Annual Meeting a Success!

17 May 2010 4:48 PM | Posted by GNHLHA

Report on This Year’s Annual Meeting

By Jim Hoffecker and Joan Cavanagh

The excitement was high at the New Haven Federation of Teachers/ Greater New Haven Central Labor Council Building on the afternoon of Sunday May 16, 2010 for the Greater New Haven Labor History Association’s Annual Meeting. Those attending included many who have been GNHLHA members for years as well as several who joined for the first time.  Highlights of the afternoon included presentation of the Augusta Lewis Troup awards and a dramatic reading of “Voices of Working People’s History,” a performance piece by Western Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, followed by remarks from Professor Troy Rondinone. 

 Guests were greeted at the door by GNHLHA’s new Outreach Coordinator, Christine Saari, and welcomed from the podium by President Nicholas Aiello. Archivist/ Director Joan Cavanagh gave a brief report and an overview of the afternoon.  Vice President Mary Johnson was mistress of ceremonies.

The first of the two Augusta Lewis Troup awards was given to Mary Altieri for her work as a union organizer in the early garment industry. It was presented by Anthony Riccio, author of The Italian American Experience in New Haven, Cooking with Chef Silvio, and the soon to be published  Farms, Factories and Families: Italian-American Women of Connecticut.  The second award, presented by former AFSCME Local 1939 President and long-time community activist Irmgard Wessel, was given to Joe Dimow for his life time contributions to progressive work in New Haven and beyond.

 GNHLHA members and Executive Board members joined in reading the parts of Big Bill Haywood, Mother Jones, W.E.B DuBois, Peter McGuire, Albert and Lucy Parsons and other key figures in the fight for the eight hour day, whose words are used to evoke the history of labor organizing in the United States in the Western Massachusetts Jobs With Justice production, “Voices in Working People’s History”.  The performance included classic labor songs performed   by Frank Panzarella, GNHLHA’s official troubadour, sometimes accompanied by new GNHLHA member George Anthony (“Tony”) Rosso, a professor of English at Southern Connecticut State University, whose singing ability is a previously undiscovered resource. The performance ended with a rousing rendition of “Solidarity Forever,” joined by all.

Following the reading was a talk by Southern Connecticut State University History Professor and GNHLHA Recording Secretary Troy Rondinone about the history depicted in the reading.  The talk is being written up as an article tentatively entitled, “The Bomb that Started Labor History” and will be published in the next newsletter. Stay tuned!

Greater New Haven Labor History Association  •  267 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06513 •  info@laborhistory.org •

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