Friday, December 18, 2015

Hundreds of Janitors Rally in Stamford for a Fair Contract

As December 31 Deadline Nears, Janitors Say Employers’ Proposals Fall Short of a Fair Deal

STAMFORD, N.Y.— Hundreds of office building cleaners took to the streets of Stamford today to rally for good jobs as the deadline approaches on the current contract between 3,500 local cleaners and the Hudson Valley/Fairfield County Contractors Association.

“We’re not going backwards, we’re going forwards!” exclaimed Alberto Bernardez, 32BJ Assistant Supervisor in Connecticut, in front of Government Center in Stamford late this afternoon. Within a few minutes, some 200 janitors carrying signs and blowing whistles were turning his words into deeds, marching through downtown Stamford at rush hour to raise their voices for a fair contract by December 31. 

In negotiations since November 18, the contractors have not yet proposed the kind of fair wage increases or the necessary support of health benefits, pensions and dedicated sick days that the janitors need.

“We have fought hard to organize the union and get the benefits we have,” said Leonel Arenas, a Stamford cleaner and member of the bargaining committee. “We’re not going to surrender our benefits or our commitment to a fair wage increase, and today we’re out here to let the contractors know there’s little time left to accept that!”

The workers were also warmed on the drizzly evening by supporting words from State Senator Carlo Leone and State Representatives Terry Adams and Chris Perone.

“I stand behind these workers’ demand for a good contract, with fair wages and benefits,” said Senator Leone. “Stamford workers should make a wage that allows them to survive in our city.”

Stamford cleaners currently earn a wage of $14.80 an hour, and work at approximately 240 office buildings and facilities in the area, including the BLT Financial Center, the Royal Bank of Scotland Building and University of Connecticut. The negotiations are part of a series being held across the East Coast this fall, covering over 70,000 office building janitors.

With more than 145,000 members in 11 states and Washington DC, including 4,000 members in Connecticut, 32BJ is the largest building service workers union in the country.

32 BJ Press Release - Posted by Tom Connolly

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Amistad Awards to be held December 6

This year's Amistad Awards will be presented by the People's World on Sunday, December 6, 2015 at 4:00 pm at an anniversary rally in New Haven at Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School, 177 College Street on the theme "Justice for All. In Solidarity with Black and Latino Youth. Stop the Right-wing Attacks."
Jill Marks, Ciro Gutierrez and Cindy Harrity, three grass roots leaders and organizer, will receive the awards.
Special recognition will also be given to Edie Fishman marking her 80th year as a grass roots leader for justice since joining the YCL at age 14.
A cultural program in solidarity with Black and Latino youth struggling for survival, jobs and education will highlight the event. 
The annual awards are presented to allies by the People's World on the occasion of the 96th anniversary of the Communist Party USA.

Jill Marks stepped up this year as an organizer with New Haven Rising. She was elected in the September primaries to represent Ward 28 on the New Haven Board of Alders, as part of the labor-community alliance majority. She is mother of six, choir director of her church and has worked alongside her husband Rev. Scott Marks for many years.
Ciro Gutierrez is a member leader of SEIU 32 BJ in Hartford. He is now on the negotiating committee in a key labor battle covering 2,000 building service workers, part of national contract negotiations. He has fought for justice for immigrant workers and janitors for many years. He immigrated from Peru, became a citizen and raised three children here.
Cindy Harrity organized for Communication Workers of America 1298 for ten years until her recent retirement due to health. She got involved in the fight for workplace fairness over health insurance as a part-time worker. She has since organized around the country and supports husband John Harrity's work as president of the CT State Council of Machinists.
Tickets are $10. Ticket and adbook information is available at or call 203-624-4254 or e-mail
People's World Amistad Awards and Celebration
                                      Anniversary Rally & Greeting Book, 2015

Sunday, December 6, 2015 at 4 pm
Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School, 177 College St, New Haven

E-mail formatted copy or text: or mail to: 37 Howe St, New Haven, CT 06511
Deadline for formatted copy or text: November 21, 2015

Centerspread & 4 tickets    $500      (8” high x 10.5” wide). - center two pages of the book
Patron page  & 2 tickets     $250      (8” high x 4 7/8” wide) - special placement in the book
Full page   & 1 ticket          $150      (8” high x 4 7/8” wide)
Half page            $75        (4” high x 4 7/8” wide).
Quarter page      $40        (2” high x 4 7/8” wide).
Name                   $15

$10 each
$25 each for solidarity tickets (includes name in book)


Ad(s) in greeting book. Size(s):
Tickets. Quantity

Checks to CT People's World Committee. Mail to 37 Howe St, New Haven, CT 06511


Name of contact person:

Street, city, state, zip:



CT People's World -- 37 Howe Street -- New Haven, Ct 06511 --

Friday, June 19, 2015

Charleston massacre demands renewed struggle to uproot racism

Thank you Midge Purcell for this call to action:
Terrorism has always been used against the black community; the paterollers during slavery, the rise of the KKK, police violence on the streets of Ferguson and Baltimore, and for the second time in my lifetime against worshipers seeking the word of God. Our community resists and fights back. It is in our DNA. We always have. We will again. The question is who will join us? It is time for a national movement against racism in every city, village and town in this country. The future progress of this country demands it. The violence inflicted on black men, women and children - physical, psychological, social and economic- must stop. We want peace, jobs and justice.

March calls for hiring to end jobs crisis

People's World

by Joelle Fishman

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The power of unity and solidarity filled Church Street in front of City Hall on June 11 as every neighborhood and many unions rallied together behind the banner of New Haven Rising for good jobs for city residents.

The rally and march, the latest action in a four-year campaign, highlighted the fact that of 82,000 jobs in New Haven only 2,000 living wage jobs at $20 an hour belong to residents of the largely Black and Latino Dixwell, Newhall, Hill, Fair Haven and Dwight neighborhoods.

In 2012 the newly elected Board of Alders, including many union members, established New Haven Works to train and locate jobs at major employers. In 15 months 500 people were placed. But now there are another 500 ready and waiting. The rally called on Yale University and Yale New Haven Hospital to hire them now so the thousands more in the jobs pipeline can move forward.

" Let’s be real about who the jobs crisis effects.  Unemployment is 15%.  For our white brothers and sisters – it’s 8%.  For the black and Latino communities, nearly 20%," said Pastor Scott Marks, founder of New Haven Rising. "Employers need to increase their hiring rate – and their focus on hiring from our communities of need," he declared to cheers and applause.

The Carpenters Union gets it, he said, asking the state-wide delegation of 45, mostly white males, to wave their hands. "Give the carpenters a cheer," he said. "We need more carpenters from New Haven to get in the union and then those carpenters can join these carpenters so everyone is working!"

After speeches, a community drill team led the multi racial crowd with many families and children to Prospect and Sachem Streets, the site of two new dormitories under construction at Yale. Against this backdrop, the rally called on the University to hire locally for construction jobs and for permanent union jobs once the dorms are completed.

New Elm City Dream and YCL youth groups were asked to stand in front with the banner from their march for jobs in February, carrying on their campaign for jobs for youth and jobs for all which began in 2010 after 31 young people lost their lives to street violence.

Mayor Toni Harp responded to the crowd in front of City Hall with three messages: One, I am with you, she said. Two, we are working on meeting transportation needs, ending discrimination against those with prison records and removing other barriers for the unemployed and under employed. Three, I will push the three major employers - Yale, Yale-New Haven Hospital, and the City of New Haven, to make these hires, she concluded to applause.

This response was the result of hundreds of house meetings, thousands of individual meetings, and overflow turnouts for the Black and Hispanic Caucus jobs crisis forum and state of the city address earlier this year, as well as an intensive grass roots leadership development program by New Haven Rising.

Two days prior to the rally, Yale University issued a statement that it will hire 500 New Haveners over the next two years. "That's fine," Tyisha Walker, president of the Board of Alders and secretary of Local 35, told the crowd. "But what neighborhoods will those workers come from?"

The unions at Yale including Locals 34 and 35 and GESO the graduate students, are all facing major battles as the university seeks to downsize its unionized staff and expand subcontracting practices. The union contracts expire in a year and a half.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Stealing Wages from Workers Gets More Expensive

In response to an unprecedented community response exposing wage theft in Connecticut, the state legislature passed SB 914. The bill, now awaiting signature from Governor Malloy, was very controversial, passing the Senate by three votes and the House by just one vote.

The bill penalizes unscrupulous employers by awarding double damages for wage theft violations. This brings Connecticut in line with surrounding states and federal statues.

Wage theft has become one of the biggest issues facing low wage workers in Connecticut, especially immigrant workers. Unidad Latina en Accion, an immigrant rights organization in New Haven, with the Immigrant Workers Center, issued a report including stories of those who were not paid for their work as legally required.

Wage theft covers a variety of infractions including nonpayment of overtime, not paying for all hours worked, withholding a final pay check, not paying minimum wage, not turning over tips and misclassifying workers as independent contractors. Restaurant, retail, construction, day labor, long term care, home health care and agricultural jobs are particularly impacted by wage theft violations.

The report explains that "frequently workers take an employer to court and win, but they cannot collect any money, because the employer declares bankruptcy or argues that he has no assets. In thousands of cases every year, Connecticut employers close their businesses and reopen with a different name; transfer property to family members; leave the country with their property; and use other tactics to “disappear” their assets so they can avoid paying the worker what they owe."

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) double damages are mandated in cases of proven wage theft. Effective enforcement laws must not only compensate the worker but deter violations by employers. Ten states actually allow treble damages (AZ, ID, ME, MD, MA, MI, NB, ND, VT, WV).

SB 914 continues to allow judges to use their discretion when awarding double damages if they determine the employer was acting in good faith. It does not cost the state money and in fact, allows for recovery of taxes for the state. Business benefits by creating a level playing field instead of one where unscrupulous employers undercut legitimate employers because they pay less for their labor.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Populism 2015 Conference launches campaign for "new" economy » peoplesworld

Populism 2015 Conference launches campaign for "new" economy » peoplesworld

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Tell the State Legislature: Fair Taxes, Not Cuts!

Connecticut's state budget is now being debated in the General Assembly. Governor Malloy's proposal includes cuts to housing, nutrition, youth programs and more as a way to close the budget deficit. This is wrong and unnecessary.
In Connecticut, the richest state, the debate should not include cuts to low and middle income families struggling to make ends meet. State and local taxes falls most heavily on those with the lowest incomes. The wealthiest residents pay less than one-half the effective tax rate paid by almost everyone else. The budget should be balanced by making taxes fair for all, and requiring that the top 5% pay the same combined tax rate as the bottom 95%.
Connecticut needs about $1.3 billion in the coming year just to maintain services and meet pension and health fund obligations. The deficit is made worse by federal government budget cuts, which have placed more pressure on states.
The bottom line is that it is possible to generate the revenue necessary to meet the needs of the people of our state without cutting services while reducing the tax burden on most working families.
If households with incomes over $300,000 (the top 3 or 4%) paid the same tax rate as the rest of the people of Connecticut, it would raise an additional $2 billion a year in revenue. Measures advocated by members of the community-labor coalition Better Choices for CT include:
  • HB 5791, Corporate Accountability for Large Employers that pay poverty wages
  • Extend sales tax to services used by large businesses
  • Close other corporate loopholes and end corporate tax expenditures
  • Maintaining the scheduled EITC increase
  • Additional tax on portion of income over $500,000
  • Statewide equalization of automobile tax rates
These proposals would provide the revenue to meet the growing needs of our state, averting cuts to basic human needs, and avoiding further burdens on state workers. It would shift the tax burden to those most able to pay, and ease the critical tax and fiscal burden on many of our cities and towns.

Friday, February 6, 2015

People's World 41st Annual African American History Month Celebration

Indict the System - Life Matters for All - Let Us Breathe & Grow

HARTFORD Saturday, February 21 at 6:30 PM at King-Davis Center 77 Huyshope Ave
NEW HAVEN Sunday, February 22 Youth March 1:30, Program 4:00 PM at 37 Howe St

The 41st Annual African American History Month Celebration, "Indict the System - Life Matters for All - Let Us Breathe & Grow" will feature special guest Zenobia Thompson a long time social justice activist in St. Louis Missouri, who will share experiences from Ferguson and call for a movement to end police brutality and structural and institutional racism in our country.

Thompson, a retired nurse and health care activist, is a board member of Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and participates with Jobs with Justice, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and the Organization for Black Struggle. She was the first recipient of the Martin Luther King Award 37 years ago for leading the struggle to save Homer G. Phillips Hospital. She is a member of the National Committee of the Communist Party USA.

Hartford and New Haven events include a home made buffet. A donation of $5 or what you can afford is requested.

The celebration will take place on Saturday evening, February 21 at 6:30 pm at the King-Davis Labor Center, 77 Huyshope Ave. with remarks by Zenobia Thompson.

37 Howe Street
1:30 pm MARCH
"Hands Up, Hoodies Up, Jobs for Youth, Jobs for All!" Please join the New Elm City Dream and the New Haven YCL in a march honoring Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and all others lost to racist violence.  The youth say: "Come out and support the loved ones we've lost and the changes we are going to make." The march will begin and end at the New Haven Peoples' Center, 37 Howe Street.
Immediately following the march. The celebration will include remarks by Zenobia Thompson, drumming by Brian Jarawa Gray and presentations of prizes in the High School Arts and Writing Competition, "How Do We Achieve Justice for All?" highlighting the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act and focusing on recent police killings of black youth across the country. Deadline for entries is February 12. Information at: or call 203-624-8664.

These events open the 2015 People's World fund drive in Connecticut. Your contribution toward the $2,500 goal for African American History month is much needed and appreciated to sustain this working class voice against racism and for equality. Read daily on-line and sign up to get the CT print edition.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

How Do We Achieve Justice For All?

African American History Month 2015
Arts and Writing Competition for High School Students
Sponsored annually by the Connecticut People's World Committee to remember the
lives and work of Dalzenia Henry and Virginia Henry who devoted themselves to the
young people of New Haven and to making a better future.

How Do We Achieve Justice For All?

"The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. " -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

When the civil rights movement won passage of the Voting Rights Act fifty years ago in 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. said this was part of a continuing struggle to end the "triple evils of poverty, racism and war..."

The Voting Rights Act banned racial discrimination in voting practices by the federal government as well as by state and local governments. That goal has not been realized. In 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated the most important enforcement measures. Since then many states have enacted laws which makes it very difficult for eligible voters to exercise their democratic right to cast their ballots. These laws have especially hurt voters in African American and Latino communities.

With the peaceful march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965 demonstrators demanding passage of the Voting Rights Act were brutally attacked by law enforcement officials. As a result, grassroots protests sprang up across the country. Today racial profiling of Blacks and Latinos and police killings of Black youth in impoverished communities have given rise to a national movement for fair and equal policing.

Express in artwork, poetry, essay or song:

Your vote is your voice. If your voice were heard what ideas would you present to local, state and federal government toward a bill of rights for fair and equal policing? What actions could you take to achieve justice for all?

Requirements + Art work – Paper size not larger than 12” x 18”
+ Essay, poem or song – Not longer than 2 pages

Deadline Entries must be received by 5 pm on Thursday, February 12, 2015
Name, address, phone, e-mail, age, school, teacher's name must be included

Submission Electronic:
Mail: CT People's World, 37 Howe Street, New Haven. CT 06511

Prizes Gift certificates ($100 first place, $50 second place, $25 third place) and books

Presentation Prizes and recognition for all entries will be presented on Sunday, February 22,
2015 at 4:00 pm at the New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe Street, New Haven
during the 41st Annual African American History Month Celebration sponsored by
the Connecticut People's World Committee.

Information 203-624-8664 or e-mail to: