Target Fights Its Workers' Union

Workers at the Target stores in Keene and in Hadley, Massachusetts, near Amherst, will likely be watching the outcome of a June 17 vote by workers at a Target store in Valley Stream, New York on whether to form a union.

In 2009, the most recent year for which data were available, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel was paid more than $13 million.

Tashawna Green has worked at the Target store in Valley Stream for more than a year. She makes $8 an hour.

“We need a living wage where we can get by,” Sonia Williams told the New York Times. She works late at night at the store.

Tragedy, Celebration for Bicycle Riders, Walkers

On May 20, a mini-van gravely injured a woman who was riding her bicycle in Granby at about 5:30 p.m. It was a “hit and run” crime. Police are trying to find the driver. Granby borders Amherst. A police spokesperson said that the impact sent the woman flying off her bicycle and into a telephone pole. The bicycle rider was taken by ambulance to a hospital. Police are asking anyone with information about the vehicle or its driver to the Granby Police at (413) 467-9222.

There is also good news for local bicycle riders and walkers.

Workers Rally in Amherst April 28

Janitors, cooks, and other workers will rally for justice, April 28 at noon in Amherst. The public is invited to attend. The state workers who are organizing the rally are paid low wages and have no job security. They work for the University of Massachusetts. The rally will be outside the student union building. There is a map at:

www.umass.edu/visitorsctr/Campus_Map

Parking on campus is easy but expensive. Details are at:

http://parking.umass.edu/index.php/home

In Amherst, Brattleboro: Protest War Taxes, Tax Evading Corporations

Taxes are due on April 18 this year. Activists in Amherst and Brattleboro plan to use the occasion to educate the public. About half the federal budget goes to war. The richest Americans and biggest corporations are able to avoid paying all or most of the money they owe the government.

Protesters will hand out a pie chart showing what the government does with the money that Americans pay in income taxes:

www.warresisters.org/sites/default/files/FY2012piechart-color.pdf

Workers' Rally Is March 2 in Amherst

Activists are asking the public to attend a rally in Amherst on March 2 to show their solidarity with government workers in Wisconsin. Tens of thousands of workers have been rallying at the Wisconsin state capitol in recent days to protest anti-union legislation proposed by that state’s governor. Similar legislation is pending in several other states. Experts say the trend will likely affect workers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Events Will Help People Get State Money for Home Energy Efficiency

A group of people in Springfield is helping Valley residents get state money to make their homes more energy efficient. The group, the Alliance to Develop Power, is hosting free, public evening meetings in: Amherst January 19, Easthampton January 20, Northampton January 26, and Greenfield February 2.

People at the meetings will learn how to sign up for a free energy assessment, get money for weatherization and other energy efficiency services, said Boone Shear of the Alliance.

The meeting will be in:

-Amherst, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., Bangs Community Center, 70 Boltwood Walk;

81 Acres Near Amherst Saved From Development

The Kestrel Trust recently saved an 81 parcel of land in Pelham, near Amherst, from development. The land, at 339 Amherst Road, includes farm fields and 65 acres of forest and wetlands. Funding came from the town of Amherst, which gets some of its drinking water from the land, and the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The property is adjacent to nearly 2,000 acres of permanently protected open space.

Amy Ray in Amherst Nov. 17

Amy Ray and Emily Saliers founded the the Grammy Award-winning band the Indigo Girls. The first few seconds of Ray's latest CD, Didn't It Feel Kinder, are taken up by her voice alone. Throughout the album, Ray's voice is direct, unsentimental and free of irony.

This record sounds more like the Indigo Girls than Ray's first three solo recordings, which were more punk. The best song on the new CD is "Cold Shoulder," a celebratory rocker: "See that girl over there, she's gonna give me the cold shoulder/ she may be straight tonight, but last night she let me hold her."

Photo: Climate Activists Camp on Amherst Town Common

Dozens of activists spent the night in tents on the Amherst town common June 23 - 24 to call for action on global warming. The event was organized by The Leadership Campaign www.TheLeadershipCampaign.org photo by Mino Caulton

Amherst Prof. Cites Model Victories for Valley Workers

Dale Melcher runs the “labor extension” program at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. The program helps unions. She told MassLaborNews.com on May 4 about two groups that could be an inspiration to workers throughout Massachusetts. The first group is Community Labor United (CLU) in Boston.