Wednesday, October 8, 2014

People's World Amistad Awards / People & Nature before Profits

Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 4:00 pm
Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School, College & Crown Sts, New Haven CT

Celebrate the contributions of Meg Riccio (chief steward Local 35 Unite Here), Alberto Bernandez (area leader SEIU 32BJ)  and Daniel Durant (community organizer AFT CT), three wonderful leaders and role models who challenge economic and racial inequality, in the forefront to get out the vote for jobs, health care, union rights, immigrant rights, protecting our planet, and the needs of youth.  95th anniversary CPUSA.

TICKETS available at 37 Howe St, New Haven CT 06511 OR:

Phone: 1-800-745-3000
Shubert Box Office 247 College St New Haven CT 06510.
$10.  Solidarity Ticket $25 (includes name in book)

Patron page & 2 tickets $250.  (8" x 4 7/8")
Full page & 1 ticket $150.  (8" x 4 7/8")
Half page $75  (4" x 4 7/8")
Quarter page $40  (2" x 4 7/8")
Deadline: Nov 21, 2014
Copy to:
Checks to: CT People's World Committee  37 Howe St  New Haven CT  06511

Laurie Kennington, Sen. Ed Gomes, Rep. Edwin Vargas, Fatima Rojas, Mayor Toni Harp, Kurt Westby, Ald. Delphine Clyburn, Renae Reese, John Olsen, Carmen Boudier, Art Perry, Anna Montalvo, Gwen Mills, Alfred L. Marder, Juan Hernandez, Ald. Jorge Perez, Lois O'Connor,      Rev. Scott Marks, Sharon Palmer, John Harrity, Ald. Dolores Colon, Ald. Migdalia Castro, Blair Bertaccini, Teresa Younger

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Labor, religious leaders say "get on board the CT Climate Train"

Labor and religious leaders were joined by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy at Union Station to urge residents to get on board the Climate Train for the People's Climate March in New York City on Sunday, September 21.

Action on climate change is a "moral and scientific and political imperative" said Blumenthal, who hopes the rally will make "an indisputable statement that the people of America, people of faith, working men and women know jobs and the environment are not in contradiction.”

"It is not often with one legislative issue that millions of jobs are created and millions of lives are saved," said Murphy. Using fuel cell production in Connecticut as an example he said, "If we create the demand for renewable energy, we will create jobs."

Lori Pelletier, executive secretary treasurer of CT AFL CIO said the 200,000 member organization is proud to be part of this historic event to raise awareness for safety, health, job security and environmental security.

Initiated by the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, the press conference highlighted mobilization by 13 labor organizations and several religious organizations. They are part of a large state-wide coalition of environmental, peace and community groups marching to insist the United Nations take immediate action on climate change.

Melodie Peters, president of AFT Connecticut said her members are going with the safety and future of the children they teach in mind. She thanked Governor Dannel Malloy and the senators for "advocacy and tenacity" with Metro North which won additional seats and discount fares for tickets purchased at

The Roundtable was launched two years ago by CT AFL CIO and the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network to "address urgent concerns about climate change while creating good paying jobs in the state."

Rev. Dr. Ian Douglas, Bishop Diocesan, Episcopal Diocese of CT, Rabbi Joshua Hammerman of Stamford and Fatma Antar of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford/Berlin Mosque also spoke at the press conference.

Other union endorsers include CT Education Association, SEIU State Council, State Council of Machinists, CSEA/SEIU Local 2100, CT Alliance for Retired Americans, Council 4 AFCME, CWA Local 1298, Unite Here CT, UAW Region 9A, UE Local 243 and 32 BJ SEIU.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Activists Call for Connecticut to Welcome Migrant Children

In an unprecedented effort to find locations in Connecticut to house unaccompanied migrant children from Latin America, immigrant rights groups have called on the Governor and all elected officials for urgent action.

Mayors in the state's three major cities and some suburbs are collaborating to insure that Connecticut retains it's welcome to all residents regardless of immigration states during the current humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied children seeking refugee status.

Criticism was sharp against Governor Dannel Malloy for not finding other alternatives to the Southbury Training Center which was deemed uninhabitable after federal officials requested the children be housed there. The Governor's office has engaged the Department of Children and Families to locate and reunite any of the children with relatives in Connecticut.

Republican candidates for Governor hypocritically joined in the criticism against Malloy, despite the fact that the Republican Party is responsible for blocking federal immigration reform and opposed progressive state bills which were signed by Malloy extending drivers' licenses and in-state tuition rates irregardless of immigration status.

A rally in front of the former Gateway Community College highlighted the fact that this and similar facilities should be considered by the Governor to house the children on an emergency basis.

The courage and desperation of the children was shown during the rally as several youth from Guatemala told about the violence and poverty that caused them to migrate here in search of peace. With the aid of Unidad Latina en Accion they were reunited with their families in New Haven. One mother says she lives in terror of being deported back to those dangerous conditions.

Saying that U.S. trade and foreign policies are responsible for the devastating conditions in Latin America which are forcing the children to leave their homelands, Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance spokesman Alok Bhatt argued this adds to the responsibility to embrace the children.

In an earlier press conference CIRA also called on the Governor to intervene regarding "the continued practice of detaining contributing members of our communities, despite the policies that have been recently enacted (regarding Secure Communities). There is a crisis in the immigrant community affecting many residents in Connecticut and we urge that he act now on both fronts."

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Unions Unite for Connecticut Elections

CT People's World June 20 edition

"We are not letting anybody divide the unions of the Connecticut AFL-CIO!" exclaimed Randi Weingarten to a standing ovation and loud applause as she addressed the organization's 10th biennial political convention.

Weingarten, national president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and Lee Saunders, national president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) both traveled to New Haven to warn delegates of the danger of the billionaire Koch brothers attempt to defeat Democratic governors and legislatures in order to destroy collective bargaining for public sector workers and all workers, as was done in Wisconsin two years ago.

"We need to be at the center of the community, to guarantee economic security for all," said Weingarten. "That is who we are, that is what we know!"

The convention voted unanimously to endorse Malloy for re-election this year. In his speech Malloy listed accomplishments to "build the middle class and protect our families," including the Earned Income Tax Credit, raising the minimum wage, paid sick leave, creating over 50,000 private sector jobs, investing in public education and universal access to pre-K, investing in manufacturing and our infrastructure, getting building trades back to work."

Weingarten was escorted to the platform by the presidents of three locals at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital whose members sustained a four month strike earlier this year.

The two day convention opened with remarks by Stephanie Bloomingdale, secretary treasurer of the Wisconsin AFL CIO. "The Koch brothers came for us in Wisconsin and they are coming for you," she said. "We are fighting for the vision of American that treats all people equally, where democracy is not for sale. We cannot let that light be extinguished."

Executive Secretary Treasurer Lori Pelletier concluded the convention with a strong appeal to the union leaders to take the information and the message back to their members and get them involved. Summer labor picnics, a Labor Day Breakfast will all build up toward full scale mobilization for labor walks, phone banks and workplace discussions.

The Connecticut AFL-CIO represents over 200,000 union workers from more than 900 union affiliates statewide.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

BOOK TALK with Dr. Gerald Horne

Race to Revolution: The U.S. and Cuba during Slavery and Jim Crow

Friday, July 25 at 7 pm 
New Haven Peoples Center 37 Howe Street

The histories of Cuba and the United States are tightly intertwined and have been for at least two centuries. In Race to Revolution, historian Gerald Horne examines a critical relationship between the two countries by tracing out the interconnections among slavery, Jim Crow, and revolution. Slavery was central to the economic and political trajectories of Cuba and the United States, both in terms of each nation’s internal political and economic development and in the interactions between the small Caribbean island and the Colossus of the North.

Horne draws a direct link between the black experiences in two very different countries and follows that connection through changing periods of resistance and revolutionary upheaval. Black Cubans were crucial to Cuba’s initial independence, and the relative freedom they achieved helped bring down Jim Crow in the United States, reinforcing radical politics within the black communities of both nations. This in turn helped to create the conditions that gave rise to the Cuban Revolution which, in 1959, shook the United States to its core.

Presented as a project of People's World Friday Night Film & Discussion Series Information:

Monday, June 9, 2014

Civil rights lawsuit wins landmark immigrantion law victory

by Joelle Fishman  People's World  June 9 2014

After years of organizing against racist profiling by the East Haven Police Department, including several large immigrant rights marches and intervention by the U.S. Department of Justice, a landmark legal victory has been won.

Civil rights plaintiffs in Chacón v. East Haven Police Department today announced a groundbreaking settlement with the town of East Haven. The town will pay plaintiffs $450,000 and has agreed to adopt a new wide-ranging policy, Policy 428.2, which limits the police department's involvement in enforcement of civil immigration laws. It makes East Haven the first jurisdiction in Connecticut to decline to enforce any immigration detainers.

"With this settlement, East Haven has now adopted some of the strictest constraints on immigration enforcement of any city or town in the nation," said law professor Michael Wishnie of the Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School, co-counsel in the case.

The town's police department, he said, "has agreed to limit questioning of persons about immigration status, enforcement of immigration detainers, making arrests based solely on violations of civil immigration law, and communicating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)."

When four members of the East Haven police force were arrested in 2012 as part of a federal probe into abuse of immigrant residents and shopkeepers, public outcry forced Police Chief Leonard Gallo to resign.
In pursuit of dignity, justice and respect the organization Community of Immigrants in East Haven was formed and organized a large, peaceful march to end the violence against Latinos that had resulted in the probe.
Settlement discussions began in the fall of 2013 after the criminal prosecutions of the four former East Haven police officers had concluded. Today's settlement agreement is the culmination of a civil rights lawsuit filed in 2010 in response to repeated abuses committed by East Haven police officers against Latino East Haven residents, including false arrest, assault, battery, discrimination, illegal search and seizure, and obstruction of justice, among other harms.

"We are very happy to be finished with this long struggle for the recognition of our rights, and look forward to moving on with our lives," said Marcía Chacón, an East Haven business owner and a plaintiff in the case. "My husband and I run a law-abiding small business and will continue to do so. We strongly believe that this settlement will be good for the town and other business owners like us."

"The plaintiffs in this case are ordinary people with extraordinary courage, and it was their good fortune, and mine, to work with a group of extraordinary law students from Yale who assisted in the settlement," said David Rosen, lead counsel for plaintiffs. "The agreement that was reached today will be a model for cities and towns across America.

"This settlement is a testament to the courage and patience of the plaintiffs, who committed themselves to seeking justice not just for themselves, but for the community," said James Bhandary-Alexander, an attorney at New Haven Legal Assistance and co-counsel for plaintiffs.

Friday, June 6, 2014

High Stakes in 2014 - Get Out the Vote!

So far, Connecticut has said NO to the anti-worker "tea party." Union and community coalitions have successfully put their resources into door to door organizing for jobs and healthcare and to get out the vote for worker-friendly candidates.

Linda McMahon was defeated twice. Republican Tom Foley who promised to make Connecticut another Wisconsin was defeated for Governor. In New Haven, Hartford and Bridgeport union members and allies won local elections.

That's why ALEC and the Koch Brothers have their sights set on Connecticut this year, and are already investing huge sums of money to get control of the Governor's seat and Congress.

What's at stake?

In the last three years Connecticut expanded voting rights. 4,300 home child care workers and 7,000 home health care workers won the right to organize, and won their first contracts. Connecticut was the first state to win paid sick days, and the $10.10 minimum wage benefiting 227,000 low wage workers.

The Department of Labor made history by recovering unpaid wages for a record number of workers including immigrant workers. Connecticut became the first state to enact a Futures Commission to study transitioning from an economy based on military production to an economy based on socially useful production like alternative energy with secure jobs.

It takes organizing and one-on-one discussions of the issues to get out the vote. It takes staying organized year round to be powerful enough to challenge policies that go against the interests of working people and social justice and win new gains.

There is still a long way to go to turn Connecticut around from being the most unequal state into being number one to end economic inequality. But Connecticut will only become more unequal if anti-worker extremists are elected to run state government.

Those who would destroy collective bargaining for public workers and take back rights of all workers are counting on a low voter turnout on November 4. Voting, and bringing friends, family and co-workers along is the best way to show solidarity and stand up for workers rights between now and November 4.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Court Upholds Home Car Workers Right to Unionize

The right of home based child care and home health care workers to collective bargaining was upheld this week by the Connecticut Appellate Court when a three-judge panel ruled that lawsuits by a pro- corporate group, We the People Connecticut Inc., and by two Republican legislators, were moot.

The lawsuit charged that Gov Malloy overstepped his authority when he issued an executive order allowing the home care workers to organize in 2011. The State legislature passed a law in 2012 affirming the right of the workers to unionize.

For the 4,300 licensed and family, friend, neighbor home based child care providers and the 7,000 home health care providers, the right to form a union has meant a greatly improved quality of life. Both groups of workers negotiated and signed their first contracts this year.

Nearly all of the Care 4 Kids family child care providers are women, mostly in the large cities of the state. The unlicensed family, friends and neighbor providers have been paid $2.23 an hour, a third of Connecticut's 2012 minimum wage. Under their first contract, they won a 29% increase in the first year and will be linked to the actual minimum wage. 
Licensed providers will get an 8.25% increase the first year. These providers receive about $145 a week per child, but have to spend much more on their daycare homes.

Opposition to the right of these workers to unionize came from the right-wing Americans for Prosperity and the Yankee Institute, but the workers convinced the Legislature to vote in favor of the right to collective bargaining.

Nationally, the Harris V Quinn lawsuit brought by the Right to Work Foundation currently before the U.S. Supreme Court could devastate unions by outlawing agency shop for home care and other workers.
The Connecticut ruling came days after Gov Malloy won the Democratic nomination for re-election, while Republicans nominated Tom Foley for governor.

Home care workers remember that under a Republican Governor they had been unable to win the right to collective bargaining.

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepson said that Governor Malloy's executive order was lawful and appropriate

Thursday, May 15, 2014

CT Communist Party adopts Economic Bill of Rights

Special to the People's World  May 16 2014

NEW HAVEN, Conn.-Messages from labor and community leaders, participation by young people, and adoption of a Connecticut Economic Bill of Rights highlighted the lively and powerful convention of the Connecticut district of the Communist Party on May Day weekend.

"It's time to turn up the heat," said Rev. Scott Marks, recognizing the YCL and New Elm City Dream youth group who have been marching to end violence with the theme "Jobs for Youth - Jobs for All." The demands that the youth have brought forward have been adopted as top priorities by the New Haven Board of Alders on which union members and their allies hold a super majority.

Jennifer Graham and Jackie Marks, high school students representing New Elm City Dream on the mayor's planning committee to rebuild the Q House youth center, got loud applause when they explained, "We wanted to bring the violence down. We marched and campaigned for the Q House."

Local 34 Unite Here president Laurie Kennington, Alderwoman Evette Hamilton and Hartford City Council Minority Leader (Working Families Party) Larry Deutsch also appreciated the Communist Party for always being there for working people.

The multi-racial and multi-generational gathering took stock of the last four years and discussed how to win living wage jobs and other gains to improve the lives of working people, unemployed and youth.

"People are talking everywhere about how the system is broken. They're looking for answers," said Joelle Fishman, who chairs the Communist Party in Connecticut. "They see in the Communist Party an organization that is part of the working class, part of them. It's a big responsibility."

She said Connecticut has bucked national trends in elections because of labor's grassroots organizing on issues and fielding union members as candidates. This has resulted in the ability to expand the right of workers to organize, take major steps towards protecting the rights and safety of immigrants, and increased protections on the job. It has also made the state a target of extreme right-wing organizations that are spending huge sums to try and recapture the governor's seat and Congress in November's elections.

Participants cheered as the story was told of how 4,300 low-wage women home child care workers, mostly African American and Latino, won the right to collective bargaining at the state legislature. Once Governor Malloy signed the bill into law, the workers chose SEIU to represent them and successfully negotiated their first union contract.

Highlighting that and other Connecticut "firsts" including paid sick days, raising the minimum wage, same day and on-line voter registration, drivers license and in-state tuition for immigrants, and a Futures Commission study for economic conversion, Fishman decried the fact that Connecticut is also first in income inequality. She called for immediate steps to make Connecticut first in ending inequality, such as taxing the incomes of the top 1% at a higher rate equal to the rate the 99% pay.

Delegates old and new embraced a culture of organizing has led to steady growth of the Communist Party and YCL. After hearing presentations from the North Main club in Hartford which is known for holding the civilian review board accountable for police conduct, and the Newhall club in New Haven which is organizing door-to-door on the issue of jobs, the convention broke down into small groups to discuss how the work of their clubs makes a difference in their communities and why the Communist Party is needed to give people a voice and a vision.

"We wake up the neighborhood to act when there's a problem," said one group emphasizing use of the People's World in the community to get out the news from a working-class point of view.
"You are active in your community, which is what you should be doing," said national vice chair Libero Della Piana, who added that the national convention will provide a venue to share experiences from around the country and to hear from international guests. Placing the struggles in a bigger perspective, he warned of the dangers of extreme right-wing voter suppression and big spending to try and gain control of Congress and state offices in 2014.

The convention adopted a Connecticut Economic Bill of Rights that proclaims a living wage job with the right to a union, housing, health care, education and a peaceful, sustainable environment are basic human rights. While stating "fully ending inequality needs socialism," the document details immediate local and national demands to tax the rich and move money from military spending to infrastructure repair and people's needs.
The convention also adopted a resolution encouraging voter education and participation in voter registration and voter turnout efforts for November's election. A delegation of 25 was elected to represent the state at the 30th national convention in Chicago next month.

"The Connecticut YCL youth are incredible," said Lisa Bergmann who co-chaired the convention and is an organizer for the YCL nationally. They march, they chair meetings and recruit new youth to join them. They are making a qualitative difference in the lives of youth in Connecticut and inspiring the whole movement."

Following the convention, a People's World May Day tribute to Pete Seeger and Amiri Baraka was held upstairs in the sanctuary of the First and Summerfield Methodist Church, site of countless union rallies and mobilizations. The public event featured folk music, rhythm and blues, spoken word, Latin American New Song and a slide show of May Day Around the World.


Public Retirement Plan Advances

The ‘Retirement for All CT’ Coalition declared victory last week as the Connecticut General Assembly voted to invest $400,000 to lay the groundwork for the creation of a state-level public retirement plan, open to all private sector workers.
The funds mark the largest ever state-level investment in the creation of such a plan, with the ultimate goal of providing retirement security to the 740,000+ Connecticut workers currently not covered by an employer-based retirement savings plan — without imposing any additional cost on employers. 
This is an incredible moment as Connecticut has just catapulted into the national lead on this critical issue for working families,” said Sal Luciano, Executive Director of Council 4 AFSCME, the state’s largest public employee union.
 By laying the groundwork for a public retirement savings option for all private-sector workers, Connecticut is making a serious, first-in-the-nation investment with the aim of developing an optimal plan for our state that will ensure the greatest possible return on workers’ savings. This is progressive leadership at its finest, responding to the voices of the thousands across the state who have spoken up and urged their elected officials to address the retirement crisis.”
The Connecticut Retirement Security Board will include employees, employers, and investment experts, and is charged with developing a state-administered Public Retirement Plan by 2018.
Bette Marafino, President of the Connecticut Alliance for Retired Americans said, "The Connecticut Retirement Security Board will be tasked with developing the most effective way for our state to move forward in expanding access to low-cost, quality retirement savings vehicles for Connecticut’s workers. We’ve been saying all along that retirement shouldn’t be a gamble. And with this proposal, thankfully, it no longer will be.”

Retirement for All CT supporters include: Connecticut Alliance for Retired Americans, Council 4 AFSCME, Connecticut AFL-CIO, Connecticut Working Families, SEIU Connecticut, Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, Connecticut Association for Human Services (CAHS), Spanish American Merchants Association (SAMA), CT National Organization for Women (CT-NOW), United Auto Workers (UAW), CT chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, and CSEA.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Top 14 quotes from Pope Francis, "2013 Person of theYear"

…Prioritizing the Catholic social doctrine of serving the poor and feeding the hungry, Pope Francis said, in a June 14 address to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, that the Catholic and Episcopal churches share this mission:

1) "Among our tasks as witnesses to the love of Christ is that of giving a voice to the cry of the poor, so that they are not abandoned to the laws of an economy that seems at times to treat people as mere consumers."

The pope expressed concern for immigrants July 7 in a homily on Italy's Lampedusa island, three months later, a rickety boat full of immigrants from Ghana, Somalia and Eritrea, sank off the coast of Lampedusa, killing more than 100 men, women and children:

2) "These our brothers and sisters seek to leave difficult situations in order to find a little serenity and peace, they seek a better place for themselves and for their families - but they found death. How many times to those who seek this not find understanding, do not find welcome, do not find solidarity!"
Returning to the Vatican from Brazil, Francis spoke with journalists on the papal airplane, July 29, and made world headlines when he said:  

3) "If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, well who am I to judge them?"
Again, in September, the pope made global news when he said the church has been too "obsessed" with issues of abortion, contraception and gay marriage. The following quotes come from the English translation of his wide-ranging and lengthy interview, published Sept. 30 in the Jesuit journal, America:

4) "We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods ... The church's pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently ... We have to find a new balance ..."

5) "Those who today always look for disciplinarian solutions, those who long for an exaggerated doctrinal 'security,' those who stubbornly try to recover a past that no longer exists - they have a static and inward-directed view of things."

6) "Women are asking deep questions that must be addressed. The church cannot be herself without the woman and her role. The woman is essential for the church. Mary, a woman, is more important than the bishops."
(Yet Francis also said the door is closed on women becoming ordained.)
Pope Francis made the following comments during a dialog with Eugenio Scalfari, founder of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, translated to English, Oct. 1. The dialog covered many topics, from politics to Marxism to the pope's favorite saints. La Repubblica is considered a progressive-left newspaper, and Scalfari is a well-known atheist.

7) "I also had a teacher for whom I had a lot of respect and developed a friendship and who was a fervent communist. She often read Communist Party texts to me and gave them to me to read. So I also got to know that very materialistic conception. I remember that she also gave me the statement from the American Communists in defense of the Rosenbergs, who had been sentenced to death. The woman I'm talking about was later arrested, tortured and killed by the dictatorship then ruling in Argentina. Her materialism had no hold over me. But learning about it through a courageous and honest person was helpful. I realized a few things, an aspect of the social, which I then found in the social doctrine of the Church."

8) "The real trouble is that those most affected by [an excessive love for oneself] - which is actually a kind of mental disorder - are people who have a lot of power. Often bosses are narcissists."

9) "I think so-called unrestrained [economic] liberalism only makes the strong stronger and the weak weaker and excludes the most excluded. We need great freedom, no discrimination, no demagoguery and a lot of love. We need rules of conduct and also, if necessary, direct intervention from the state to correct the more intolerable inequalities."
On Nov. 25, the pope again made headlines with his Apostolic Exhortation, which included a sharp condemnation of the capitalist economy.

10) "How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?"

11) "The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule."

12) "No to a financial system, which rules rather than serves. Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God."

13) "We are far from the so called 'end of history,' since the conditions for a sustainable and peaceful development have not yet been adequately articulated and realized."
Reacting to right-wingers who criticized him by labeling him "Marxist," Pope Francis said in an interview with Italian daily La Stampa, Dec. 15 that Marxism is wrong, but:

14) "I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I do not feel offended."
Photo: Pope Francis greets people in Varginha, Brazil, July 27.  (Agencia Brazil/CC)

Source:  People’s World on Line:
Posted by Tom Connolly