Steve Thornton

A Labor of Love

Matilda Rabinowitz and Benjamin J. Legere
June 22, 2016

By Steve Thornton

For some Bridgeport workers in the early 20th century, union organizing was both a family affair and a love affair.  Matilda Rabinowitz and Benjamin J. Legere were such a couple.  (Think of the film stars Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton, who played John Reed and Louise Bryant in the 1981 movie Reds.)  (more…)

Labor, Women

Bridgeport Sparks a “March to Rebuild America”

March to Rebuild America
February 24, 2016

By Steve Thornton

Bridgeport has long been known as the third poorest city in the country, but there is another statistic that completes the poverty picture.  Only 28 miles away, Greenwich, Connecticut is one of the wealthiest towns in America, and, not coincidently, the home turf of the Prescott Bush family.  One business newspaper has called Fairfield County “the most unequal place in America.” (more…)

Labor, Politics, Social Justice

Everyday Heroes Fight for Patient Care

Everyday Heroes Fight for Patient Care
June 01, 2016

If it is true that the test of a society is how well it cares for its most vulnerable people, then Bridgeport’s health care workers can be proud of the high standard they have set. For decades they have fought for improved patient care, increased staffing levels, and respect for those on the job.

By far, the largest number of health care workers in Bridgeport-area health care are those who work in nursing homes and group home programs. Since the 1970s, these low-wage workers have organized unions to secure a decent living for their families and retirement security for themselves. (more…)

Labor, Social Justice, Women

Strikes for the Eight-Hour Day in Summer 1915 Bridgeport

Strikes for the Eight-Hour Day in Summer 1915 Bridgeport
August 18, 2015

by Cecelia Bucki, Professor of History, Fairfield University

On Monday, August 16, 1915, one thousand women corset workers struck the Warner Corset Company, demanding the eight-hour day, elimination of fines and other work rules, and recognition of their union shop committee. “Chaos reigned in manufacturing circles,” declared the Bridgeport Herald as other unskilled and semi-skilled workers struck the city’s factories, garment shops, foundries, rubber works, and laundries, all demanding the eight-hour day, pay raises, and union recognition. (more…)

Bridgeport at War, Featured, Labor

Theater for the 99% in Bridgeport

Broadway Playbill
May 09, 2016

By Stephen Thornton

On stage at Bridgeport’s Park Theater in the fall of 1944 stood “Republico, The Little Mechanical Man.”  He was an empty-headed dummy that the stage barker described as “handy, dandy, and works like a whiz.”  With his slick hair and neat mustache, the figure looked a lot like Thomas E. Dewey, Franklin Roosevelt’s competitor in the presidential race.  “He will not break, chip, or take action on any controversial subject,” the barker promised, and the audience erupted with laughter.  The satire hit home with these FDR supporters. (more…)

African American Heritage, Entertainment, Labor, Theaters