People Power Prevails in New Haven

Jeanette Morrison, right, and her daughter celebrate. Photo courtesy of New Haven Independent.

The Main Street Movement took hold Tuesday in New Haven Sept. 13, bringing needed change when voters tapped Local 2663 members Jeanette Morrison and Jacqueline James and 12 other union-supported candidates in the city’s Democratic primaries for alderman seats.

The primaries are all in heavily Democratic districts, paving the way for victory in the general election.

Morrison, a political newcomer, and James, an incumbent alderwoman, both work for the state Department of Children and Families in New Haven.

When Morrison was asked by a reporter if she would push a ‘union agenda,’ she said,

“You mean a people’s agenda? Union means people. We’re gonna carry out the people’s agenda.”

Council 4, in partnership with the International union, and other unions, led the fight to bring the community together, actively supporting candidates in the alderman race to combat privatization, layoffs and furloughs.

In an unprecedented effort, Council 4 watched nearly every one of its 15 supported candidates win their primaries. Most notably, several of the incumbent aldermen had not been challenged in more than 20 years.

Councils 4 and Council 15 (representing municipal police officers, including New Haven) congratulated the winners, reminding them their work is not over and affirmed that they would continue to mobilize in New Haven to build the movement for stronger and safer neighborhoods.

In addition to 15,000 mail pieces, Council 4 and 15 members along with members from coalition unions contacted thousands of neighbors and friends by going door to door.

"An integral part of our campaign was hiring and training a new generation of committed activists from New Haven to continue the work of putting New Haven back on track," said Council 4 Political Field Representative Matthew Brokman.

Local 530 Pres. Arpad Tolnay applauded change in New Haven saying, “now we will see that real people will be making the decisions, with real life experiences, rather than career politicians. We look forward to working with the new board.”

In a rally earlier this year, AFSCME Sec.-Treas. Lee Saunders fired up activists, telling them that by pulling together to fight against privatization, layoffs and furloughs, they could take back New Haven. It became apparent that an aggressive effort was necessary as the city became ground zero for municipal battleground fights in the state.

The primary victories for Morrison and the 13 other supported candidates laid the groundwork for a strong and effective Main Street Movement in Connecticut.

We are proud to congratulate our endorsed candidates who won: Jeanette Morrison, Frank Douglass, Jackie James-Evans, Delphine Clyburn, Brian Wingate, Claudette Robinson-Thorpe, Jessica Holmes, Dolores Colon, Brenda Jones Barnes, Brenda Foskey-Cyrus, Angela Russell, and Adam Marchand.