The 2016 Annual Conference and Meeting


By Joan Cavanagh, Archivist/Director

The theme of this year’s annual conference and meeting has a special poignancy given the death of our co-founder and President Emeritus, Nicholas Aiello, last November, as well as the passing of so many of our members in recent years. We will be honoring them and looking back at the history of this organization as we also envision our future. 

Anthony Riccio’s presentation, “Sisters and Sweatshops: The Life of Nick Aiello," will be a keynote, with discussion to follow. We urge all who have memories of Nick and stories to share to come prepared to do so!

There will also be a presentation about LHA’s 28 year history, followed by a discussion of its future.  This is a crucial time not only to look back at what has been accomplished, but to imagine and begin to plan ways to accomplish the organization’s continuing goals in a social climate that is markedly different than it was in 1988. We need all hands on deck for this discussion session!

This year’s Augusta Lewis Troup award will be presented to Louise Fortin, sister of Nicholas Aiello and a retired garment worker.

The conference will conclude with the annual meeting, where members in good standing will vote on the newest by-laws revisions and for the slate of officers for 2016-2018. Please see pages 4 and 5 for more information.

If you have memorabilia from Nick’s life or from the 28 years of the Labor History Association’s work, please contact us ASAP. We’re thinking about possible formats to display such things for posterity.


By Lucille A. Jessy (her daughter)

Louise Fortin was born into a large family where hard work and manual labor were expected even at a young age.  The 12th of 14 children born to Raphael and Natalina Aiello, Louise followed in her sisters’ footsteps to work in the garment industry.  Since age 16, and for over 45 years, Louise worked as a sewing machine operator in garment companies long since closed:  Brewsters, Fair Manufacturing, Dow.  

Louise’s commitment to working extended beyond the job, to supporting her fellow workers in fair treatment, rights, safe conditions and honest wages. She was not as outspoken as some of her siblings, but she supported the issues in a number of other ways.  She supported Nicholas, her brother, and his young family which allowed him to fight for the rights of workers.  She participated in picket lines and advocated for a union presence in the companies she worked in. 

Louise married Donald Fortin and had a daughter, Lucille, while caring for her ailing mother.  Her role as caregiver was one she held often. When picketing took place, help was needed, family and friends were out of work or down on their luck, Louise would be there to work behind the scenes.  

Now at age 87, Louise enjoys time with her daughter, son-in-law Mike, and granddaughters, Danielle and Amanda. With the passing of her brother, Nicholas Aiello, in November, Louise remains the sole living sibling of the Aiello clan. 



Remember, the business meeting immediately follows the annual conference on June 5th. You must be a member in good standing (meaning membership dues up to date) in order to vote at the meeting.


The Executive Board of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association has discussed and voted in favor of a few further additions to the revised by-laws voted on by the membership at the last annual meeting. Below is a summary of the changes only. The entire text of the by-laws, with the changes in bold, is available on our web site and copies will be made available at the meeting.

Article I – Name of the Organization: no changes

Article II – Goals of this Organization

ADDITION:  g. Outreach: Encourage participation of labor movement activists in the ongoing work of the organization

Article III – Membership: no changes

Article IV – Meetings: no changes

Article V – Executive Board and Officers

ADDITIONS:  Opening paragraph, last sentence—An essential duty of the Executive Board is to oversee and insure the fiscal health and stability of the organization.

b. Executive Board meetings: To be considered in good standing (a voting member), each board member is required to attend meetings regularly (with exceptions granted for unforeseen emergencies).

g. A quorum for transaction of business by the Executive Board shall consist of a simple majority of its members.

h. The Executive Board shall be authorized to establish committees it deems necessary to fulfill the goals of this organization.  There shall be two ongoing or “standing” committees—governance and development. 

k. Elections of officers will take place at the business meeting, held biennially on even years at the annual conference. All members in attendance are eligible to vote.

Article VI -- Duties of Officers


The President shall be a voting member of the Board.

c. The Recording Secretary shall keep a record of the proceedings of all meetings and shall make these available to the Executive Board and General Membership on or before the day of the meeting. The Secretary will record the minutes of the annual business meeting and make them available to the membership within a month following the annual meeting.

d. The Treasurer shall be custodian of all financial records of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association, and shall receive and disburse funds of the organization upon proper authorization. The Treasurer shall maintain adequate financial records showing the standing of all organization funds and report to the Executive Board at every meeting.

e. The Corresponding Secretary will be responsible for database maintenance and communication with the membership and contacts, including thank you notes for donations and other communication duties as determined.

Article VI – Dues: no changes

Article VII – Augusta Lewis Troup: no changes

Article VIII – Non-Profit status: no changes

Article IX – Amendments to these By-Laws: no changes 



The following offices need to be voted on for 2016-2018. Currently there are no opposing candidates.

President: Bill Berndtson (incumbent)

Vice President: Steve Kass (incumbent)

Treasurer: Marc DeGregorio

Recording Secretary: Troy Rondinone (incumbent)

Corresponding Secretary: Position to be filled (currently no candidate)

Greater New Haven Labor History Association  •  267 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06513 • •

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