Workers Win

In a victory for workers in Amherst, hundreds of people will get to keep their jobs. The workers used rallies and a petition to beat back their boss's layoff plans. They work at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The workers are union members. They have a web site at www.MassTeacher.org. The victory came on September 15.

By going on strike, workers created the middle class in the 1930s. As the percentage of workers who had a union grew, equality increased. That's according to:

www.epi.org/blog/union-decline-rising-inequality-charts

Taking it to the Streets

About 250 people attended a Black Lives Matter rally in Putney, Vermont on July 22. Putney is about 10 minutes from Brattleboro by car. Vermont has the nation's most racist prison system, which may help explain why it is one of the whitest states. Vermont sends prisoners to a private prison in Mississippi.

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16 More Protesters Arrested

Sixteen people were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience between August 22 and August 27 at Wendell Massachusetts State Forest near Greenfield, bringing the total number of arrests to 25 since August 6. The goal was to stop planned logging of 80 acres of 110 year old oak trees on publicly owned land.

The USA is losing 6,000 acres of open space to development every day. Stopping logging on publicly owned land forces logging companies to buy their own land. If the loggers want to grow new trees after logging, the land can't be paved.

Local News Round-up

In Springfield, pedestrian rights activists had a win May 30 when construction started on a $4 million project. “It's hard to imagine an intersection that is less friendly to pedestrians,” Stacey Beuttell told the Valley Post on June 3. She works for Walk Boston, a group that, despite its name, works statewide to make walking safer. Beuttell said the Springfield project is a victory. The intersection that will be fixed is at the corner of Alden, Walnut, Hancock, and Ashley streets. The mayor says it will be done by the end of next year.

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Workers Win

Hundreds of Stop and Shop workers in the Pioneer Valley went on strike and won. The strike started on April 11. On April 22, the strikers went back to work, victorious. One of the main reasons for the strike was low wages. The workers have a web site at www.ufcw1459.com.

Rally: Tax the Rich

On April 11 at 7 a.m., a bus will leave Springfield to bring people to a rally in Boston to call for raising taxes on rich people to help poor people and the environment. The bus will leave from 1381 Liberty Street. The Fair Share amendment is a proposal to amend the Massachusetts constitution. It would create a tax of an extra 4 percent on the part of a person’s annual income above $1 million. The new revenue, approximately $2 billion a year, would be spent on public schools, public colleges and universities, and public transportation, among other things.

Wins for Nature

On March 23 Brattleboro's annual budget for fighting climate change went from $10,000 to $100,000. Brattleboro is home to about 11,000 people. Once a year the town holds a meeting where 155 elected representatives can overrule anything the select board does. The select board is the equivalent of a city council. Brattleboro doesn't have a mayor.

Hundreds March

On March 15 in Springfield about 50 people attended a rally calling on politicians to pass stronger gun control laws. The first photo, below, shows the rally. James Debney is CEO of gun maker Smith & Wesson, which is based in Springfield. The photo is by Liz Steinhauser. To enlarge the photo, click on it, then scroll down and click “see full size image.” The two groups that organized the rally have web sites at www.bPeaceForJorge.net and www.PioneerValleyProject.org.

Peace Action; 3,560 Acres Saved

On February 12 at 1 p.m. there will be a peace march and rally in Amherst. The event will start with a rally outside the main entrance to the Campus Center building at the University of Massachusetts.

Almost half of this year's entire federal budget of about $3 trillion is being spent on war. That’s according to:

www.WarResisters.org/FederalPieChart

With 4 percent of the world's population, the USA spends at much on the military as the rest of the world combined.

350 Acres Saved

On December 28 a land trust announced it had saved 50 acres of land in Harrisville, New Hampshire. Harrisville is about two miles from Keene.  The land trust has a web site at www.HarrisCenter.org.

On December 18, a land trust that has a web site at www.MonadnockConservancy.org announced it had saved 300 acres of land in Dublin, New Hampshire. Dublin is also about two miles from Keene.

The USA is losing about 6,000 acres of open space every day.