The two sisters were born in Alabama but raised in New Haven in the Dixwell/Newhallville neighborhood. They are both long time members of the Executive Board of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association.
Dorothy went to school in New Haven and worked at Circuitwise in North Haven from 1977 until it closed in 2004. She was an inspector and later served as president of United Electrical Workers Union Local 299 from 1994 until 2004.
Joining the Party
Johnson joined the Communist Party USA in the 1980s through her involvement in the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America;
- I've been considered a quiet, shy person, but also one who always stood up for justice. I couldn't do it alone, so I joined the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) in 1988, and from that time on I've been very vocal. The union opened up my eyes to a lot of issues and made me stronger, but I grew interested in issues beyond its mission. During my employment at the Circuit-Wise factory, I began to read the People's Weekly World, and realized there was hope for a better tomorrow. It led me to a political group that fit my needs—the Communist Party. When I was employed at Circuit-Wise, the Party worked tremendously hard to support our fight for union recognition and a first contract, which took a 17-month strike. I find that the Party embraces people from all walks of life and is like a family that works together to resolve the injustice in our society. As an African American woman, I see an overwhelming need for more African American women and men in the Party so that dream that we all have of making America the way it should be, with equality, justice and peace, will be realized.
Communist Party's May Day Salute
In 1995 the Communist Party USA newspaper People's Weekly World, published a "May Day salute" to the "heroes in the class war zone". More than 100 unionists/activists endorsed the call, mostly known affiliates, or members of the Communist Party.
Dorothy Johnson UE Local 299 Hamden Connecticut, was one of those listed.
Communist Party USA
Alfred Marder, Art Perlo, Brian Steinberg, Dorothy Johnson, Eda diBiccari, Edie Fishman, Edward Broderick, George Fishman , Henry Lowendorf, James Barnes Jr, Joelle Fishman, Joseph Taylor, Lola Johnson, Mary Johnson, Melvin Gonzalez Mendez, Pamela Saffer, Yusuf Gursey, Sallie Caswell Thomas, Tom Connolly Reed Smith Jr .
90th anniversary of the Communist Party USA/People’s World Amistad award
The diverse and inspired overflow crowd stayed to the end of the remarkable celebration of People's World Amistad Award honorees Anna Montalvo, Gwen Mills and Art Perry on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the Communist Party USA, Dec. 2009. The theme of the event was "Keep the Ball Rolling....to win jobs with union rights, health care, peace and equality!" Unity and struggle were the messages of the day.
Joelle Fishman presented the afternoon's call to action for organizing the unorganized, building even bigger grass roots mobilization on the issues including health care, no troops to Afghanistan, public works job creation and the employee free choice act. She presented certificates of appreciation to Dorothy Johnson and Brian Steinberg for their tireless work over many years delivering the People's Weekly World to workers' homes and getting them involved in the struggle.
Applause greeted the announcement that the People's World now daily on-line will have a mini Connecticut print edition as of January, when the national print edition ends.
The 90th anniversary of the Communist Party proud was done proud!
- Community at Winchester, Lula White & Dorothy Johnson
- People's Weekly World May 6 1995 p 2
- We salute the labor movement!, People's World, September 1, 2006
- http://www.peoplesworld.org/new-haven-people-s-world-amistad-award-celebration-big-success/, PW, New Haven People’s World Amistad award celebration big success, December 8 2009]