Working for Peace on Earth and Peace with Earth since 1952
Union members and supporters met on February 25 in a fundraiser for a branch of the Independent Trade Union of Ukrainian Miners. Despite Connecticut’s first snow of the year, they gathered and heard over Zoom from Yuri Samoilov, the president of the Kriviy Rih City Branch of the miners union. He had to be translated from Ukrainian to Spanish and from Spanish to English, but it was done swiftly and without a hitch. Frank Panzarella a former president of a Connecticut Machinists local and professional singer, entertained with a verse he wrote to the tune of “Keep on Rockin in Free World” and later to the traditional labor hymn “Solidarity Forever”. Over zoom we also heard from Pavel Polska, who is in Mexico and Fabio Bosco, a unionist from Brazil. Rachel Lonchar, a member of Teamsters Local 1150, gave her analysis combining support for the miners’ union and Ukraine’s resistance, but explaining that U.S. government support is being given to weaken Russia in a battle of empires, and warning that U.S. officials would like to entangle Ukraine in U.S. imperial ambitions.
Raffle tickets were sold and winners got everything from Ukrainian tea to cups with Ukrainian colors to a copy of Ukrainian artist Kataya Gritsvea’s depiction of the Russian invasion. An auction was held for a donated print from noted artist and journalist Molly Crabapple, made from a sketch of a Kyiv’s main square during on her 2022 trip to Ukraine. Bidding went on for a while and a hefty sum was raised for the Ukrainian union.
Teamsters were the biggest group attending the fundraiser, but members and retired members of 5 or 6 other unions took part. There was applause when it was announced that John Olsen the former president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, (who was not able to attend) had made a donation.
The event was sponsored by Workers Voice and Promoting Enduring Peace and co-sponsored by the Ukrainian Socialist Solidarity Campaign, the New Haven Federation of Teachers (933R) Retired teachers chapter, the Ukraine Solidarity Network and around 15 individual union members.
Contributions can still be sent online via "Chuffed". https://chuffed.org/project/workersaidtoukraine or by check to Promoting Enduring Peace, 39 Goodrich Street, New Haven, CT 06517. Make checks to "Promoting Enduring Peace". Make sure to add in the "Memo" line "for Ukrainian miners".
Performance Room of the New Haven library opposite the New Haven Green, 133 Elm Street.
Saturday, February 25 at 2 p.m. Eastern
Sponsors List in formation:
Workers Voice US,
Promoting Enduring Peace
Ukrainian Socialist Solidarity Campaign
New Haven Federation of Teachers (933R) Retired teachers chapter
Ukraine Solidarity Network
(disclaimer: Mention of unions below is for identification purposes only.)
Meghan Keane, Former member PSC-CUNY,
Frank Panzarella, Retired former IAM (Int’l Assoc. of Machinists) President of Local Lodge 1990,
Ted Zuur, retired member of HERE Local 2, former shop steward
Dean Cohen, Providence Federation of Musicians Local 198-457.
Rick Sprout, Endicott NY, CSEA/ UUP- retired
Cheryl Zuur, Former president AFSCME Local 444, Oakland, California
Howie Hawkins, Teamsters Local 317, retired; 2020 Green Party Nominee for President
John Reimann, former recording secretary, Carpenters Local 713, Hayward CA
Phil Gasper, AFT Local 243
Traven Leyshon, President Green Mountain Labor Council; District V-P Vermont AFL-CIO
Kieran F. Knutson, President CWA Local 7250
Rachel Lonchar, member of Teamsters Local 1150, member of Teamsters Local 1150 Women’s Committee
Christopher Hutchinson, Teamsters Local 1150
Dayne Goodwin AFSCME Local 1004 (ret.), Salt Lake City, United States
Sherry Wolf, CWA 1032; ( Sr Organizer of Rutgers AAUP-AFT)
Philip LaPrise, Teamsters Local 1150
Emmett Santisi, Teamsters Local 1150
David Rivera, Teamsters Local 177
Mike Pinho, IBEW Local 90
Daniel Piper, CREC-EA
Dean Cohen, Providence Federation of Musicians Local 198-457 AFL-CIO
William Keach, retired Professor of English at Brown University, AFT member
Steve Ongerth, IWW (Bay Area General Membership Branch) and IBU (San Francisco Bay Area Region, ILWU affiliate) Bay Area, California
David Turpin Jr, union substation electrician for Metra commuter railroad, member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 134
John Fussell - attorney
details about the event below
Will the Council support the fundraiser in New Haven for the Ukrainian mine workers union?
Dear Brother or Sister:
I’m a retired teacher, a member of the West Haven Federation of Teachers (AFT) for 40 years, and currently a member of the retired chapter (NFT 933R). I was a delegate to the Greater New Haven Central Labor Council from most of those years.
On Sat. February 25 at 2 p.m. there’s going to be an in-person fundraiser in New Haven for the 40,000-member strong Independent Trade Union of Ukrainian Miners. We’re going to meet in the Performance Room of the New Haven library opposite the New Haven Green, 133 Elm Street. We’ll hear some talks and take part in some fun ways of raising contributions. Click here for the FB Event Page.
We’ll be addressed from Ukraine on Zoom by Yuri Samoilov, the president of the Kriviy Rih City Branch of the Miners Trade Union of Ukraine! I don’t have to tell you how awful things are in Ukraine since the Russian invasion. Many of the Ukrainian mines have been closed down or are without electricity after Russian bombings. The union is helping miners and their families, relocating people, and buying and handing over medicines and supplies for the military. In addition, the union is fighting new anti-worker laws coming down from the government.
We hope your union can help in this effort by letting your membership know about the event and urging attendance. It would also be of great help if we could list your union’s name as a cosponsor. And a donation of any size would be the icing on the cake.
The event sponsors at this point are Workers Voice US and Promoting Enduring Peace. We expect to pick up cosponsors. If there are members in your union who would like to help organize the event please let me know.
We'll be using Chuffed to send money to Ukraine https://chuffed.org/project/workersaidtoukraine
The independent trade union of miners of Ukraine (NGPU) represents mine workers in coal, iron and uranium ore, non-ferrous metals, peat and energy. It was formed in 1989 when Ukraine was still part of the Soviet Union. That year, massive miners’ strikes began in the region of Donbas. They started in Russia’s Kuzbass and spread to Ukraine’s Donetsk region a week later. Half a million miners suspended their work. The main issues were work deaths, inefficiency and ever higher production demands.They’re a tough bunch. All through the ‘90’s they went on strike in independent Ukraine every year. Since last February’s invasion many of the miners have volunteered for the Ukrainian armed forces.