Springfield/Holyoke Area Unions Endorse Candidates, Plan Rally

A group of unions in the Springfield/Holyoke area has endorsed candidates in the November 3 local elections. The Pioneer Valley Central Labor Council endorsed Domenic Sarno for mayor of Springfield and Elaine Pluta for mayor of Holyoke.

Rick Brown is president of the labor council. "We're excited about the new ward representation system in Springfield," he said. "It will open up politics to the people."

As examples, he cited labor-backed candidates Orlando Ramos, a union carpenter, who is running for for Springfield city council from ward eight; Amaad Rivera, an activist with the group United For a Fair Economy, running for Springfield city councilor in ward six; and Clodo Conception, a retired union member running for Springfield city councilor from ward five.

Of Mayor Sarno, Brown said, "We've had some rough patches with him over the past year, but in the end his willingness to squash privatization of the central maintenance garage, and his opponent's proposal to freeze city employees' wages, tipped the balance."

A list of the local unions’ other endorsements is below.

In other Springfield labor news, nurses are asking community supporters to attend a November 2 noon rally in Springfield to call on the state legislature to pass the Patient Safety Act (bill numbers H.3912 and S.890). The Act would improve hospital care by setting a safe limit on the number of patients assigned to each nurse.

The rally will be near the entrance to Mercy Hospital, 271 Carew Street, at Cass Street, in Springfield. Details are at www.ProtectMassPatients.org

According to a study by the federal labor department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics called “Union Members in 2008,” union membership raises workers' pay and narrows the income gap that disadvantages minorities and women.

White male union workers earn 23 percent more than nonunion white male workers.

The union advantage is bigger for women and people of color. Union women earn 32 percent more than nonunion women. African American union members earn 28 percent more than their nonunion counterparts. For Latino workers, the union advantage is 43 percent.

More information on unions in the Valley is at:
www.valleypost.org/node/134

The Pioneer Valley Central Labor Council www.pvun.com endorsements for the November 3 elections are:

Jason Ferreira for Holyoke City Councilor At-Large;

Tim Purington for Holyoke City Councilor Ward 4;

Norman Roldan for Springfield School Committee District 1;

Sirdeaner Walker for Springfield School Committee District 2;

Richard Cohen for Agawam Mayor;

Michael Bissonnette for Chicopee Mayor;

Justin Cobb for Easthampton City Councilor;

Jon Lumbra for Holyoke City Treasurer;

Aaron Vega for Holyoke City Councilor At-Large;

Kevin Jourdain for Holyoke City Councilor At-Large;

Patricia Devine for Holyoke City Councilor At-Large;

Peter Tallman for Holyoke City Councilor At-Large;

Rebecca Lisi for Holyoke City Councilor At-Large;

Rory Casey for Holyoke City Councilor At-Large;

Diosdado Lopez for Holyoke City Councilor Ward 2;

James Ferrera for Springfield City Councilor At-Large;

José Tosado for Springfield City Councilor At-Large;

Morris Jones for Springfield City Councilor At-Large;

Thomas Ashe for Springfield City Councilor At-Large;

Timothy Rooke for Springfield City Councilor At-Large;

Zaida Luna for Springfield City Councilor Ward 1;

Michael Fenton for Springfield City Councilor Ward 2;

E. Henry Twiggs for Springfield City Councilor Ward 4;

Michael Rodgers for Springfield City Councilor Ward 7;

Antonette Pepe for Springfield School Committee At-Large;

Denise Hurst for Springfield School Committee At-Large;

Christopher Collins for Springfield School Committee Member District 3; and

Peter Murphy for Springfield School Committee District 4.

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