Valley Activists Work to Raise Minimum Wage

People in the Valley are working to raise the Massachusetts minimum wage to $15 an hour. They are gathering signatures on a petition. If they get enough signatures, the question will get on the ballot, so every U.S. citizen over age 18 who lives in the state can vote on it, unless they are in prison for a felony. The activists have a web site at www.RaiseUpMA.org. The site says they have the support of the state's biggest unions.

Photo: Greenfield Nurses on Strike

About 200 nurses in Greenfield are on strike. This photo was taken on June 26 outside the hospital where they work. In the photo, people are listening to a nurse speaking. The nurses are asking the public to support them as they fight for justice. They have a web site at www.MassNurses.org. More information is at www.valleypost.org/node/1289. One of the signs in the photo reads, "Stop corporate greed." To enlarge the photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "see full size image." photo by Eesha Williams

Photo: Northampton 'Dump Trump' March

This photo was taken on June 3 in Northampton. It shows hundreds of people marching, led by Debby Pastrich-Klemer (in blue shoes) and three other people. Pastrich-Klemer organized the march, which was sponsored by a group that has a web site at www.IndivisibleNoho.com. The most common signs at the march seemed to be the ones that said, "Dump Trump!" More information about the march is at:

www.valleypost.org/node/1303

To enlarge the below photo, click on it, then scroll down and click “see full size image.” photo by Eesha Williams

March for Truth About Trump

On June 3 in Northampton, there will be a march calling on President Trump to release his tax returns, and demanding that Congress investigate collusion between Russia and Trump to help him get elected.

“It is part of a nation-wide march demanding the truth,” Debby Pastrich-Klemer told the Valley Post. She is organizing the Northampton march. It will start at 11 a.m. at 2 Parsons Street. Fifty people had RSVP'd on Facebook as of May 31. More information is at:

www.facebook.com/events/406338116417417

Workers Unite

Workers at a factory in Greenfield are asking the public to join them on the picket line on May 11 at 2 p.m. “What the company is trying to impose is going to hurt people,” Shawn Coates told the Valley Post. He has worked at the factory for 28 years. The workers have a union, which has a web site at www.UEunion.org. The workers make taps – not the kind used to turn water on and off, but the kind used to make a threaded hole in metal, or in other material. The factory is owned by Pennsylvania-based Kennametal Corporation, whose CEO makes more than $1 million a year.

Photos: Keene Climate March

Hundreds of people marched through downtown Keene on April 29 chanting, "Hey hey, ho ho, climate change has got to go!" Bigger marches for the same cause happened in Springfield; Washington, DC; and in towns and cities around the world. Details, including the organizers' contact information, are at:

www.valleypost.org/node/1283

To enlarge a photo, click on it, then scroll down and click, "See full size image." photos by Eesha Williams

Protesting Trump's Policies

On January 27, there was a rally for immigrant rights outside Springfield city hall. “It was wonderful. Five hundred people came, according to the police,” Rose Bookbinder told the Valley Post. She works for the group that organized the rally. The group's web site is www.pvWorkersCenter.org.

Workers Win

Billionaires have been getting richer in recent years, as the middle class has gotten smaller, and the ranks of the poor have swelled. But workers in Greenfield are reversing that trend. “We won a good union contract,” John Cevasco told the Valley Post on December 10. He has worked at a grocery store, Green Fields Market, for more than 16 years. About 75 workers at the store, and at a smaller subsidiary in nearby Shelburne Falls, formed a union in 2012.

Justice for Puerto Rico Rally is Sept. 16 in Springfield

A rally calling on President Obama to release from prison Oscar López Rivera will be in Springfield on September 16 at 4:45 p.m. The rally will be outside city hall, at 36 Court Street.

United States senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said earlier this year, “Oscar López Rivera has served 34 years in prison for his commitment to Puerto Rico’s independence. I say to President Obama: let him out.” Rivera is 73 years old.

Workers Unite

With Labor Day right around the corner, the Valley Post spoke with a worker at a Springfield-based union for an update. Grocery workers are negotiating their first union contract at Wild Oats Market in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Matt Szulborski told the Valley Post in a telephone interview on August 12. He works for United Food and Commercial Workers union Local 1459. In February, the 42 workers at Wild Oats joined the union, which has a web site at www.ufcw1459.com.