Workers Unite

Twenty-five workers formed a union in the town of Monson, Massachusetts, about four miles from Springfield. They drive school buses for a multinational corporation. “A worker needs to have a union,” Clifford Nurse told the Valley Post. He lives in Springfield and drives for the same company, First Student. “I work for a giant corporation. I can't fight them by myself. With the union, I can. First Student has tried to fire drivers because their bus got rear-ended.”

The below photo from his Facebook page shows Nurse.

The workers have a web site at www.ufcw1459.com. Patrick Burke works for the union. “It was a big win,” he told the Valley Post. “The workers want a voice and fair treatment.”

Workers who join a union in the USA make an average of 27 percent higher wages. That's according to www.bls.gov.

Non-union workers can be fired at any time for no reason. Most union contracts say that workers can only be fired for a good reason. If the boss and the worker disagree, a neutral third party decides.

Millions of workers in the USA are union members, including all the workers at UPS and Stop & Shop.

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.

The Monson workers formed a union in May 2018. Until now, no news outlet has reported the news.

In other labor news, on October 30, 2018 in Brattleboro, about 565 workers won a new union contract. They voted overwhelmingly in favor of the contract. They work at the Brattleboro Retreat mental hospital. “It's a one-year contract. We got a lot of good stuff seeded into it. It will grow into something better for the next one,” Daniel Watson told the Valley Post. His job title at the Retreat is mental health worker. He has worked there for five years and is co-president of the union at the Retreat. The workers have a web site at www.unap.org.

In other news from the Valley, in Keene on October 31 at 4:30 p.m. there will be a rally calling on politicians to deal with climate change. The rally will be at Central Square. Details are at:

www.facebook.com/events/557293774717942

In other news from the Valley, a group that has a web site at www.massjwj.net is organizing people to go door-to-door in Springfield, Holyoke, and Northampton to urge people to vote yes on Question 1. The public is welcome to help. The nurses at the Greenfield hospital are asking people to vote yes. More information about Question 1 is at www.SafePatientLimits.org.

In other news from the Valley, an article on the front page of the October 30 edition of the daily newspaper in Brattleboro wrongly said that multiple environmental groups were supporting a plan to sell a nuclear waste dump that's in Vermont, three miles from Massachusetts, and a stone's throw from New Hampshire. In fact, in hearings before regulators, one group, the New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution, supported the plan and a much bigger group, Conservation Law Foundation, opposed it. State regulators will decide soon whether to approve the plan. Experts say the dump will cost more than $1 billion to clean up. Taxpayers will likely pay much of the cost.

In other Vermont news, the state's Republican governor frequently uses the word "unsustainable" to describe the fact that the state's population went down by 0.2 percent between 2010 and last year. Globally, overpopulation is the number one cause of climate change. John Seager runs a group that has a web site at www.PopulationConnection.org. In a phone interview, Seager told the Valley Post, “To make Vermont's economy strong, the workforce needs to be healthy and well-educated, and employers need to offer flexible schedules to everyone, including older workers. Those things are way more important than a slight change in population.”

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