The following article is from 35 years ago today, appearing in the Hartford Courant on January 22nd, 1977. It was written by Lincoln Millstein.
The president of the Municipal Employees Union said he believes the resignation of 17 City Hall workers from the union Friday were prompted by a recent controversy over Martin Luther King's birthday.
Some of the workers who quit gave other reasons.
"I guess segregation still lives," Pillarella said, adding that officials of the union, Local 466, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employes, are reviewing whether the members can legally withdraw.
"Let them leave. We have no use for those kind of people," Pillarella said. The union president is convinced that the reason behind the resignations is that some City Hall workers were upset that Monday was declared a holiday in honor of Martin Luther King.
"I don't believe that there is wide dissension in the union. These are just a select few." Pillarella said. "This is just 17 out of 400 members of the union."
However, besides the 17 workers who pulled out of the union Friday, others in City Hall also said they are contemplating doing the same.
All of the workers said there was no one reason for their actions but that there has been a general dissatisfaction with the way the union leadership has handled matters.
One employee said Thursday night's action by the union to raise dues from $6.25 a month to $7 was the "Straw that broke the camel's back.
"By quitting the union, I automatically give myself an $84 a year raise," Mel Imme, who is considering resigning, said Friday.
the resignations came in the form of letters to Finance Director James Reynolds, asking him not to withhold weekly dues from pay checks. Reynolds said he intends to comply with the requests until he is told otherwise.
One City Hall employe, Mrs. Joan Robinson, of the Finance Department, had resigned last week. She said Friday she resigned because she believes Local 466 no longer represents her adequately.
Mayor Anthony S. Marino said he greeted news of the resignations with mixed motions [sic].
"It shows that there is a big rift in our city employes, and I don't like that," Marino said. "The administration did nothing to encourage this."
One Building Department official said the union has shown more concern for part-time workers and workers in the field than for City Hall workers. He also said some members have not felt good about the union's strong demands when the city is not in a position to meet those demands.
those who resigned Friday included five from the Public Works Department, five from the Water and Sewer Department, three from the Building Department, one from the Municipal Development Office and one from the Parks and Recreation Department.