A consortium of sponsoring organizations, including the Connecticut Catholic Conference, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, United Auto Workers Region 9A, Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, Connecticut Citizens Action Group (CCAG), Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ, and SEIU District 1199NE, came together in 1983 to found the Naugatuck Valley Project in response to a growing number of brass mill takeovers in the Naugatuck Valley by corporate raiders. The organization fought and successfully restored corporate-seized pension funds to workers, won funding for the establishment of job retraining programs for laid off workers, and helped to save and create jobs through employee buyouts of their companies.
Since 1983, NVP has had a robust leadership training program to bring knowledge, self-confidence, and team building to hundreds of community leaders. Leaders have gone on to organize their family and friends to engage in dozens of community campaigns, including community policing, immigrant rights and services, brownfield remediation, and the availability of language translation services at area hospitals. NVP developed a community land trust and 102 affordable housing townhouses that were occupied for the first time in 1989. The residents there have worked cooperatively for more than 30 years to maintain their homes and the community’s affordability.
Thirty-seven years after its founding, NVP is leading a local campaign to win a community benefit agreement (cba) from Prospect Medical Holdings, Inc. (PMH), the for-profit owner of Waterbury Hospital, and its controlling partner, the $5 billion private equity company Leonard Green and Partners (LG&P). The campaign, in its third year, has many active partners and allies. It has mushroomed from its local beginnings into national prominence as a result of NVP leader persistence. NVP began with rallies, sit-ins, community meetings, and prayer vigils. The organization has moved on this year, with assistance from national unions and nonprofits, to gain Congressional support, testify at private equity investors’ meetings, and meet with state legislators in a push to prepare legislative proposals for Connecticut’s 2021 legislative session to require for-profit hospital owners to negotiate CBAs with the communities in which they operate. We are also assisting our Rhode Island allies in support of their efforts to prevent the RI Department of Public Health Advisory Committee and the RI Attorney General from granting PMH and LG&P the right to change its corporate structure in that state. We are building national partners in the process and confronting PMH and LG&P in the public arena at every turn in their attempt to extract millions in hospital resources from our community.