NEW HAVEN, Conn. — “The people can win” was the theme of this year’s May Day celebration here, held a week early on April 24 to allow for the participation of New Haven activists in the huge May 1 march in New York City against nuclear weapons and the war in Iraq.

The celebration of International Workers Day was sponsored by the People’s Weekly World, and included a slideshow titled “May Day around the World.”

The audience heard from a spokesperson from the Graduate Employee and Student Organization at Yale University, whose recent one-week strike for fairness received a standing ovation. Graduate student employees have been fighting to achieve dignity, respect and justice through the union for over 10 years.

Merrilee Milstein, regional deputy director of the AFL-CIO, presented this year’s PWW Newsmaker Awards to the Connecticut Working Families Party (WFP) and Community Organized for Responsible Development (CORD).

Jon Green, the WFP’s executive director, expressed gratitude for everyone’s help in building and supporting the Working Families Party, which, he said, has and will remain an active force in the drive to organize Wal-Mart’s workers into unions. The WFP is a grassroots political party that includes unions, community organizations and concerned citizens.

Celestino Cordova, Lisa Bergmann and James Washington accepted the award on behalf of CORD. CORD is a citywide organization of individuals and community groups demanding Yale-New Haven Hospital sit down at the table and negotiate with the residents in New Haven.

CORD spokesperson James Washington, a retired postal worker, said, “No more business as usual — it’s time for change. No more will the residents of New Haven allow the developers to come into their neighborhood and take over.”

CORD has hit the trail with a massive door-knocking drive to gather signatures on petitions urging the hospital to stop its stalling tactics and be the good neighbors they claim they are. On May 21 CORD and SEIU will hold a rally, concert and march with Wyclef Jean for “Our Community, Our Jobs, Our Hospital.”

Dorothy Johnson, representing the New Haven People’s Center, presented CORD with over 50 pages of signatures supporting those demands and said there is more to come. “This is a new day. Yale Hospital must stop dictating to the communities in New Haven,” she said.

Joelle Fishman, chair of the Connecticut Communist Party, announced that party’s upcoming state convention, which will include participation in the May 21 march and rally.

The event was an occasion for workers to celebrate their victories and plan for new advances. Union activists Carol Vinick, Ruth Goldbaum, and Lisa Bergmann led the audience in song.

When combined with monies raised in connection with the special May Day ad in the PWW honoring the Newsmaker Award winners, the event raised over $2,000 for the People’s Weekly World.