by Juan Hernandez
32BJ SEIU Connecticut District Leader
As we begin 2016 and look forward to everything a new year can bring, I want to take this opportunity to reflect on what we, together, have achieved as a union in Connecticut throughout 2015.
Thousands of commercial members all over Connecticut have reason to celebrate the new year after we reached new four-year agreements in Hartford, New Haven and Fairfield County. It was a long campaign, but members hit the streets and voted to strike if necessary, pushing back against employer proposals that would have undercut health benefits and deserved wage raises.
Connecticut members are part of the fight for $15 for all workers, and we took to the streets time and again to show our support for the national campaign.
32BJ members always come out and support candidates who stand with working men and women. In February, members helped send Ed Gomes back to the State Senate as the first legislator ever to win a state seat on the Working Families Party ticket as a third-party candidate. Your support in November helped re-elect Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew and New Haven mayor Toni Harp. Luke Bronin won the mayor’s office in the Hartford general election, and we helped three Working Party candidates win in tough races: newcomer Wildaliz Bermudez, and incumbents Larry Deutsh and Cynthia Jennings.
We won some big legislative victories too! In June, Hartford City council unanimously approved municipal IDs that will help immigrants gain a real sense of belonging. 32BJ members fought for the establishment of the Connecticut Low Wage Advisory Board, which recommends minimum wage rates needed for an ‘economically stable living standard’ in Connecticut.
This will be a big year for 32BJ in Connecticut as we continue to defend the nine cleaners who lost their jobs at 500 Enterprise when a union contractor was replaced at the end of June. We will also be pounding the pavement for candidates who support working families in the 2016 elections!
I wish you and your loved ones a happy and safe new year, and I look forward to working with you to deliver wins for all workers in 2016.