Local Lodge 700 Celebrates 50th
On April 19, 2009 CANEL Lodge 700 held a picnic to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The celebration was attended by hundreds of Local 700 active and retired members and their families. Among the dignitaries who joined the celebration were Connecticut AFL-CIO President John Olson and Connecticut Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz.
Among the activities enjoyed by many was touring the history exhibit tent. On display were fifty years of lodge history, which included buttons; pins; flyers and articles, plus photographs detailing events and milestones through the years.
It was May 1955 when Pratt & Whitney broke ground in Middletown, Connecticut to build the Connecticut Aircraft Nuclear Engine Laboratory (CANEL), a nuclear research facility constructed to develop a nuclear aircraft engine for the United States Air Force.
Over the course of the next four years, workers at the plant came to realize they needed a voice in the work place. A small number of activists went to work organizing. They talked to their co-workers, stressing the need for union representation and a voice on the job.
In March 1959 the workers applied for a charter to the International Association of Machinists. It was approved and CANEL Lodge 700 was officially chartered on April 20, 1959, the charter being signed by then-International President D. J. Hayes and General Secretary Treasurer Eric Peterson.
Today, just as in 1959, we still have the need to be heard and represented on the job. We still need a voice regarding the issues we face such as seniority protection; overtime; health care and protecting our health and safety on the job.
The membership of Local 700 is very proud of the accomplishments that have been achieved over the years and it is all due to the membership’s dedication and strong determination to work for the just causes of our Brothers and Sisters. Local 700 now sets its sight on the next fifty years.