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Articles About our Labor History - Past & Present

New ‘Striketober’ Looms as US Walkouts Increase Amid Surge in Union Activity

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Philadelphia Home Depot Workers File to Form Company’s First Ever Retail Union

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These Southern Workers Are Organizing – And Speaking Up

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New Labor Movement Might Save America Just Yet

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Second COLA Increase Announced

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‘This Is Our Time’: How Women Are Taking Over the Labor Movement

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Shut Up and Work! “Free” Labor and Unequal Freedom of Expression

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Democracy at Work Should Be a Right, Not a Fight

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Young Workers Give Unions New Hope

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Workers Just Won a Rare Supreme Court Victory Against Wall Street

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What Is Taft-Hartley and Why Is It Bad?

    Unions Are Not Only Good for Workers, They’re Good for Communities and for Democracy

    Read Article on Portside.org

    Labor’s John L. Lewis Moment

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    A Look at How Unions Lift Workers


    LHA Members Featured In Labor Day Video

    LHA Vice President Dorothy Johnson and Communications Director Anson Smith are featured in a Labor Day video produced by the Western Connecticut Area Labor Federation. Dorothy talks about experiences as a local labor leader while Anson talks about the birth of anti-labor, mass-media propaganda in a 1936 strike in Middletown, CT. The strategies and tactics developed there were used in the battle for the Taft-Hartley Act 11 years later, and many are still in use.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7OkjJ07G0o

    Labor History Association Expands Reach, Focus

    To Cover Labor History, Issues Statewide,

    Focus on Academics, Activism

    NEW HAVEN -- The state's only labor history association is expanding its reach to cover labor history and developments throughout the state and is broadening its focus to include activism as well as academics.

    The 32-year-old Greater New Haven Labor History Association, was founded to collect and preserve the history of Greater New Haven's working people and their unions, said LHA President Steve Kass. But, with the offshoring of the nation's manufacturing infrastructure and subsequent decline of union membership across the state and the nation, it was time to refocus and expand the goals of the group.

    Composed of students, active and retired educators and union officers and members, the refocused LHA identifies the lessons of labor history and applies them to today's labor movement.

    "With the decline of unions and union membership, it's becoming more and more apparent that the lessons of labor history are being forgotten," he said. "All across the state and the nation, the same strategies and tactics that were used in the 1930s to break unions, say, in Middletown, CT are being used to break unions today. The same union avoidance tactics, the same anti-union strategies and tactics that were used successfully then are being used successfully today."

    "In view of growing income inequality and the high public approval rate of unions, we are taking  our  activities statewide to help ensure that the lessons of labor history aren't forgotten, and that labor's losses of the past are not repeated," he said.

    While only 10 percent of the workforce is unionized, he said, some 64 percent of the public looks favorably upon unions, according to a recent Gallup poll. https://news.gallup.com/poll/265916/labor-day-turns-125-union-approval-near-year-high.aspxThese are the people who will benefit the most from LHA help.

    The announcement comes in the wake of recent events that have taken the group beyond the Greater New Haven area. In 2015, after a five-year struggle, LHA members secured passage of a bill mandating that the state Department of Education make a curriculum available in labor history and law, including organized labor, the collective bargaining process, and existing legal protections in the workplace.  https://portal.ct.gov/SDE/Publications/CT-Labor-and-Working-Class-History/Business-and-the-Labor-Movement-in-Connecticut-History. Connecticut is the third state to enact such legislation.

    In recent years, the group has presented its Augusta Lewis Troop award for meritorious service to the labor movement to labor advocates from across the state. These include former State Sens. Ed Gomes of Bridgeport and Edith Prague of Columbia, current State Sen. Cathy Osten of Sprague, and Atty. Dan Livingston of Hartford, chief negotiator for the State Employees Bargaining Agents Coalition (SEBAC).

    LHA’s scope is pan-union, covering the history and news of unions and union organizations in the AFL-CIO, SEIU, Teamsters, and IWW. Through its activities, the LHA serves as another channel for their views. To ensure that their interests are best served, unions and union-related organizations are offered an institutional membership in the LHA that gives them a seat on its Board of Directors.

    Board members and general members are encouraged to initiate projects related to the mission of the group, from researching labor unrest in Connecticut’s Northeast Corner to “walking the line” with strikers throughout the state.

    LHA maintains a Facebook newsletter " LHA: Educate! Organize" that is the largest aggregator of union news in Connecticut and one of the largest sources of Connecticut labor history information. Its Twitter page “Mobilize” keeps followers abreast of breaking labor news.

    Purchase "Our Community at Winchester"

    From the late 19th century through the early 21st, the Winchester Repeating Arms Company was an important employer in New Haven, Connecticut. The legendary guns it produced and their role in American expansionism at home and abroad were celebrated, largely uncritically, in movies, books, and songs. But the stories of those who worked there and of the company’s impact on its host community have received little attention.

    The tale includes elements familiar to students of United States economic, social and labor history: workers’ struggles to win collective bargaining rights and to achieve equity in the work place across all job classifications, ages and ethnicities; relentless management efforts to divide them and prevent, then undermine, union representation; a ruthless company’s repeated threats to leave town in order to force union concessions and win economic incentives and tax abatements from city government; and the gentrified aftermath of the loss of working class jobs in an American city.

    The story of New Haven’s experience unfolds in Our Community at Winchester through interviews with former workers and their families as well as material from union newsletters, archival records, and city publications.

    This is an important book that retrieves a lost history of workplace struggle in the Elm City. Cavanagh is to be commended for an accessible, deeply researched study. In today’s polarized and increasingly unequal America, we need to hear the voices of the past that demanded a living wage and a sense of dignity.
    — TROY RONDINONE is professor of History at Southern Connecticut State University, in New Haven, Connecticut, and the author of Nightmare Factories: the Asylum in the American Imagination.
    Joan Cavanagh’s book stands apart from the typical industrial/corporate history that glorifies the millionaire owners, glosses over controversy, and ignores the workforce. Winchester’s rank-and-filers live and breathe between these pages. They define what we mean when we sing “Solidarity Forever.”

    — STEVE THORNTON is the author of A Shoeleather History of the Wobblies (IWW) in Connecticut and Wicked Hartford. 

    Description and quotes from https://octoberworks.com/projects

    LHA Treasurer Sees Unions

    As Pandemic Recovery Hope

    In a  recent New Haven Register op-ed, LHA Treasurer Marc DeGregorio lauded unions central to pandemic recovery. "Unions seem to be the answer to so many problems highlighted this year (that) I feel it's high time in America to see this happen and get citizens  educated to the value of forming and keeping a union," he said. "A wise union president of mine said, 'If you don't have collective bargaining, you have collective begging.' The time has come to end the begging and make better lives". To see full article, click on:  Letter: Organized labor is a pro-life movement (nhregister.com)

    Opinion: CT Rich Should Pay Fair Tax Share

    Harvested a Steady Bonus through the Income Tax

    In this Letter to the Hartford Courant Editor, Greater New Haven Labor History Association Communications Director Anson C. Smith, recalls how Gov. Lowell P. Weicker and the legislature and Weicker Administration gave Nutmeg State high rollers a healthy bonus with the state income tax. It was a Gold Rush for the Gold Coast that continues today. In addressing the state's budgetary woes, Smith says, legislators and Gov. Ned Lamont should remember who has benefitted from the income tax and who has borne the greatest financial burden.


    Op-Ed: Unions Can Revive the American Dream

    Accomplishments Taken for Granted

    Every Day Is Labor Day

    LHA Executive Board Member John Dirzius authored the following op-ed that appears on the Connecticut Mirror’s “CT Viewpoints” page.  In the article, John discusses the role labor plays in helping people realize the American Dream.  John, retired Northeast Coordinator for the American Postal Workers Union, enjoyed a labor career that spanned more than four decades. he was a tireless organizer, held multiple leadership roles and worked to build a strong union movement. The Connecticut Mirror, an online publication, has become the state’s pre-eminent government and political newspaper

    https://ctmirror.org/category/ct-viewpoints/unions-can-revive-the-american-dream/ .

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