Nurses Win

About 130 nurses in Westfield, Massachusetts voted to approve a new union contract. Westfield borders Holyoke. The nurses work at Noble hospital.

“We are proud of this agreement and what it will mean for our quality of patient care,” said Pam Fournier, one of the nurses. “By standing together, we were able to successfully negotiate a fair contract that values the patient care nurses provide and respects our contribution to the hospital.”

Paul Dubin is also a nurse at the Westfield hospital. “This shows what we can accomplish when hospital administrators agree to sit down and negotiate with union nurses,” he said. The vote was on November 27. The Westfield nurses have a web site at www.MassNurses.org.

On average, workers in the USA make 27 percent higher wages when they join a union. That's according to www.bls.gov. Most union contracts say workers can only be fired for "just cause." Non-union workers can be fired at any time for no reason.

Millions of workers in the USA are union members, including all the
workers at UPS, UMass Amherst, the Brattleboro Retreat (900 or so workers), and the food co-ops in Northampton, Greenfield, and Brattleboro. The Brattleboro co-op has about 160 employees.

The middle class in the USA is disappearing. There are more rich people and more poor people than there have been since the 1920s. This allows billionaires more influence over politicians. Unions are one way to expand the middle class and increase democracy.

In other news from the Valley, in Hadley, Massachusetts on December 7 from 3:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m., there will be a rally for net neutrality outside the Verizon store at 360 Russell Street. Hadley borders Amherst and Northampton. Details are at:

www.facebook.com/events/1971118813169838

and

www.FreePress.net.

In other news from the Valley, on January 20 in Northampton there will be a Women's March at 11 a.m. As of December 6, more than 180 people had RSVP'd. The event is being organized by the same people who organized the January 2017 Women's March. That drew about 3,000 people to Northampton and 3,000 to a sister march in Greenfield. Photos are at:

http://valleypost.org/node/1265

The march organizers' partners included Planned Parenthood, the AFL-CIO, and 350.org.

More information about the 2018 Northampton march is at www.facebook.com/events/200256233873115.

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