Legislative effort has a good run
By Steve Kass
Teaching Labor History in the Connecticut public schools legislation received a public hearing in the education committee of the Connecticut state legislature on March 5, 2012. This legislative effort initiated by the Greater New Haven Labor History Association had strong support from the Connecticut AFL-CIO and many statewide unions.
More than 10 people testified in favor of Senate Bill 304 sponsored by Senate Majority leader Martin Looney (11th District) and State Representative Roland Lemar (96th District). Specifically, the bill calls for the teaching of “labor history and law, including the history of organized labor, the collective bargaining process and existing legal protections in the workplace.” In fact, Martin Looney felt so strongly about the bill, he took the unusual step of testifying himself and citing personal family union history.
Considering the bill was introduced in a short session during a pressing debate on the most significant educational reform bills in 30 years, it did quite well for a first attempt. Usually, the first time a bill is introduced, the main task is lining up support and generating publicity about the legislation. By any measure, this first organizing effort was a success.
Planning will continue with the Teaching Labor History Task Force for a second attempt in next year’s longer legislative session. All are welcome to join in the planning process. To take part, please visit our Labor History in the Schools web page where you can sign up to receive meeting announcements and updates.