s agenda forward.

There is a movement in our country that America can get back on the right track. This even will never be forgotten.

The Amistad awards were given to three outstanding fighters for their resounding struggle for justice.

Juan Hernandez, assistant district leader SEIU 32 BJ Justice for Janitors has been involved in not only political campaigns but helped organize the first successful union drive in Fairfield County and New Haven County for janitors. This organizing drive helped increase wages and improve health benefits. Juan knows that he must continue to be the leader that he is so that we can get the Employee Free Choice Act and good immigrant rights.

Kathy Jackson is president of the Connecticut chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, vice president of the Hartford Labor Council, member of Voting Rights Act committee. Kathy’s dedication and outspoken manner has helped others to join the movement in our struggles for equal rights for all. She was very appreciative that she was even thought of for this award. Her years of work speaks for itself.

Al Marder a leader and activist has been in the forefront for decades. Al was an organizer for the Communist Party in 1952. Where there was injustice you would always find Al. He organized with others the City of New Haven Peace Commission in the late 80's. He has served on the United Nations International Association of Peace Messenger Cities. One of his projects was to reproduce the vessel the Amistad in 1994. It is hard to find Al who keeps on keeping on. You might get tired but Al won’t let you stop. It’s forward we go.

Our guests were entertained with music by the Rabble Rousers who would get you clapping and stopping to the beat of the music. One of the musicians Bill Collins spent time in Virginia prior to the election organizing and playing music for the union members in Virginia.

This year’s greeting book is dedicated to the memory of Merrilee Milstein, a friend, wife and mother. Most people remember her from her 1199 days as an organizer. She was a person who would take you by the hand and help you to the finish line. Merrilee’s presence is till with us when we go through these tough organizing drives. Just remember the courage and efforts of a woman who helped change the labor movement.

Now that the election is over and people prepare for a great inauguration we must keep the unity that we have in 2008 and work and push the people’s agenda to the White House. The ball is in our court.

This year’s event and greeting book put Connecticut over the top in the People’s Weekly World fund drive and is help cover the cost of the papers that are distributed on a weekly basis all year round.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Goodwin Workers Get Support

A spirited rally of 200 in support of the workers at the Goodwin Hotel in Hartford took place on Wednesday. CT AFL-CIO president John Olson, Mayor Perez and Councilman Larry Deutsch
all supported the workers demands. Goodwin has been open since 1989 and will close Dec. 31, this year. The demands are for: 1. Severance Pay 2. Health Care 3. Recall Rights. The march went around the Goodwin Hotel. The Mayor also pledged to look for other investors and to fight to insure that the new hotel is union and the recalls are honored.

The lesson from the sit-in by Republic Window workers in Chicago is that with united action the demands of the workers can be won. Hopefully in this case jobs will be retained with a new owner. These workers deserve full support.

-- Tom Connolly

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Springtime of Possibility

We were all inspired by the wonderful anniversary event Sunday, Dec 7 hosted by
the People's Weekly World in Connecticut where the Amistad Award was presented
to Juan Hernandez, Kathy Jackson and Al Marder. We celebrated the great election
victory, and carrying on the fighting spirit of Merrilee Milstein, we committed ourselves to continuing together in the hard work for the big, bold changes our nation cries out for. The audio will be posted next week.

Attached below is the report by Sam Webb to the meeting of the National Committee
of the CPUSA held on November 15, 2008 just after the election, "A Springtime of
Possibility." Also Joelle Fishman's report from the Political Action Commission, "Landslide Mandate for Change."

Comments welcome. Send to:

A Springtime of Possibility:

Landslide Mandate for Change:

See you on the frontlines to realize the possibilities for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, massive federal funding for jobs to rebuild our infrastructure and meet our needs, health care for everyone, an end to raids and deportations and a path to citizenship, and to bring our troops home and establish a new peacetime economy and foreign policy.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Connecticut conference highlights Declaration of Human Rights anniversary

by Joelle Fishman

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – A coalition of labor, peace, civil rights and human rights organizations in Connecticut will join in the international commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with a conference at Quinnipiac University on Saturday, Dec. 6.

Rep. John Conyers, chair of the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives and sponsor of HR 676 for universal single payer healthcare, will be keynote speaker.

Conference convener, Al Marder, had recently returned from the European Theater in the fight against fascism during World War II when the Declaration was adopted. It made an indelible impression on him. He now chairs the International Association of Peace Messenger Cities of the United Nations, and leads many local organizations concerned with peace and equality.

“Look back historically,” he says. “Even though the cold war was starting, the United Nations was laying out a vision of the future. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights would change our society drastically.”

Marder points out that, “while the State Department uses the Declaration to talk only about free speech, they never mention the obligations of jobs, education, medical care, gender equality, peace, and all the requirements for the full expression of the human personality.”

The Connecticut conference, called around the theme “Fulfilling the Promise,” is bringing together activists from a wide range of groups and relating their issues with the Declaration of Human Rights.

Connecticut AFL-CIO president John Olsen says popularizing the Declaration gives strength to the campaign for the Employee Free Choice Act and the rights of workers to form unions. A resolution in support was passed at their convention.

In addition to the plenary speech by Rep. Conyers and a presentation on the Declaration by Prof. James Silk of the Yale School of Law, the conference will feature six workshops highlighting the right to a living wage, the peace economy as key to sustainability, social and economic struggles in Connecticut, and issues of political injustice and humanizing the judicial system.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948. Eleanor Roosevelt, drawing upon the Constitution of the United States, was instrumental in drafting the document which enumerates the civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights necessary for the dignity and well being of all people and for world peace including every person’s human right to food, health care, housing and public education.

The steering committee, whose meetings were hosted at Planned Parenthood in New Haven, reached out widely. The conference has been endorsed by 45 organizations including the Connecticut Bar Association, Connecticut Library Association, Connecticut Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, and a host of labor, peace and social justice groups.

The conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Alumni Hall on the Quinnipiac University campus. For information visit the conference website at

The following day, on Sunday, Dec. 7, Al Marder will be one of three honorees to receive the Amistad Award from the People’s Weekly World at a reception at 4:00 pm at the New Haven People’s Center, 37 Howe Street. Other recipients are Kathy Jackson, chairwoman of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists in Connecticut and Juan Hernandez, Assistant District Leader of SEIU 32 BJ Justice for Janitors. For information on this event call 203-624-8664 or visit

Reprinted from Peoples Weeky World on-line