Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Protesters demand Bank of America pay taxes

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - Chanting "We Pay Taxes, Why Don't You?" 100 protesters rallied in front of Bank of America here on Tax Day. The event was one of several in Connecticut and hundreds around the country by labor and consumer groups singling out that bank and other corporations for enjoying huge profits while paying little or no taxes.

Modest increases in revenues from large corporations and billionaires would help close state and city budget gaps and enable services and jobs to continue.

Last week the Connecticut Action Alliance for a Fair Economy, who sponsored the protest with Connecticut Citizen Action Group and MoveOn, issued a research paper, "Bank of America in Connecticut: Profiting Without Pitching In."

The paper showed that Bank of America paid no federal or state income taxes in 2009, due to 115 offshore tax havens. In Connecticut, 500 of the bank's workers and their families receive such low pay and benefits that they qualify for the state's Husky health program for children, costing taxpayers $6.4 million a year.

While the mega-corporation accepted federal bailout money to be used for small business loans to stimulate the economy, the paper states, in 2009 the bank made only two small business loans in Connecticut, totaling $75,000.

Bank of America's record on home foreclosures was also examined. Instead of mitigating and restructuring mortgages, they often foreclose on families, driving down local property values and hurting the local community.

In the last decade, the bank spent $11 million on campaign contributions and $24 million on lobbying. They received $2.3 billion from the federal government in 2009, while posting $4.4 billion in profits.

"America and Connecticut are not broke - we need to demand that everyone pays their fair share to rebuild the American Dream," said Tom Swan, director of the citizen action group.

Similar actions were held in Danbury, Fairfield and New Haven, where many drivers honked their horns in support. Protesters there marched from the Elm Street post office to the Bank of America next to City Hall. A poster-size tax bill was delivered to the bank manager.

At the main Brewery Street post office in the evening, members of the New Haven Peace Council distributed fliers to a steady stream of people coming to mail their tax returns. "See how your tax dollar is being spent," they said, showing that more than half of discretionary funding goes to the military.

"This is very bad," said one middle-aged woman, worried about how cuts to services would affect her.

The Connecticut Citizens Action Group and Connecticut Action for a Fair Economy have been visible at each of Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy's 17 town hall meetings on the state budget, asking why Bank of America isn't paying their fair share, especially in a time when we are asked to participate in "shared sacrifice".

Testimonies also highlighted income inequality, which is at it's highest in the United States since the 1920s. The richest 1 percent own 40 percent of the wealth. Millionaires comprise one fifth of 1 percent of taxpayers, but receive about 17.6 percent of income tax cuts.

In Connecticut, the Better Choices for Connecticut budget would close the shortfall with several measures to make the tax system more progressive. In response to the public pressure, Gov Malloy has announced he will amend his proposal to include more taxes on the wealthiest and less on middle-income residents. His proposal also includes an Earned Income Tax Credit for the lowest incomes, but there is concern that this measure might be sacrificed.


Monday, April 18, 2011


[Photo Above: The cake celebrating the one year struggle of the 1199 Spectrum Health Care workers strike.]

The one year anniversary of the 1199 Spectrum nursing home workers' struggle what held on Saturday, April 16 at the Park Place Health Center, 5 Greenwood Street in Hartford. Hundreds of representative from community and labor organizations joined the action in support of the workers.

[Photo Above: Part of the crowd at the April 16 rally at Park Place Health Care Center in Hartford, CT]

Labor and community participation is playing a critical role in supporting almost 400 workers who have faced firings, harassment, bad faith bargaining and permanent replacements. And they haven't given in. If fact, they are as determined as ever to win their jobs and a decent contract. The government has the Spectrum bosses on trail now for numerous violations.


JOIN THE PICKET LINES anytime between 6 AM and 12 Midnight at the following locations:

Birmigham Health Center, 210 Chatfield Street, Derby CT

Hilltop Health Center, 126 Ford Street, Ansonia

Laurel Hill Healthcare, 106 East Lake Street, Winsted

Park Place Health Center, 5 Greenwood Street, Hartford


Send a donation to: The 1199 Strike and Defense Fund. Checks should be sent to : District 1199, 77 Huyshope Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106.

Posted by Tom Connolly

Thursday, April 14, 2011



Sisters and Brothers:

The one-year anniversary of the 1199 Spectrum nursing home workers' struggle is fast approaching. This Saturday, April 16 we will be organizing the biggest picket line yet to support them. The event takes place at 10:00 am at the Park Place Health Center, 5 Greenwood Street, Hartford.

You're invited!

Your solidarity has already played an critical role in supporting almost 400 workers who have faced firings, harrassment, bad faith bargaining and permanent replacements. And they haven't given in. In fact, they are as determined as ever to win their jobs and a decent contract.

The government has the Spectrum bosses on trial as I type this. But we can't simply wait for a judge's decision. These nurses, aides, dietary, housekeeping and laundry workers need you now.

If you have any questions please call me at 860-251-6013. See you on the picket line!

Steve Thornton
As posted on a AFL-CIO email -- Tom Connolly

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


[Photo above: Banner of the New Haven People's Center in the WE ARE ONE rally in New Haven on March 30, 2011. Over 3,000 community and labor representatives turned out for the rally.]

Action in Connecticut to put PEOPLE BEFORE PROFITS continues to intensify. Below are some of the actions that are planned.

THURSDAY APRIL 14 - MAKE BIG BANKS PAY - 2 PM - ROOM 1-D, Legislating Office Building (LOB), 300 Capitol Ave. Hartford, CT --Join legislative leaders and the State Attorney General for the release of a full report exposing how Bank of America "profits without pitching in."

STATUARY APRIL 16 - 1199 RALLY - ONE YEAR ON STRIKE - 10 AM - PARK PLACE HEALTH CENTER (5 Greenwood Street in Hartford) --Hundreds of brothers and sisters in SEIU Local 1199 have been on strike while trying to reach a fair contract settlement with the Spectrum nursing home chain. All they want is a fair contract that values their work and their commitment to the people they care for. Sounds simple, right?

Unfortunately, they have been on strike for one year. On strike for one year when all you want to do is do your job. Every other nursing home company in Connecticut reached agreements with 1199 a long time ago. But one company, Spectrum, decided it was more important to put patients at risk than it was to settle a contract with dedicated professionals. The One Year in Struggle solidarity rally will be Saturday, April 16 at the Park Place Health Center (5 Greenwood Street in Hartford) at 10 AM.

MONDAY APRIL 18 - PROTEST CORPORATE TAX DODGERS ON TAX DAY- 4:30 PM - Bank of America in West Hartford (Corner of South Mains Street and Farmington Ave.) Sponsored by MoveON. -- While vital government services get cut, corporations like Bank of America and GE are making huge profits, but paying no federal tax.

WEDNESDAY APRIL 27 - GET ON BOARD FOR SUSTINET - 6:00 PM - Hartford Train Station, 1 Union Place, Hartford, CT - Sponsored by healthcare4every1.org. -- SustiNet is Connecticut's health care reform law that is will be voted on by our state legislators.

THURSDAY APRIL 28 - WORKERS MEMORIAL DAY - 12 Noon - State Capitol North Steps (Rain or Shine) -- Join the Connecticut AFL-CIO & the Health and Safety Committee to honor the men and women who were injured or killed on the job.


CONNECTICUT WORKERS' RIGHTS RALLY - 1-3 PM (Rain or Shine) - Bushnell Park, Hartford, CT - Sponsored by a coalition of unions. --Be sure to join thousands of Connecticut workers on this historic day as we show strength for all workers and our rights. Presently, there is a national assault on the average union worker! We need to send a message to our elected officials and the general public that all workers and their families are looking for is fair pay and fair benefits.

WORKERS RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS! - 4 PM - People's Center, 37 Howe Street, New Haven, CT - Hosted by the People's World in Connecticut. -- The program will be honoring the public service workers in Connecticut, their unions and the services they provide. The Newsmaker Awards and panel discussion includes: SEBAC (the state workers unions) - CWA Local 1298 (Workers at AT&T) and solidarity recognition of 1199 Spectrum nursing home workers on strike for one year. Home made light supper will be served.

Posted by Tom Connolly

Monday, April 11, 2011

We Are One - Workers' Rights are Human Rights

Building on the grass roots "We are One" organizing of labor and community, public and private sector workers, employed and unemployed in solidarity with each other, this years' People's World May Day celebration will honor the public workers in Connecticut, their unions and the services they provide.

The theme, "Workers Rights are Human Rights" highlights the coming together in our state and nation against attacks on public sector workers and all workers in the name of budget deficits. No layoffs of workers or cuts in services would be needed if the super rich were taxed their fair share. Monies used to fund the wars could close all state budget gaps in the country.

Newsmaker awards will be presented on Sunday, May 1 at 4:00 pm at 37 Howe Street, New Haven.to the coalition of state worker unions, SEBAC, for leadership on behalf of the needs of Connecticut's working people; and to Communications Workers CWA Local 1298 for standing up to AT&T in last year's negotiations, and building worker solidarity.

A solidarity recognition will be presented to 1199 health care workers at Spectrum, now on strike for one year.

A panel discussion will address the attempt to turn back all gains, and project how the labor movement and working people can move forward. Videos of the huge rallies in Egypt and Wisconsin for workers rights and in New Haven on March 30 will be shown.

Puerto Rican singer Fernando Ferrer, rap group The UNION, and poet Sabir Abdussabur will perform. A home made buffet will be served. Suggested donation is $5 or what you can afford.

The event caps off a full day of May 1 activities, including an immigrant rights march and May Day program on the Green in New Haven, and a workers' rights rally by the Building Trades in Hartford.

Contributions will be accepted for the 2011 fund drive of the People's World in Connecticut. To receive headlines by e-mail sign up at peoplesworld.org. For event information call 203-624-8664.