Communist Party award
John Olsen, Carmen Boudier and Juan Figueroa "have long been in the forefront of struggles for jobs, health care and basic human needs, workers' rights, equal representation, voting rights and peace. From the picket line to the voting line, they have each exemplified the strength and unity that it takes to keep our country moving forward."
The annual awards were at a special anniversary concert, "Voices for Jobs, Equality & Peace.....A concert for people's needs not corporate greed." Jazz and Latin music, labor songs and spoken word were presented by an array of artists including Bill Collins of the Rabble Rousers, Hermanos Son, a jazz set with Jeff Fuller, William Fluker and friends, Richard Hill, Baub Bidon, DJ Bell and Ken Brown.
The post-election event was dedicated to "expanding grass roots action to achieve good jobs, equal rights and a redirection of funds to meet the needs of local communities and youth".
"John Olsen has devoted his life to the cause of working people since he started out as a member of the Plumbers Union. During his tenure as president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO he has been instrumental in winning legislation, union contracts and elections that have expanded opportunity and raised the quality of life for workers and their families."
"Carmen Boudier, president of the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199, first joined the union when she organized the nursing home where she worked. She has led many ground-breaking organizing drives and contract battles including the current six month strike against Spectrum Health Care."
"Juan Figueroa has been a pioneer for Latino representation and civil rights in many capacities at the state and national level. His leadership of the Universal Health Care Foundation put Connecticut in front with the passage of Sustinet. He was the first Puerto Rican candidate for Governor of Connecticut in the 2010 Democratic primaries."
May Day with the Communists, 2011
On May Day 2011, in New Haven, a rally and march of several hundred was initiated by immigrant workers who had just won a long fight with Goodfella's Restaurant for $23,000 in unpaid wages. Representatives from local unions, student and community groups joined in. The march through downtown ended at the New Haven Green for the annual May Day celebration, including information tables, a giant peace sign project, performances and speeches.
At the end of the afternoon, an overflow crowd from around the state turned out for the presentation of People's World Newsmaker Awards to Spectrum nursing home workers locked out on strike for one year, Communications Workers Local 1298, and SEBAC, the bargaining coalition of all state worker's unions representing 40,000 workers.
Organized around the theme "We are One - Workers Rights are Human Rights," the event honored Connecticut's public workers, their unions and the services they provide. It offered an opportunity for youth leaders, strikers, community activists and state labor leaders to discuss how to build a more powerful political force of working people that can change the debate from deficits to taxing the rich and big corporations, and achieve a change of priorities in our country.
Exemplifying the kind of courage required, Carmen Boudier, president of New England Local 1199, said the 400 Spectrum workers had rejected a company attempt to rehire only some workers and not others. "We will all stay out until we can all go back," she declared to cheers and applause.
- Connecticut leaders to receive People’s World awards, Peoples World, Joelle Fishman, November 29 2010
- [http://peoplesworld.org/force-of-unity-defends-working-people-s-rights/ PW "Force of unity" defends working people's rights by: Joelle Fishman May 6 2011