Teachers Rally

On May 20, public school teachers held a rally calling for the majority of the members of the local school board to resign. The rally was in Northfield, Massachusetts. The Connecticut river flows through Northfield. The town is on the Vermont border. “We like one of the committee members, the other dozen or so should resign,” Ariel LaReau told the Valley Post in a telephone interview on the day of the rally. She is a teacher and president of the teachers union.

Local News Roundup

About 200 nurses are planning to go on strike at the Greenfield hospital April 11, more than 3,000 people marched in the Valley for gun control, and 71 acres of farmland were permanently protected from development.

Workers Unite

In a win for workers' rights, 43 workers at Trinity Health Corporation in the Massachusetts towns of West Springfield and Westfield formed a union. West Springfield borders Springfield; Westfield borders West Springfield. “Mandatory overtime, wages, and security were the big issues,” Chris Mangano told the Valley Post in a telephone interview on March 19. She has been a nurse at Trinity in the Springfield area for 22 years. “In terms of security, we want a security person to accompany us when we go to patients’ homes. Our patients are all ages.

Keene Activists Fight Fracking

In Keene, activists marched to stop a proposed fracked gas pipeline. They won last year when the pipeline was canceled. Now the activists are fighting a plan by the corporation that holds the city monopoly for gas used for heating buildings to switch from propane to fracked gas. Both are fossil fuels that cause climate change. “But fracked gas is full of chemicals that are even worse for people's health,” Terry Clark told the Valley Post in a telephone interview on November 25, 2017. He is a member of the Keene city council.

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.

Freedom March Planned

No nation keeps such a high percentage of its people in prison as the USA. Europe's rate is a third of ours. In Vermont, 10 percent of prisoners are African American. Just 1 percent of Vermonters are black. In Brattleboro on September 27 there will be a freedom march. The goal is to get politicians to reduce the prison population. The march starts at 5 p.m. at Pliny Park.

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

Greenfield Nurses to Rally

The 200 or so nurses at the Greenfield hospital are asking the public to support them by attending a rally outside the hospital on April 27 from 4 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. The hospital is at 164 High Street. “Nurses will join with the community on April 27 to show (hospital owner) Baystate we are united for safe patient care,” said Donna Stern, a nurse at the hospital. “Nurses are being pushed beyond our ability to safely care for our patients. If we have too many patients at one time, how can we provide high-quality care?

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.

Fight for $15 Minimum Wage

Activists fighting for a $15 an hour minimum wage are offering carpool rides from the Valley to a rally in Boston on November 29. The minimum wage is now $10 an hour in Massachusetts, $9.60 in Vermont, and $7.25 in New Hampshire.

The Massachusetts minimum wage will be $11 starting January 1, 2017. Vermont's minimum wage will be $10 starting January 1, 2017 and $10.50 starting January 1, 2018. In New Hampshire, no increases are scheduled.