New Hope for New Haven

We’re in the Nation! Paul Bass’s in-depth article on the the recent shift in power at the city level and the many challenges we’re now working to overcome discusses CCNE in the context of the broader community, labor, clergy movement for economic and social justice in New Haven.


“New Hope for New Haven, Connecticut”

January 25, 2012

Paul Bass, The Nation

(Here’s a sneak preview:)

“In the past two decades the city has made advances in immigration policy, revived its downtown core, encouraged a vibrant arts community and, until the mid-aughts, developed a nationally recognized community policing program. …

Despite that progress, interest and participation in local democracy has withered in New Haven, as it has in so many cities where federally funded patronage has dried up. …

Nor have the recent advances made much of a dent in the city’s high poverty and unemployment rates, largely dependent on decisions by state and national lawmakers and corporations. The most enduring poverty-prevention effort of the past three decades has probably been the unionization of Yale’s pink-collar workers and their subsequent success in a series of strikes. That union, Local 34 of UNITE HERE (whose international represents workers in textile, manufacturing, hotel, food service and other fields), now has some 3,500 members. Combined with the roughly 1,000-member blue-collar Local 35, the Yale unions have preserved living wages and good benefits for a big chunk of the city. And they’ve developed into the largest organized political force independent of City Hall. …

Meanwhile, often below the radar, Yale’s unions and their nonelectoral policy spinoff, the Connecticut Center for a New Economy, have built an independent base and started to craft an independent agenda. Since 2004 CCNE has launched grassroots initiatives on social, economic and voting issues as well as a Civic Leadership Institute. Union members and allies have knocked on tens of thousands of doors and have pulled together survey data on the issues people care about. All that work, along with some unconventional strategy, paid off in last fall’s municipal elections.”

“Grassroots Agenda Starts with Jobs” at Dec. 3 City-Wide Community Leaders meeting

Hundreds of residents came together December 3rd at the City-Wide Community Leaders meeting to identify and find collective solutions to New Haven’s most pressing problems.

In a packed school cafeteria, people from across the city—including a significant number of local and state lawmakers—held small group discussions framed by some common questions about what they thought the city’s priorities should in the coming year. Read more