2008 Labor Honor Roll

Nov. 5, 2008 

Richard 'Dik' Days 
Delegate, Greater Hartford Central Labor Council 
Education Director, United Auto Workers, Region 9A 
A. Phillip Randolph Institute, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists 

“Dik Days was Education Director for Region 9A, UAW until he retired. He was a real New Yorker -- always quick with a laugh. He started the first Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) in the state. He organized a local credit union so union members could have access to credit. He played the key role in buying and shipping a fire truck down to Puerto Rico after a big fire in an area that had no firefighting equipment. The City of Hartford donated it and the UAW shipped it. He believed everyone had the right to know how their union worked and how to participate in it.” 

 --Clarke King, V.P., Greater Hartford Central Labor Council

Robert O. Martin
Vice President, Greater Hartford Central Labor Council
President, International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 1579 
Advocate for Community Services 

Merrilee Milstein
Vice President, Greater Hartford Central Labor Council 
Vice President, 1199, New England Health Care Employees Union 
AFL-CIO Northeast Regional Assistant Director 

“Merrilee Milstein had been a Vice President of 1199 healthcare workers union and was the East Coast Regional Deputy Director for the AFL-CIO. She once said “The challenge in organizing is to keep a healthy outrage at injustice while maintaining an inner peace.” I think this sums up her attitude toward her life and work. She was arrested on picket lines a number of times and always had fun. She always succeeded in getting people to work hard in our unions and in politics. It was her belief that each individual was stronger, more powerful, than we knew we could be.

--Peggy Shorey, V.P., Greater Hartford Central Labor Council

William J. O'Brien 

Vice President, Greater Hartford Central Labor Council 
President, Greater Hartford-New Britain Building and Construction Trades 
Business Manager/Financial Secretary, Roofers Local 9 

“Bill O’Brien was the Manager of Local 9 of the Roofers’ Union, president of the Hartford-New Britain Trades Council and a political powerhouse in his hometown of West Hartford. He was a compassionate guy who would understand if you made a mistake, but then he would expect you to straighten up. He was a strong-willed leader who would give everyone a shot. He broke down racial barriers in the trades and that took guts.” 

 -- Mike Hassett, V.P., Greater Hartford Central Labor Council

Danny Perez 
Vice President, Greater Hartford Central Labor Council 
Organizing Director, International Ladies Garment Workers Union 
Organizer in New York and Connecticut 
Political Activist 

“Danny Perez was organizing director for the ILGWU in Connecticut. He made a lasting mark in the struggle for workers’ rights, especially in the area of health and safety. He gravitated toward the poorest workers in the most dangerous jobs and organized them for their own protection, whether it was the Uretek factory in New Haven, Mario Valente, Inc. in New Britain, or the Plastonics, Futuramik, or Hartford Faience plants in Hartford. He built coalitions between the labor, community and political worlds. He was fearless and has passed his love of justice to his children.

--Steve Thornton, V.P., Greater Hartford Central Labor Council

Judy D. Warfield 
President, Greater Hartford Central Labor Council 
Executive Vice President, A&R Employees Union 
Vice President, AFT-CT 
Advisory Board Member, AFL-CIO

“Judy Warfield is a past president of the Greater Hartford Labor Council, the Council’s first woman in New England to hold the job. She had also been an officer in the A&R state employees union. As Labor Council president Judy stepped up strike support for local unions and expanded the Council’s mission with work in the religious community and the neighborhoods. Under Judy the Council was awarded “Union City” status, which was a real honor. She got us involved in progressive Hartford politics and helped lead the Living Wage campaign. She broke through the “old boys” club and brought our Council into the 20th century.” 

 --Peggy Buchanan, President, Greater Hartford Central Labor Council