Social programs such as health insurance and benefits for the unemployed have been much in the news this year amid the threat of filibuster and flat-out obstruction by Republicans and their special interest friends.

At times like these it’s good to remember the men and women of labor in post WW II New Britain who organized on the shop floor to win health, decent wages and better working conditions when the city was full of factories.  Individuals such as Nick Tomasetti, Laddie Michalowski, Eugenia Gil, Connie Collins and others attained what may be taken for granted in some workplaces but still very much needed in other 21st century offices and plants today.

These labor activists of the Greatest Generation didn’t stop with their own shops or locals but extended the fight into the political realm by backing pro-labor candidates in local, state and national elections. They’d be in the forefront of the current push for a public option and universal health care.

Tony Bracha, a tough as nails union president and organizer, was one of these stalwart fighters for working people. Bracha, a member of the legendary United Auto Workers Local 133, died at the age of 93 on February 17th.  He instilled public service and a caring for others in those who followed him including his daughter, Diane DeFronzo, a former Board of Education member and social worker,  and son-in-law, State Senator Don DeFronzo, also a former union president and two-term mayor.

Tony Bracha’s life is one worth remembering to lift the spirits and strengthen the resolve of those working toward social and economic justice.

The Hartford Courant’s Anne Hamilton obliges us with her story on Bracha’s life and work that appeared in the March 28th Courant

http://www.courant.com/features/hc-exlife0328.artmar28,0,4965830.story