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Unions, Occupiers March For Jobs & Safety

by Thomas MacMillan | Dec 7, 2011 8:59 am

(59) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: City Hall, Labor, Occupy Wall Street

Thomas MacMillan Photo As an estimated 1,000 demonstrators rallied for jobs and public safety, 19-year-old Latoya Agnew asked whether young people like her cousin would be shot if more New Haveners had jobs. And a new member of the incoming Board of Aldermen, Tyisha Walker, vowed to support city government employees in contract negotiations.

Walker (pictured) was one of three featured speakers at rally and march Tuesday night. The event drew hundreds of people—over 1,000, according to an estimate by Assistant Police Chief Pat Redding—to walk and chant from City Hall to Wall Street for more jobs and increased public safety.

The event was organized under the banner of Occupy New Haven, but it was unlike other events put together by the local branch of the nationwide Occupy Wall Street movement. The march marks a new level of cooperation between New Haven’s occupation and organized labor.

The march was bankrolled by local labor unions including the Central Labor Council, UNITE HERE, and AFSCME. The unions paid for glossy orange mailers and signs, a stage, audio/visual equipment and red glow sticks, and even shelled out $1,000 for robocalls to 35,000 registered voters in New Haven.

Tuesday evening’s call for more jobs and less violence comes on the heels of a weekend event organized by the labor-affiliated Connecticut Center for a New Economy (CCNE). That meeting featured an identical rallying call.

Many of the labor-backed aldermen-elect who are set to be sworn in Jan. 1, including Walker, were on hand for Tuesday’s rally and march.

At 5 p.m., as protestors gathered in City Hall and picked up signs and glowsticks, Gwen Mills, political director for UNITE HERE, stood at one end of the atrium of City Hall, where workers were setting up a stage, sound system, and video projector. (The rally was initially planned for outside but moved indoors because of the rain.) As soul and dance music blared out of the speakers—Donna Summer, Robyn—Mills talked about the relationship between Occupy and the unions.

The two groups have a lot of “overlap” on issues, she said. “We’ve been getting to know each other.”

Part of the goal of Tuesday’s march was to “amplify Occupy themes,” Mills said. The march route went from City Hall and Bank of America, past AT&T and Chase bank, to Wall Street in the heart of Yale, Mills said. “They’re all corporations. They have a lot of money and signify the 1 percent in some way.”

The rally was in support of an agenda that all groups involved agree on: New Haven needs more good jobs and safer streets, Mills said.

Mills said the unions who organized the march paid for the robocalls. “The majority of people in New Haven are part of the 99 percent,” she said. “They need to know what’s going on.”

Before the rally officially kicked off, State Rep. Roland Lemar was in the crowd chatting with Fair Haven Alderwoman Migdalia Castro. The Hill’s Alderman Jorge Perez was also on hand, along with several aldermen elect, including Delphine Clyburn (pictured).

The rally began with a prayer by Rev. Jason Turner (pictured), who wore a rally sign around his neck. Turner is the chairman of the housing authority’s Board of Commissioners.

He was followed by Occupy New Haven’s Chris Garaffa (pictured), who spoke about the importance of unity. He said the Occupy movement owes a debt to protestors in Tunisia and Egypt as well as to organized labor. “The struggle of working people throughout the decades is an inspiration.”

Latorya Agnew (pictured at the top of the story), who’s 19, took the mic next. She was joined on the stage by other members of The New Elm City Dream, a youth organization that has been calling for more youth employment opportunities. As she began to speak, Agnew almost immediately broke into tears.

“I used to have a best friend,” Agnew said, referring to her cousin. After her cousin was shot while they were out one night, the police didn’t do anything, Agnew said. Her cousin, who survived the shooting, got arrested when he tried to take revenge, she said. “Now the only way I can talk to him is through letters and phone calls to the jail. When is this going to stop?”

“If people my age had jobs, and had hope for the future, they wouldn’t be looking forward to hanging out and selling drugs,” she said.

Alderwoman-elect Walker, who spoke next, introduced herself as a cook’s helper at Yale and the secretary-treasurer of Local 35. She didn’t mention that she’s about to enter public office. “It’s nice to see everybody ... getting ready to kick some butt!” she said, to cheers.

Walker also emphasized unity and promised to work to help win unions prevail in contract negotiations with the city. “We are going to stand together to win great contracts—here at Yale with Local 34 and Local 35, down the street at AT&T, and for all the city workers whose contracts are coming up.”

After a short video slideshow and a final revving-up by Rev. Scott Marks, the crowd streamed out into the street, where police were waiting to block traffic for the march. Led by members of The New Elm City Dream, hundreds of chanting marchers walked north on Church Street, chanting “We are the 99 percent!”

At the Chase bank building, the chant shifted to “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!”

After the turn onto Wall Street: “All day all week, occupy Wall Street!”

After a few blocks, the march stopped at High Street for another brief rally in the street, with final chants of “Thank you for coming!” and “We will win!”

A few dozen people wandered back to the Green for more drumming and chanting and “soapboxing.”

Occupy New Haven’s Tommy Doomsday (pictured) announced that there will be another march on Dec. 17. Occupy New Haven will team up with local activist organizations to protest police brutality.

Doomsday and fellow occupier Todd Sanders called Tuesday’s march a huge success. “It brought so much energy to camp,” said Sanders.

Doomsday said he hopes it’s the beginning of more cooperation with unions.

“It’s good for everybody,” he said. “We’re all on the same page.”

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posted by: Threefifths on December 7, 2011  9:23am

Before the rally officially kicked off, State Rep. Roland Lemar was in the crowd chatting with Fair Haven Alderwoman Migdalia Castro

Are not these the same Judas goat leaders that put king john in.

posted by: James on December 7, 2011  9:32am

It seems that New Haven’s solution to everything is to march. Violence? Have a march! No jobs? March! Police brutality? March it up! Not enough locals on construction jobs? MARCH!

posted by: 99% that they do not speak for on December 7, 2011  9:40am

I think that there is a quiet majority of us that are sick of this movement.  I work hard, I earn my pay, I look to improve myself.  Bam.  One CANNOT be expected to be handed a job.  One should be hired if one has the qualifications for the job.  To get qualifications, one has to work hard, from the bottom of an organization up.  This whole thing, while it may have started with the best of intentions, has turned into a bunch of whiny, over-entitled slackers looking for something for nothing.  YOU DO NOT GET THE “AMERICAN DREAM” FOR NOTHING. 

On a side note, marching for safer streets, I am all for.  New Haven is a warzone.  That is something, as a taxpayer, you are entitles to, police enforcement and protection.  You pay for that with your taxes.

FYI, politically, fiercely independent.  Don’t make this a liberal/conservative thing.

posted by: Funky Chicken on December 7, 2011  9:42am

Quote “And a new member of the incoming Board of Aldermen, Tyisha Walker, vowed to support city government employees in contract negotiations”

Dear Ms. Walker: I thought that you were elected to look out for the rights and needs of the residents of the city not just one group.

Yours,

FC

posted by: Alex on December 7, 2011  9:52am

Love the unity and collaboration between Occupy New Haven and the unions.  But Tommy Doomsday, take off that kufiya.  Its the appropriation of culture your apparently protesting against.

posted by: anonymous democrat on December 7, 2011  9:55am

I guess this is the “new” New Haven, dont work toward a good job and better future, DEMAND IT. Do they expect us to listen when they put this doomsday character and a bunch of kids who have been coached on what to say on the podium ? and dont call my phone to 3 times tell me about your BS rally.

posted by: Billy on December 7, 2011  9:59am

A great event, and an excellent turnout for a rainy night.  Very impressive representation from across the city.  It was a pleasure to march alongside so many of my fellow citizens, several alders, and at least one state rep.  Let’s keep the pressure up, and keep building on the unity that was on display last night.  Real change is within reach, if these kind of efforts continue.

I think Occupy New Haven should both strengthen its coalition with labor, faith communities, and other community groups (they are planning a large-scale meeting with community groups at Dwight Hall for January 5th from 6-8 p.m.) and join the anti-foreclosure actions that other Occupy groups around the nation organized for yesterday’s Day of Action (link below).

http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/1000_jam_city_hall_for_jobs_public_safety/

posted by: #FriendOps on December 7, 2011  10:30am

To James: Yes, we march. Whats YOUR solution? We will be heard. It’s better than silence. A march is a tool to gather like minded individuals together. What is more important than a march? The two hours that follow it, with the fresh exchange of inspired ideas that are exchanged among groups and individuals we have not previously had a chance to meet yet, or as often as they like. Change always ensues.

TO The 99% They Do Not Speak For: The majority of Occupiers (both in the camp and in the heart) are OVER qualified for the positions they have applied for, have made all the right moves, have attended universities. (or are attending)The thing is, our employers often DO think of the positions they give us as “Hand-outs”, and do think of us as just tools to help meet the “bottom line”. Are you just a “tool”? Or are you a human being with thoughts and feelings? DO you think every thing is ok in this system? No, you don’t. The only thing keeping you back from doing something about it (and I hope I’m wrong) is apathy. A foolish acceptance of “That’s just how things are”. WE WILL NOT LET APATHY AND INACTION RULE US ANY MORE. They should have expected us. Things can and WILL change for the better. The “American Dream” has been hijacked. And we are stealing it back.

posted by: pkust on December 7, 2011  10:45am

Leftwing lazies and moochers on the march in New Haven.  Yawn. They should march up Dixwell Ave through Newhallville if their gripe is the increase in violence, not some side street off Orange.

posted by: Smitty on December 7, 2011  10:53am

If the Occupy movement wasn’t having an effect, all the condescending and dismissive comments about ONH wouldn’t be on this page and all over the rest of the Independent and Register news comment pages. Keep it up, Occupy New Haven! Let the mud-slingers sling their mud all they want; it’s just proof that we are winning!

posted by: Noteworthy on December 7, 2011  10:56am

Is Gwen Mills or anybody from the union, including all the elected alders talking about personal responsibility? About what an individual needs to do to be qualified for a job? About career choices? Chanting “we want jobs” is not a qualification nor is attending this event a resume builder.

I appreciate the frustration of the people and whipping the crowd talents, but what is the practical application of all that fervor? DeStefano’s plan has always been to put more people on the city payroll and dissect departments into smaller and smaller units in order to create a bloated management structure. Some “managers” are overseeing 1 or 2 people.

Just as noteworthy is Walker’s pledge to support city unions in negotiations. What does that mean? Where will the money come from? She has never attended a single budget meeting that I’m aware of and I’m curious what she intends to do about the gross underfunding of city pensions - both funds are in reality, are funded at 30 to maybe 40% if you stretch it. Time will tell.

posted by: Chris on December 7, 2011  11:01am

I received a call from the robo system they used… 

How come my number was given to them and how do i get it taken off the list?

posted by: John on December 7, 2011  11:12am

To Threefifths:

These Judas as you call them are great community leaders. It was New Haven voters that re-elected Mayor Destefano. If you are so dissatisfied with these community leaders, run for office and stop talking garbage.

posted by: Anymouse on December 7, 2011  11:36am

Nobody finds it ironic that New Haven’s branch of OWS is marching with the Unite Here who essentially “campaign finance loopholed” themselves onto the BOA?  Roughly $200K spent on seizing positions that pay $2K a year?  Thousands of mailings pumping candidates “not affiliated with any campaign or committee” nonsense?  Hiring walkers and interns who knew nothing about the city much less the candidates or neighborhoods they were grabbing in order to build a strong campaign facade?

Political action (AKA showing up to VOTE for people who are behind you) or a radical shift in consumer spending are the only things that will work.  This recreational protesting is achieving dialogue perhaps, but dialogue has to be a two way street.  Anybody who criticizes OWS or Organized labor gets lumped in with Glen Beck, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Bush Admin. and immediately dismissed.  My way or the highway attitude with a hive mentality. 

Count on the economic situation getting much worse before it gets better.  Bunker down.

posted by: DavidK on December 7, 2011  11:40am

And it has come to pass…an alderwoman fighting for public unions using property taxes from her constituents who are 99 percenters. (see nearby article on new property assessments}

posted by: followyourdreams on December 7, 2011  11:56am

Wow, what an amazing event!  This is the kind of unity we need in ALL of the GREAT USA.  We need to LISTEN to what ALL people’s experiences are, because they differ from you and I.  We have a civil responsibility of LISTENING and bridging communication gaps when we can. We must reach our hearts and minds and LEARN. Don’t like crime?  Find out the SOURCE of crime-lack of jobs, hopelessness, bottled up anger, INJUSTICE and a growing number of people turn to hate and revenge!  We don’t need a text book to KNOW this..just listen…

WE ARE NOT SIMPLY PUT ON THIS EARTH TO CONSUME/MAKE MONEY! Folks aren’t RAISED this way, we CHOOSE this path of greed. People who dismiss the occupy movement as “lazy, left wing moochers” fail to see the bigger picture.  Most of the occupiers (on camp AND OFF CAMP) are good, hard working people struggling to achieve dreams of a happy and peaceful world—FOR EVERYONE, even for YOU.  These folks are putting their jobs, lives, reputations AND HEALTH on the line for the many Americans who are not awaken to the truth that this country (& the world) is being overrun by corporations and GREED.  Read the relatively conservative “WHEN CORPORATIONS RULE THE WORLD” and “HELLHOUNDS OF WALL STREET” as a bit of starting point if you have no clue what is going on.  There is a new type of Monarchy and the serf is up.

posted by: 99% that they do not speak for on December 7, 2011  12:06pm

The majority of Occupiers (both in the camp and in the heart) are OVER qualified for the positions they have applied for, have made all the right moves, have attended universities. (or are attending)The thing is, our employers often DO think of the positions they give us as “Hand-outs”, and do think of us as just tools to help meet the “bottom line”. Are you just a “tool”? Or are you a human being with thoughts and feelings? DO you think every thing is ok in this system? No, you don’t. The only thing keeping you back from doing something about it (and I hope I’m wrong) is apathy. A foolish acceptance of “That’s just how things are”. WE WILL NOT LET APATHY AND INACTION RULE US ANY MORE. They should have expected us. Things can and WILL change for the better. The “American Dream” has been hijacked. And we are stealing it back.

If you think that your are anything but a resource, you are wrong.  An employer will choose the best resource for each position, regardless of race, religion, etc.  Part of that equation is balancing the highest quality and quantity work for the amount of money budgeted for the position.  Do you not do the same for your household finances? Do I think the system is broken, yes.  Employees/workers need to update skill sets to keep up with the times.  Really, without the bottom line, there are no jobs, period.  It is not all on business.  We need to accept responsibility for ourselves.  I am teaching my kids this personal responsibility.  They don’t get anything for just showing up.  They need to effort and excel!  And I will always continue to push myself, my kids, and my peers to be the best they can!  To work hard and smart, and not to depend on “just being there” to get along.

I choose to WORK on correcting things on both sides of the proverbial fence, not go camping.

posted by: Fairhaven Dave on December 7, 2011  12:34pm

Future Alders,

Hit the books.  Stop making promises that have nothing to do with your position.  Learn your Parliamentary Procedure, Municipal Code, City Charter, and Divisions of City Services so you can do the job you were elected for.  You have 24 days before you are handed your seats.  The public and media WILL be watching you and judging your competence.  If you neglect your wards for a “city agenda”  or create gridlock in city hall your constituents are going to start crawling up your legs like a bad nightmare.

posted by: anon on December 7, 2011  12:39pm

Good issues to highlight, but don’t approximately 90% of CCNE and other union leaders live in the suburbs? 

So far, they are just demanding more tax hikes and spending increases in New Haven, so that we can export more of our low income families’ rent dollars in support of their SUV and McMansion loan payments (which, ironically, are probably being made to Chase Bank).

This is known as theft from the poor in order to give to the wealthy, and the Unions are behind it much more than any other political force right now.

posted by: Curious on December 7, 2011  1:02pm

Anon raises an interesting point.

Where do the unions keep their money? 

Local 34 alone has about two to three million in holdings - which bank is this invested in?  A local bank, a local credit union, or Chase, or Bank of America?

posted by: pkust on December 7, 2011  1:25pm

@ Smitty: The reason the public is turning against OWS is because it’s become obvious that it is a radical left fringe group disguising itself as something else, which is why there is no coherent message or official list of demands, only this 1% and 99% rhetoric. Your tactics are also getting on people’s nerves. You’re just a bunch of Alinky kids. You’re wasting your time and will never garner much support beyond the usual commie fringe of society that tries to exploit any fiscal crisis in a vain attempt to make a mass socialist movement.  Ain’t gonna happen.  Go get a job and stop being part of the 50% of society that pays no taxes and wants to live off the other half that does. In the meanwhile, you can freeze and get rained on and live in mud for all we care. You’re a flash in the pan and the flash is already over.

posted by: robn on December 7, 2011  1:27pm

An incoming Alderperson pledging to represent the interests of one extremely small sliver of New Haveners who work for the city instead of planning budget cuts to lower our incredibly high property taxes?
Outrageous an entirely predictable given the union election cabal.. East Rockers note the actions of incoming Alderperson Jessica Holmes who is resoundingly unspecific on the issue of budget cuts to prevent tax increases.

posted by: Curious on December 7, 2011  1:41pm

Get used to more of this, by the way.  Local 34 is forming a PAC.

posted by: anon on December 7, 2011  1:47pm

“Go get a job and stop being part of the 50% of society that pays no taxes and wants to live off the other half that does.”

Sorry. When the 53 percenters pretend they are carrying the entire load, they are being intellectually dishonest, plain and simple.

http://blog.nj.com/njv_editorial_page/2011/10/53_percent_claim_untrue_middle.html

posted by: Brian M. on December 7, 2011  2:39pm

I’ve gotten used to the fact that your commenters are as anti-union as Fox News and retired pension-collecting tea partiers, but how on earth does this comment not get censored:

“Are not these the same Judas goat leaders that put king john in.”

Seriously?

This site has convinced me that having comments sections is just a bad idea. It pollutes by empowering the most negative and repetitive naysayers to smear otherwise excellent journalism.

Folks, the reporters and editors working at the Independent deserve a little better than this.

posted by: Truth Avenger on December 7, 2011  2:54pm

@PKUST:If you get your info from FOX NEWS, as you apparently do, you believe that the public is turning against the OWS movement. This is a blatant lie. The majority of Americans support the work of OWS and there is no lack of clarity about the mission and the focus of this REAL grass roots movement. Fox and the extreme right wing were happy and supportive of the gun-toting, nasty placard carrying, spitting on Congressmen, government hating,corporate-funded Tea Party. They showed their demagoguery and double standard in mouthing the same derogatory talking points you have regurgitated here. And @“99%” - Folks protesting are not expecting handouts and don’t have a sense of entitlement either. That’s justy manufactured propaganada by those wishing to preserve the status-quo that protects the growing chasm beween the most wealthy, and the struggling middle and poor classes.  The last few decades have seen the 1%‘s wealth rise by over 200%, while the middle class’s wealth has declined by over 6%. “Trickle down” ecomomics is a lie and does not work. Stating these facts and taking action about this corrosive trend in our democracy IS NOT WHINING. It is having the courage to state the obvious.  You think you are getting tired of the protests…wait till your job or sense of security is snatched away…you’ll come to understand that this is not about expecting a handout.  It’s about demanding fairness!

posted by: ellyd on December 7, 2011  3:55pm

“We are going to stand together to win great contracts—here at Yale with Local 34 and Local 35, down the street at AT&T, and for all the city workers whose contracts are coming up.”

This is the comment attributed to incoming alderwoman Tyisha Walker. And these are three extremely different union constituencies. You wouldn’t know it from many comments at NHR, but only city workers have (indirectly) anything to gain from the specter of increased property taxes. The others (especially many of the Yale affiliates) probably pay New Haven property taxes themselves—and their contracts will not be funded through public money. It will be very interesting to see how this works out. But continuing to rage against “unions” as if they all share the same circumstances and funding sheds more heat than light.

Anderson Scooper (in the re-evaulation comments) and others are right that New Haven would gain a great deal from statewide taxation. Suburban residents would presumably have to pay a greater proportion of the state’s obligations than they do currently and many, predictably, would oppose this. (It surprises me that comments here assume these folks too are predominantly *union* members.)

posted by: anon on December 7, 2011  4:29pm

“You wouldn’t know it from many comments at NHR, but only city workers have (indirectly) anything to gain from the specter of increased property taxes.”

That’s not entirely true.  For example, if Yale froze salaries and benefits like many other private employers have done, it could funnel more money to benefit low income and high risk populations within New Haven.

In fact, Yale probably pays salaries and benefits that are significantly above the market.  If Yale cut them in order to provide more homebuyer incentives (e.g., housing subsidies, education payments, free high quality youth programs) to those employees who actually choose to live within New Haven, it would help the families and residents who actually live here instead of just continuing to line the pockets of wealthy out of towners.

Similarly, Yale could cut wages and benefits at the top (eg administrators making 75K+ plus generous benefits) and redistribute that money to entry level workers who are more likely to live within neighborhoods like Newhallville and Fair Haven.

Of course the Unions would never agree to this, because 1) the leadership lives in the suburbs and want to see people’s hard-earned money exported there, and 2) the people in power want to hang on to their high salaries so they can maintain their McMansion/SUV loan payments to Chase Bank.

posted by: Curious on December 7, 2011  4:56pm

Anon ...

A lot of rank and file people work at Yale.  I do, and a lot of people I know do as well, and we are certainly NOT overpaid.  I did not come from money, or have anything handed to mel.  I worked hard to get what I have.  I earned it. 

To propose freezing our salaries and benefits, so that more money can be given out to people who could go earn their own living, is offensive. ...

posted by: ellyd on December 7, 2011  5:56pm

Wrote “NHR” but intended “NHI” in my comment above (sorry)

Anon, there’s a big range of salaries at Yale (as probably is true of most complex institutions?) Some might be over-market but most aren’t. The benefits remain generous if you think that it would be appropriate for Yale to join the race to the bottom engaged in by enterprises that are far less wealthy (and by many that are doing just fine) and that aren’t nonprofit. Many entry-level employees, whether they live in New Haven or not, have lost a tuition benefit without earning enough to save much for tuition. Yale does support programs, like homebuyers, New Haven Promise, PILOT, etc. that benefit New Haven. But what the university seems to be doing is trying to contain employee costs to add to the millions needed for financial aid—pitting one of its responsibilities against another.

Curious, Yale doesn’t need the motivation of helping New Haven to continue to try to reduce salaries and benefits. The rank and file will probably feel it most.

posted by: People got the power on December 7, 2011  6:46pm

What an incredible rally! Nothing is more powerful than seeing all these different groups and neighborhoods come together to develop solutions that address the roots of the problems we face (in particular severe inequality fueled by corporate irresponsibility - corporate welfare, tax evasion, and stranglehold on state and national government). Props to the youth for once again stepping up and being at the forefront of this movement!

To all you nay-saying commentators: tell me what action are YOU taking to address the severe problems our city is facing, such as massive unemployment (look at the number of jobs versus number of unemployed - it’s obviously not a problem that can be attributed to individual lack of motivation, by the way, so stop taking the easy way out by scapegoating your own neighbors), violence, poverty, lack of youth opportunities, disenfranchisement and low levels of civic engagement, crappy public schools, racial segregation, mass incarceration, high cost of living? I’m sick and tired of people sitting at home on their computers putting other people down for trying to make this city better for ALL to live in. If you love the status quo, if it’s working well for YOU (because you happen to have some kind of privilege) and you don’t want it to change then at least have the guts to ADMIT IT instead of denying the existence of structural inequality and bashing others who are working hard to address it.

If you refuse to be constructive, to get involved in making this city better then at least stop rushing to the defense of the poor little innocent helpless multi-national corporations that are hoarding all the resources, eroding the middle class, taking jobs out of the country, refusing to pay their share, and poising our democracy and our environment.

(Nearly a third of Americans are now living in poverty. Does this seem like a structural problem or a matter of personal choice and laziness? If this doesn’t make you want to rally in the streets then what the hell does?)
http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/pdf/2010_Report.pdf

(The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. If this doesn’t bother you then nevermind:) http://www.vanityfair.com/society/features/2011/05/top-one-percent-201105

(Many companies pay no state taxes, either:) http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/07/us-usa-tax-states-idUSTRE7B62BH20111207

posted by: anon on December 7, 2011  7:08pm

Curious and Elly, you have good points but even the suburban Unions will admit that economic inequality is growing primarily because:

1) there are not nearly enough jobs in poor, inner city areas or for young persons, which also in itself causes massive problems,

2) because the minimum wage is not increasing even though cost of living for those at the bottom is skyrocketing (which is directly due to the higher property taxes that are needed in order to export more city residents’ money to support suburban unions’ pensions/benefits each year),

3) because salary growth within the top 20% is greatly outpacing salary growth within the bottom 20% (with the bottom generally not including Union jobs), and

4) because resources are being inefficiently distributed towards costly suburban sprawl, rather than towards sustaining and growing our existing neighborhoods and infrastructure.

Given the problems that they claim to be concerned about, Unions should work on economic integration, such as freezing or reducing salaries and benefits for workers in the middle and top brackets, and using these cost savings to 1) increase salaries for those at the entry level, 2) hire from within the lowest-income areas that are increasingly serving as our dumping grounds, and 3) promote overall job growth by investing in infrastructure, community development (including benefits such as free child care, health, and education), and 4) reducing social burdens like incarceration, something that can only be done by addressing #1-3 in a serious way and not our current “drop in the bucket” approach.  These three things are particularly needed within New Haven inner city areas, and should be the top priority of anyone who claims to represent the 99%.

There’s plenty of money out there - New Haven is easily one of the wealthiest metropolitan areas in the nation and by extension, the world. It’s just a matter of redistributing this vast wealth in a way that is fair, that lays the foundation for our region’s long-term growth, and that creates an equal sense of opportunity and advancement potential for everyone regardless of whether they live in Newhallville or, like virtually all union leaders, in a sheltered and prosperous place like Westbrook or Spring Glen.

posted by: inequality on December 7, 2011  10:50pm

A job is not a right.
Ownership of a car/house is not a right.
Healthcare is not a right.
Wealth is not a right.

Sure, Wall Street should not control politics (whatever vagary that is). But come on…

Inequality is part of life.


You say New Haven needs more and better jobs? Stop complaining and start a business that exemplifies your ideals.

posted by: Truth Avenger on December 8, 2011  6:19am

@ inequality: Way to stack up those red herrings! (“wealth is not a right”) No one is claiming a right to any of the things you mention.  What is being demanded is fairness and access. In the case of health care, you are dead wrong.  Health care is a right, and the U.S. is one of the few and last of the industrialized nations in the modern age to realize this. Inequality may be a fact of life, but that does not mean we ignore the growing and damaging chasm between the haves and have nots.
By all means, tell us ... how one goes about starting a business when one cannot even find a job. The one thing you said that made any sense is that “Wall Street should not control politics.”  Well they do.  They drove this nation into an economic ditch and you so cavalierly dismiss this with a “come on, inequality is a part of life”??  This dismissive attitude is a huge part of the problem.  You may have a right to your opinion, but not to your own set of facts.

posted by: ellyd on December 8, 2011  6:59am

Anon, I agree with a lot of your most recent post (certainly about income inequality as an issue). I think we diverge primarily about unions—certainly I don’t see them as primarily “suburban,” or all alike. For that matter, where do the people who run Yale or other CT CEOs live?

Inequality, healthcare is a right. At least in any civilized society. As is something to live on and somewhere to live.

posted by: pkust on December 8, 2011  7:44am

@ Truth Avenger:  “corporate funded tea party”? Lie. “Spitting on congressmen”? - another demonstated fabrication.  And the tiresome reference to Fox news?  Yawn. Commies don’t like Fox because they don’t want any counterpoint to the NYT-MSNBC propaganda. Free speech has always been something commies attack and try to shut down first.  Name a commie regime that didn’t shut down the press and have a “state” media.

posted by: Curious on December 8, 2011  9:04am

Anon, what are “suburban Unions”?

posted by: HhE on December 8, 2011  10:03am

Health care is not a right.  It fails the Desert Island test.  On a desert island, one only has the health care that one can provide oneself through their medical knowledge and whatever first aid and medical supplies they may have on hand.  Please do not confuse necessity with right.  If one is going to claim health care is a right, please be so good as to justify that position.

The reason so many of us find Fox News so distasteful and odious, is that it is dumb and angry—just what the dominant wing of the GOP has become.  The Republican party was once the intellectual party, and the party of good manors.  How tragic that the only mainstream counter balance (the Wall Street Journal aside) to the very left leaning news media does such a bad job of it.

posted by: robn on December 8, 2011  11:15am

HHE,

A well run system that provides health care for all may not be a right but it would be in all of our best interests given the highly expensive societal disruption created by forestalled preventative care and surprise traumatic events.

But this is quite a different issue than demanding that the city government provide jobs. I agree that if we have a need for services, we should try our best to offer those jobs locally and to recycle our tax dollars back into the local economy. But if we don’t NEED services, the city shouldn’t be in the business of artificially inflating its workforce (or for that matter, artificially inflating prevailing wages.)

posted by: anon on December 8, 2011  12:04pm

The issue isn’t whether income, wealth, or health care are a “right.”  Yes, people are working way more hours, for less money, but there’s not some black and white moral issue saying that they should be paid more, at least not one that 100% of people agree on.

What the issue is, and what nearly 100% of people here should be able to agree on, is whether our country (and city) can be economically competitive in future years.  Where does our current workforce come from? Are people investing in infrastructure to enable future prosperity? These are important questions. The evidence is now in: Our nation is going down the tubes, on all fronts, compared to places where citizens have a greater sense of opportunity and mobility.  For example: 1) children aren’t going to bother studying hard or staying in school when they have no hope of getting a job that pays more than $8/hour when they are 40 years old, 2) health care costs are far higher when there are large uninsured populations and no meaningful efforts to prevent chronic diseases, 3) tech companies are now moving all their offices abroad because that’s where the educated workforce is.

This should be the top issue for suburban-based unions who claim to represent workers’ and families’ interests (and it currently isn’t).  But much more importantly, it should be the top issue for business leaders and real estate leaders who are trying to grow wealth and prosperity here.

posted by: Henryct on December 8, 2011  2:05pm

Healthcare is a human right. The USA helped write and signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The list of human rights in the UDHR includes healthcare, a job, forming a union, education, time off work, immigration as well as speech, association, assembly, etc.

Those who claim we have no rights might be enlightened by studying the UDHR, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Actually, everyone might be so enlightened.

posted by: Truth Avenger on December 8, 2011  5:10pm

@Kust: Ever hear of Dick Armey (master puppeteer), Rupert Murdoch, the Koch Brothers?  Read this little jewel of a report from the New York Times (yes, that bastion of liberalism)THE BILLIONAIRES BANKROLLING THE TEA PARTY
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29opinion/29rich.html?pagewantedall
Commies? What Commies? Truth tellers don’t like Fox News because they are the unabashed arm of the right wing.  Propagandists who lie, manufacture phony issues, foster racism, and every other kind of “ism,” an organization not taken seriously by any but the uber ignorant.  Another Right wing favorite tactic: Create a straw man when you are losing on the facts.  Your assertion that anyone is trying to block or stop free speech is abject bologna… just like the phony “War on Christmas” those faux journalists at Fox News resurrect this time each year.  You really can’t speak directly to the specific issues I have raised, so you default to a spattering of dog eared right wing myths that have nothing to do with the topic at hand.

posted by: HhE on December 9, 2011  12:31am

Rights are granted to us by our creator (God or natural selection, take your pick).  Government can pledge to protect some or all of these rights (the whole point of the Bill of Rights and all that).  Most governments, including ours, would rather suppress these rights.  The proper sole role of any government is the well being of its citizens.  Most governments focus however on retaining power and such.  That representatives of various governments have signed some lofty document no more makes health care a right than simply declaring that health care is a right.

I read the Constitution of the United States “cover to cover” long before I took an oath to defend it.  I have read the Declaration of Independence as well.  I just read the UDHR.  It fails in that it compels some agency, presumably state operators, to solve various problems such as employment, health care, and leisure without regard to how it might be done, and where the resources are to be found.  In an age of the Patriot Act, I do wish the United States would be more like its true self.  As for the UN, and its one dictator, one vote system, nice idea, but I’ll pass.

As I have written before, I think there is case for limited socialised medicine.  While I am able to afford health care, I am alarmed at how costly it is, and how fast the cost is increasing.  Robn, please feel free to correct or polish any of my postings. 

In HhE’s America, nearly all of us would live in a urban environment or street car build-out, and only farmers and other people who work the land, and the very rich would live in the country.  Really good public transport and mix use neighborhoods would have us spending less on cars and infrastructure. 

I do favor initiatives that help New Haven residents secure employment, so long as they are not so odious to employers that the defeat their very purpose.

I should like to start a business in New Haven, and maybe when my divorce is finalized, I will be able to.

posted by: pkust on December 9, 2011  12:35am

Name one “lie” on Fox news. And if your authority for your statements is the New York Times, excuse me for laughing my a-s off. And billionaire international market manipulator George Soros (who has more money than the Koch bros) isn’t funding practically every left wing outfit in the U.S.?  Scratch under the surface of dozens of socialist front groups and you see Soros money. Unlike the Koch bros, Soros is a convicted criminal, thrown out of France for illegally lining his pockets at the expense of the people there. So stop your straw man Koch bros bashing.  They do nothing illegal.  What you don’t like is the fact that your ideology has the support of a small minority of Americans, and that’s all it will ever get. ...

posted by: HhE on December 9, 2011  1:00am

Ellyd, I think Richard Levin lives outside of New Haven.  Bruce Alexander and Linda Lorimer live in New Haven.  I don’t know about the other Yale officers.

Pkust, when my Mom’s partner saw the Occupy New Haven encampment for the first time today, he was quite excited and positive.  While left of center, I would hardly call him a commie.  He did fight against communists in Vietnam as a member of Special Forces.  While anyone who would self describe themselves as upper middle class probably isn’t, I think I can safely assign that descriptor to him.  His attendance at a little ivy after attending prep school, living in Westport, the vacation house in Maine…  Last weekend, I was talking with a woman who described how the tellers at her bank worked very hard, but were paid so much less than her.  She took the view that the Occupy movement was being misrepresented by ALL the news media; being portrayed as a bunch of grungy hippies, and not what it really is.  Granted, I think she is left of center, but there was meat in that lasagna, and her previous car was a Merc.

posted by: HhE on December 9, 2011  10:06am

Pkust, I agree entirely that George Soros is a villain.  I detest him and the money he uses mold the world to his liking just as I detest people who choose the bullet over the ballet, maybe even more so. 

I did enjoy how Richard Marcinko used Soros as a model for one of his villains.

posted by: Curious on December 9, 2011  11:02am

Soros started from nothing.  The Koch’s inherited their wealth.

Soros is valued at 22 billion.  The Kochs are valued at 22.5 and 25 billion each.

What I love about people who hate Soros and praise the Kochs is their blinding hypocrisy.  It’s apparently okay to throw around billions and affect world events…as long as you spend it on CONSERVATIVE causes.

posted by: Truth Avenger on December 9, 2011  12:40pm

@Kust: Name one lie that is Fox News?
“FAIR AND BALANCED”

posted by: the1king on December 10, 2011  9:31am

Truth Avenger
I love how libs always go to fox news and saw how bias they are.  Where do you get your news from msnbc.  Funny how the most watched is fox news on the radio Beck, Linbraugh, Hannity, O’Rielly are the most watched.  The Libs couldn’t even make it.  So they tried to make a stupid law saying radio stations had to have a show with the other side.  Even if nobody watches it.  Those above shows do have people on with the other side.  But getting back to the Squatters.  It is great that the youth are out there for violence but the marching has to stop.  The kids have to let it be known to these gang bangers that enough is enough.  As a city we have to stop being politically correct.  I know the squatters would have an uproar at this but if a group of 16 year olds are hanging out at a corner store at 12 midnight then chances are something is up.  Police should stop frisk them and then take them home.  Yes Curfew.  Of course the squatters would say they’re rights are violated.  because they feel they can do what they want.  Most of America are sick of them taking away resources and tax payer money that could have been bettter spent.  But New Haven is just an east coast San Fransico with insane liberal thinking.  I still don’t know why this paper refuses to show how much money this is costing the city.

posted by: Truth Avenger on December 10, 2011  12:51pm

@the1king: ...  Anyone wishing to see factual reports about how Faux News is an arm of the GOP, how it perpetuates lies and misinformation on a daily basis need only go to mediamatters.com.  These good folk monitor the lies and propaganda emanating from Fox as well as other media entities.  The founder, David Brock, was a Conservative Republican until he saw the light. He, and current staff, are well-positioned to expose the lies and other nonsense that is fed to unwitting, very gullible Fox viewers. Having a broader viewership has little to do with having values, and on this issue, Fox is at the bottom of the heap. Your characterization of Protesters as “squatters” mirrors the Fox News script-a nauseating lie and fundamental lack of understanding of a movement that is happening across the nation, across age brackets and any other demographic one can think of. The Constitution guarantees the right of assembly. As surely as dictators are learning in the Middle East, the people’s voice will not be denied. It is dictatorships and totalitarian states that view the assembly of citizens as a threat to be quashed. Your condescending characterizations suggest you might be more comfortable moving to one of these states- perhaps Syria?  But don’t plan on staying too long, the “squatters” there are planning to break the yoke of repression and injustice there as well.

posted by: Truth Avenger on December 11, 2011  8:59am

@Pkust and the king1: here is another example of how Fox news is all about manufacturing phony issues (lying), like their claim that Obama and liberals have declared “war on Christmas.”(http://www.addictinginfo.org/2011/12/09/they-threw-a-war-on-christmas-and-i-wasnt-invited-video/). It is but one of thousands of debunked fairy tails cooked up by the GOP sycophants and shills at Faux News. Also at http://mediamatters.org/ one can glean the myriad ways in which Fox distorts reality, bends the truth, and in many cases just whips up their own alternate reality out of whole cloth. Happy Holidays!

posted by: pkust on December 11, 2011  9:50am

@truth avenger:  you cite “media matters” as a source for Fox News “lies”?  Once again I am laughing my a-s off.  Media matters is a Soros-funded front group, with a proven history of lying about “lies” on Fox News. And your concern about big money behind the political movements, while admittedly defending Soros’s funding of groups that he thinks will help undermine financial markets so HE can pocket more billions for himself .... Soros will short-sell his own brother to make a buck and amass more political power. Yet the Left leaves him alone, while flinging meaningless charges against Fox news.  If Fox news were such a unreliable source of facts, I doubt it would top the ratings while MSNBC and CNN get crushed in terms of number of viewers.

posted by: Truth Avenger on December 11, 2011  11:29am

@PKust:Media Matters is an independent self-funding organization (through small independent donations) that is highly respected, so give that Soros connection lie a rest.  The fact that you conflate Nielsen ratings with “truth” is on its face laughable.  Might doesn’t make right, and high ratings doesn’t mean a damned thing when gauging whether a cable network has an unabashed penchant for lying and deception as Fox News does.
Your Go-to Straw man, George Soros, has nothing to do with the grass roots movement taking place on the streets of America’s cities.  This movement of protesters, marchers, and occupiers is born out of a plight for economic and social justice- a concept that is lost on most Fox viewers, and apologists for the one percent.  Soros as bogeyman has about as much veracity or relevance as the B.S. “death panels” your side insisted were plotting to kill “grandma,” or pinning Obama with the “pals around with terrorists” rap (unlike the hapless 7 years of GOP rule that saw Bin Laden laugh at us- Obama nailed Bin Laden and 22 other top Al Qaeda leaders)-...

posted by: pkust on December 12, 2011  8:22am

@truth avenger.  ...  You accuse me of lying about George Soros funding MediaMatters which, you state, funded by small donations from ordinary folks.  LIE. And MediaMatters lies to, having falsely denied Soros funding when it previously tooks grants from organizations funded by Soros (which is another way of saying Soros funds them indirectly). But after denying this Soros funding (that is, lying about it)  MediaMatters finally admitted that it accepted - directly this time - one million dollars from George Soros.  It is a FACT. Here it is:  http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2010/10/after_years_of_denying_connect.html

posted by: Truth Avenger on December 12, 2011  11:51am

@PKust:...  Soros never funded Media matters but because of Fox ‘s relentless lies, and accusations finally decided that he would make a substantial donation.  It was completely transparent and I wish he would donate another million to help monitor the lies and anti-democratic propaganda that is the Fox News mainstay: here is what the piece said:

“In the world of Fox News, saying someone is affiliated with George Soros is akin to (no, actually worse than) saying someone is affiliated with the pagan god Ba’al. So it’s always been a little bit mystifying why FNC’s sworn enemy, Media Matters, cared so much over the years when conservative pundits accused them of being funded by the Hungarian billionaire and political activist. But care they did, and they spent years vigorously denying it (while Soros hadn’t yet directly donated, groups he backed like MoveOn.com had supported Media Matters). Now, however, it’s official: George Soros has donated $1 million directly to the watchdog group. “In view of recent evidence suggesting that the incendiary rhetoric of Fox News hosts may incite violence, I have now decided to support the organization,” Soros said today. “Media Matters is one of the few groups that attempts to hold Fox News accountable for the false and misleading information they so often broadcast.”

Soros has until now famously stayed further away from this election than he has with the ones in 2004, 2006, and 2008. But apparently, his hatred of Fox News and Glenn Beck in particular was enough to draw him out again. “Fox has allowed Glenn Beck’s show to become an out-of-control vehicle for the potential incitement of domestic terrorism,” said Media Matters founder David Brock in a statement. “We are especially pleased that in this moment of hidden right-wing billionaire money corrupting our democracy, Mr. Soros, upon deciding to support our efforts, quickly and transparently has made that support public.” (We assume he is referring to this.)

“We’ve always maintained and have said many times before when people accused us of being Soros funded that 1. We weren’t and 2. We would be happy to accept his support,” a Media Matters spokeswoman told us in an e-mail this afternoon. “We previously denied any attachment to Soros because previously it wasn’t true. So there’s been no switch in our attitude.” Well, except probably that they’re pretty psyched to have all that moolah.

posted by: pkust on December 12, 2011  2:49pm

@truth avenger:  ...You accused me of repeating a “lie” that MediaMatters got Soros funding.  When I posted PROOF that Soros funds MediaMatters, you post this rambling rationale for why Soros did so.  ...

posted by: Truth Avenger on December 12, 2011  6:41pm

@PKUST: That rambling rationale was, in fact,  the link you posted as so-called “proof”- It was largely a direct quote and substantiates my claim - not yours.
The only thing the link proved was that Soro’s funding was a new and transparent event and all accusations about his connections prior to that were fabrications; he felt compelled to give-owing to the lies, hate, misinformation and propaganda emanating from Fox News. That fact is the crux of the issue. Fox News is a poor source for anything factual and not to be believed.  Who contributes to support the fine work of Media Matters is a non issue for anyone but those trying to negate their factual findings with extraneous and irrelevant distractions. I go back to my original statement: the Tea Party is corporate funded- Occupy Wall Street is a true grass roots movement whose participants are not “squatters,” but occupiers for economic and social justice. ....

posted by: HhE on December 12, 2011  9:00pm

Winning an argument on the Internet is like winning the Special Olympics. Well done pukst and Truth Avenger.

At the end of the day, American politics and news media have been compromised by the very rich (people and corporations—which are not exactly the same thing).

posted by: Tom Burns on December 15, 2011  2:31am

Keep doing what you are doing “OCCUPY”—you have my admiration and support—hope to see you on the 5th at Dwight Hall——and hope my New Haven teacher colleagues show up there also—All the best—Tom

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