Singer Songwriter, social and environmental activist and purveyor of all things Rain Barrel!
Frank Panzarella is a carpenter, musician and lifelong peace and justice activist who served as director of the CT Council on Occupational Safety and Health from 1993 until 1998. Prior to that, he worked at New England Die Casting in West Haven, CT, where he was chief steward of the Machinists Lodge Local 1990 and the Lodge President from 1989 until 1992. He was also the Local’s New Haven Area Vice President from 1991 until 1993.
The Local was certified on December 5th, 1967 and remained the bargaining agent for 100% of the shop employees until the plant closed in 1992. Its strongest and most active members were African Americans, who constituted a slight majority of the work force at NEDC, which included large numbers of Jamaican, Polish and Puerto Rican immigrants.
During Panzarella’s tenure, he spent about 60% of his time working on safety related issues, especially dangerous conditions in the die cast room and the punch press department which was composed predominantly of women workers. The company was, Mr. Panzarella says, “somewhat cooperative” in making the needed changes.
Another major issue that occupied the union’s time was job allocation, that is, the struggle to ensure a fair allocation of “good” jobs for all employees. This was especially important because of the piece rate system, and because the company strategy was to try to play workers off against each other, in particular to try to create divisions between black and white workers. From Mr. Panzarella’s perspective, the Local’s greatest achievement was “its creation.” During his tenure, he felt that its most significant event was its participation in the 1990 AFL-CIO Solidarity March in Washington, D.C. A bus load from the Local attended. “It was the first and fullest participation of the members in a quasi-political event.”
You can connect with Frank at
"Get a Rain Barrel" written and performed by Frank in Lots of Fish school assembly presentations. We are now working to bring our Assembly into a online format during Social Distancing and while schools are closed but working from home.
Lots of Fish
12 East Grand Avenue, New Haven, CT, 06513
Copyright © 2020 Lots of Fish - All Rights Reserved.