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.

Women Running for Top Jobs

In the Valley, activists are working to elect women to positions of power. On August 9, the Vermont primary election will decide if a woman, Sue Minter, will be on the November ballot for governor. She now leads in the polls. Massachusetts has never elected a female governor. Since George Washington took office in 1789, the USA has never had a woman president.

Money is power. The 10 richest people in the world are all white men. Women earn 79 percent as much as men in the USA.

Free Buses to Rally for $15 an Hour

Activists in the Valley are inviting the public to join them on free buses to a rally for a $15 an hour minimum wage. The February 6 rally will be in Manchester, New Hampshire outside a Republican presidential debate. The buses will leave from Chicopee (near Springfield) at 2:15 p.m., Northampton at 3 p.m., and Amherst at 3:30 p.m. People will be traveling from all over New England for the rally. Manchester is about an hour from Keene by car.

Spread the Wealth

Activists are fighting for equality. In Keene, workers organized a union. In Northampton, workers are forming a union, and a grassroots group that last year made the Massachusetts minimum wage the nation's highest is now working to raise taxes on the rich.

March for Campaign Finance Reform is July 18

On July 18, near Keene, there will be a march for campaign finance reform. The march starts at 9:30 a.m. Members of Congress take millions of dollars from rich people to pay for TV commercials for the politicians' election campaigns. Most of these rich “donors” want something in return. If they have employees they often want to prevent increases in the minimum wage (the richest family in the world, the Waltons, own Wal-Mart).

Activists Take to the Streets

In Vernon, Vermont, a nuclear waste dump sits three miles from Massachusetts and a stone's throw from New Hampshire. An accident at the facility could kill thousands of people and leave an area the size of New England permanently uninhabitable. The dump is owned and operated by the Louisiana-based Entergy Corporation.

Editorial: People Power Can Create Jobs

Vermont Yankee will lay off hundreds of high wage workers in the coming months. But reducing the workweek from 40 to 32 hours and subsidizing local apparel and shoe factories would create more jobs than the nuclear reactor ever did. Vermont Yankee is near Brattleboro, Greenfield, and Keene.

Vermont Yankee Closes

In a victory of people power over corporate power, the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor closed permanently on December 29. The facility is three miles from Massachusetts and a stone's throw from New Hampshire. It's owned by Entergy Corporation of Louisiana.

The closure came after years of protests by thousands of people in the Valley. Hundreds were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience. Thousands attended marches and rallies, spoke out at public hearings, and went door-to-door to educate their neighbors about the dangers of nuclear power.

Voting is Underway in Brattleboro

Brattleboro is in Windham county, where a state senate seat is up for grabs. No Republicans are running, so whoever wins the August 26 Democratic primary will almost certainly win the general election in November. Four candidates are running for two spots. One of the candidates, senator Jeanette White, is running for re-election. Her voting record has won praise from www.vpirg.org and the Vermont AFL-CIO.

Entergy Wants to End Nuke Emergency Alert System

The owner of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant wants to end the system of sirens, free “tone alert radios” for people within 10 miles of the reactor, and automated phone calls in case of a nuclear emergency. Vermont Yankee is three miles from Massachusetts and a stone's throw from New Hampshire. Thanks to a protest movement in the Brattleboro area that saw thousands march and hundreds arrested for non-violent, civil disobedience, the 42-year-old reactor will close permanently in December. It's owned by Entergy Corporation of Louisiana.