Sunday, December 25, 2011


Jobs for Youth – Jobs for All!
People's World Amistad Awards and Youth Performances
December 20, 2011

Dear Friends, Allies, Sisters and Brothers,

2011 has been an extraordinary year for grass roots movement building on behalf of the 99% in New Haven, in Connecticut and across the country and around the world! The election of many new Alderpersons who are union activists is shifting the political balance in favor of the needs of working people in New Haven.

It was so inspiring to see this rising power in action during the first week of December for jobs, safety and youth needs. An overflow community gathering at Conte-West Hills School mapped out a grass roots agenda. A giant march of 1,000 organized by Occupy, unions and community groups converged on Wall St in New Haven with a clear message challenging corporate greed.
An outstanding rally during that week was the Jobs for Youth -Jobs for All People's World Amistad Awards Rally on December 4. Three leaders in this movement were honored – Renae Reese, director, Connecticut Center for a New Economy, Alderwoman-elect Delphine Clyburn and Pastor Abraham Hernandez.

The highlight of this event and the entire week was the youth of the Young Communist League (YCL) and New Elm City Dream who have stepped forward to secure their right to a decent future. In response to the 32 lives lost to violence in New Haven this year, most of them youth, these young people have taken leadership in the struggle for good jobs.

In the summer they went door knocking in the Aldermanic election. Next they organized a youth jobs roundtable at the New Haven Peoples Center and decided to meet every week. They learned how to ask their school friends and family to sign petitions in support of jobs legislation. They collected 650 signatures and organized a march of 200 through downtown New Haven. They held a rally for jobs and to re-open the Q House with MoveOn, and stood with the AFL-CIO at Senator Lieberman's office in Hartford, calling on him to support jobs legislation.

The Amistad Awards rally was held on the occasion of the 92nd anniversary of the Communist Party USA. While recognizing the honorees and enjoying poetry, song and dance performed by the youth, everyone also learned that the Communist Party is a staunch fighter for the working class in our country, which is why its name is so maligned by the 1%.

Through the decades, the Communist Party has always been there in the struggles against racism, and for equality, union rights and peace, while projecting the need for expanding the Bill of Rights to include economic and social justice – socialism USA- to achieve full equality. It is no accident that the Young Communist League is playing such a wonderful leadership role today.

This is to express appreciation to everyone in the community and labor movement who participated, supported, attended, performed, spoke, or otherwise contributed. We look forward to continuing to build this great movement together, and continuing to share and discuss our vision for a better world.

In Solidarity,
Amistad Awards Organizing Committee
37 Howe Street, New Haven CT 06511 (203) 624-8664
Posted by: Tom Connolly

Saturday, December 24, 2011


As you may have heard by now, John Boehner and his caucus of Tea Party obstructionists in the House of Representatives finally accepted political reality. Yesterday, they announced they'd join with 89 out of 100 senators from both political parties who’d already voted to renew unemployment aid for two months—with no cuts and no strings attached.This is an enormous victory.

Thanks to you, 2.8 million jobless Americans will have a brighter holiday season—and a helping hand over the next two months. Not an easy time. Not a handout or a free ride. But a lifeline and a chance that you made possible.

In the fight to extend aid for the jobless, the 99% went on the offense against the 1% politicians. And we won. And if working people keep it up, we’ll score more victories and build a better future. Not every time—two steps forward, one step back. But look around. People all across the country are saying our economy and our democracy are out of balance. And they’re winning the public debate.I hope you’ll take some well-deserved time this holiday season to rest, reflect and recharge. Because in 2012, huge challenges will keep on coming. And we’ll need you ready to start early, act often and work harder than ever.

I wish all the best for you and your family, for our unions and for our nation this holiday season and in the year ahead.Thank you for all the work you do.

In Solidarity,

Richard L. TrumkaPresident, AFL-CIO

P.S. Want to get more involved in our work? “Like” the AFL-CIO on Facebook.

Posted by Tom Connolly - Reprint Email from Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO

Friday, December 23, 2011

Connecticut youth lead fight for jobs

by Lisa Bergmann People's World December 19 2011

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Young Communist League and a new youth organization called the New Elm City Dream are on the front lines of the fight for jobs in Connecticut. The number of deaths in 2011 due to violence has risen to 32 in New Haven, where these youth groups are focused on linking the problem of youth violence to the lack of job opportunities. Most of the people who have been killed are young African American men. Most youth of color living in New Haven and other urban communities in Connecticut have been personally affected by violence.

The YCL helped found the New Elm City Dream this past September by organizing a Youth Jobs Roundtable, which was attended by over 40 young people and a number of adult leaders in the labor movement, elected officials, and other community organizations. At this meeting, youth from New Haven, also known as the "Elm City", and its surrounding areas identified a list of challenges they face as young people. These challenges included violence, teen pregnancy, lack of job opportunities, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hatred, drugs in the community, and struggling to gain respect from adults. The adults at the meeting from the labor movement and elsewhere in the city committed their support for a Youth Jobs Campaign.

Prior to this September meeting, the Young Communist League was part of the massive, successful community effort in New Haven during the summer of 2011 to elect 14 working-class leaders to the city's Board of Aldermen, where leaders with a working-class political orientation now hold a majority.

Having laid this foundation, the New Elm City Dream and the YCL are pushing the issue of jobs for youth into the public conversation in Connecticut. The first action the youth took was the collection of 650 signatures on a petition in support of Obama's American Jobs Act and Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky's Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act. The petition organizing led up to an action on November 2, when the New Elm City Dream led its first Youth Jobs March on the New Haven Green. The march was attended by over 200 people, including 80 youth and many allies from the labor and Occupy New Haven movements.

On Nov. 17, the New Elm City Dream teamed up with and New Haven's Unemployed Action Committee to hold a press conference in front of the Dixwell Avenue Q House, one of New Haven's most historic youth and community centers. The Q House was a significant, comprehensive resource center in the heart of the African American community. It was closed down 10 years ago due to lack of funding, and community cries to reopen the center have been repeatedly ignored and disrespected since that time. The November 17 press conference called for jobs for youth and adults who want to work to rebuild centers like the Q House.

On December 4, at the People's World Amistad Awards in New Haven, the Communist Party, YCL, and the New Elm City Dream presented a full artistic program based on the theme of "Jobs for Youth, Jobs for All!" The program included dancers, slam poets, jazz musicians, graffiti artists, and more. Over 300 people filled the auditorium at the rally-style event, which highlighted the young people and their role in advocating for their own rights to decent jobs and decent lives.

On December 6, the labor movement, Occupy New Haven, the New Elm City Dream, and others came together in a march for jobs and safe streets that was attended by over 1,000 people. Marchers flooded the first floor of City Hall on the rainy December evening, symbolizing the new political strength working people have in the city following the aldermanic elections. The youth from the New Elm City Dream were asked to lead the 1,000-person march.

On December 8, nine young people from the New Elm City Dream rode 40 minutes up the highway to Hartford, the state capital, for a rally in front of Sen. Joseph Lieberman's office. The rally was organized by the Connecticut State AFL-CIO and the Hartford Labor Council, and called for jobs and an extension of unemployment insurance. The youth presented a giant card to Lieberman's representative, calling on the senator to support jobs for youth and jobs for all. During a camera interview with Fox News, Teyanna Gray, a New Haven high school student, stated, "When I get money from babysitting or other jobs, I use it to help my mom out with groceries and other things we need for my family. But I'm concerned because if I see my mom struggling now, I know I will need a good job to pay for things when I get to be an adult. So that's why we're saying that the youth need jobs too, to be able to provide for ourselves, and we promise we won't let you down."

Throughout the marches, rallies, and press conferences, the young people from the YCL and the New Elm City Dream have spoken publicly about the ways that violence has affected their lives. The November 2 Youth Jobs March began with a candlelight vigil to recognize the young people who have been killed in New Haven due to gun violence. Latoya Agnew, a 19-year-old from New Haven's Newhallville neighborhood, bravely shared her experience with gun violence at the November 17 press conference and the march on December 6. "When I was 12, my best friend and cousin was arrested and taken to jail," she said. "Then, when he was 18, he was shot, and I was with him when he got shot. Thankfully he didn't die, but the police didn't do anything about the guy who shot him, so when he went back to get revenge he was arrested again.
"Now he's in jail, and the only way I can communicate with him is through letters and phone calls," she said, her voice breaking.

The success of the youth jobs organizing in Connecticut is an indication that there is a national need to link record youth unemployment levels with the other urgent issues that urban youth face, including the perverse frequency of deaths amongst their peers. The decision the young people have made to connect youth violence with the lack of job opportunities has also created a strong link between the youth, the labor movement, and Occupy in New Haven. Capria Marks, 16-year-old member of the New Elm City Dream, MC'd the speaking program at the Youth Jobs March on November 2. In her opening statements, she said, "When I was younger, I would hear about my friends' grandparents dying, my parents' elders dying, and that was sad, but it seemed more normal. But now, we're losing our friends, our peers, our high school students! This has got to stop. The youth are here taking a stand to say we need jobs. If you remember in the civil rights movement, it was the youth who went to the front lines and even went to jail for what they believed. We are doing the same."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


By a vote of 1,603 to 88 the home care providers who participate in the CT. Care 4 Kids program vote to take the first step to joining CSEA/SEIU Local 2001. The Care 4 Kids program is the state's primary child care subsidy that is manged by the state Department of Social Services. The organizing drive has been going on for about 6 years. Fifteen other states have unionized home care providers. About 96 % of the home care providers are women.

Matt O'Connor, a spokesperson for CSEA/SEIU said, "This particular group needed a voice. They care for children of families who qualify for assistance to enable working parents to re-enter the job market for for folks to finish their education...They are an important part of early education."

Gov. Malloy noted that, "My position all along has been that family child care workers should have the right to organize, which is exactly what they have chosen to do. I hope that they will use their new collective voice to effect positive changes to the Care 4 Kids program."

Posted by Tom Connolly

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Photo Above: An Occupy Hartford action in Hartford on the steps to the Bank of America that took place several weeks ago. One of the signs notes: "The 99% vs The Bank of America."

Yesterday the Hartford Police at the directive of Mayor Pedro Segarra were evicted for their camp site. In spite of the eviction leaders noted that the movement will continue. JoAnne Beaer, one of the Occupiers said, "This disbandment will probably bring new people into the movement. It's like a Hydra -- you cut of a head and three more appear at that spot. That's what happened in other places where police have gone in to disband the camps." If the 1% thinks that closing a Occupy sites will stop the movement they are mistaken.

Hartford Occupiers with be present at vigil to demand the renewal of unemployment insurance. The action will talk place at Senator Lieberman's office on:

Date: Thursday, December 8th, 2011 --Time: 5 PM -- Place: Senator Lieberman's Office - 1 constitution Plaza, Hartford


Posted by Tom Connolly