Springfield Labor Rally Is Nov. 10

On November 10 at 5 p.m., workers will rally in Springfield to protest a company that violated laws protecting workers’ right to form a union. The public is invited. A union election will be conducted by mail starting November 14. Ballots will be counted on November 30, said Ivette Hernandez, one of the workers who will vote on whether to join the Service Employees union Local 509.

Last year, workers at Mental Health Association (MHA) Corporation in Springfield said they wanted to form a union. The company told employees they would not get annual bonuses if they voted for the union. That was illegal, according to the National Labor Relations Board, which ordered a new election.

Employers routinely break the law and fire workers for supporting a union, according to Cornell University labor studies professor Kate Bronfenbrenner. More information on union busting – and efforts to strengthen laws against it -- is at www.AmericanRightsAtWork.org

[11/10/11 UPDATE: The rally and the election have been cancelled, according to an unsigned e-mail from www.seiu509.org The e-mail said, "MHA employees have told us that they are tired of the campaign and that they want to give their CEO and the board of directors a chance to make change, and we respect that choice.")

The rally will start at 5 p.m. outside the corporation's office at 175 State Street. At 6 p.m. it will move to city hall (36 Court Street) where city officials will hold a public hearing on workers' right to organize.

More information on the rally is available at www.seiu509.org and by calling the union organizer Peter Witzler at 202-257-4952.

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