March for Jobs is Sept. 15 in Springfield

There will be a march in Springfield at 4 p.m. on September 15 calling on Congress to raise taxes on the rich to create jobs for unemployed people. The jobs would include work building better trains and train tracks, making homes and other building more energy efficient, and installing solar panels and windmills.

Organizers are asking the public to meet at 1550 Main Street at 3:45 p.m. Putting the millions of jobless Americans to work would raise wages for workers who already have jobs because employers would be forced to compete for skilled workers.

Northampton Nursing Home Workers Ask Public to Rally July 19

On July 19 at 2:30 p.m., Northampton nursing home workers will hold a rally for justice. The workers are asking the public to attend. The rally will be at 737 Bridge Road. Directions are at www.maps.google.com

In Valley, a Crisis in Care for Mental Illness

Recent budget decisions by the governors and state legislators in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont have caused a crisis here in the Valley for people with mental illness who don’t have good health insurance. That’s according to Paul Gorman. He’s president of the New Hampshire chapter of a national group, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Gorman is also director of the Dartmouth College Psychiatric Research Center www.dartmouth.edu He spoke with the Valley Post on July 13.

Washington Judge: Valley Protesters Innocent

Four Valley residents were found not guilty of “unlawful assembly” in a Washington, DC court room on June 16. They were arrested with 21 other people for protesting torture at the U.S. capitol building in January.

Judge Russell Canan freed the arrested protesters.

The non-violent protest was organized by the group Witness Against Torture www.witnesstorture.org

Uprising by Vermont Prisoners

Some three dozen Vermonters were on “lock down” at a private prison in Tennessee on May 14 for non-violent civil disobedience on May 12. A prison official refused to tell the Associated Press when the prisoners would be allowed to make phone calls and have their other rights restored, for example, the right to exercise outside their cells. Guards used a "non-lethal grenade" to force the prisoners into their cells.

For Massachusetts Workers, Consumers Boycott Shaw's

On May 8, workers stood outside a Shaw's supermarket near Brattleboro and asked people not to shop at Shaw's until a strike is settled. Many customers said they would do what the workers asked. Some 300 workers at a Shaw's warehouse near Boston have been on strike for weeks. Shaw's is using the Keene-based C&S corporation to scab. C&S has warehouses in Brattleboro and near Northampton. The May 8 action, and recent pickets at the C&S warehouses in the Valley, were organized by the Massachusetts and Vermont chapters of www.jwj.org

Two Victories for Union Workers in Greenfield

Gael Wakefield is a public transit bus driver in Greenfield. In 2008, she was elected president of Local 274 of the UE union. She still serves as president, while also working as a bus driver. The UE’s web site is www.UEunion.org

On May 5, Wakefield sat down with Eesha Williams of MassLaborNews.com to talk about her union.

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.

Police Will Not Penalize Driver Who Hit Pedestrian in Keene

On April 25, a 19-year-old woman, Brittney Frank, was crossing Main Street in Keene in a crosswalk when a car hit her. She was taken to Dartmouth Hitchcock hospital in Keene, where she was treated for a leg injury. Police spokesman Steven LaMears told the Keene Sentinel newspaper that police would not file any charges or traffic citations against the driver who hit the pedestrian.

Grocery Warehouse Strikers Speak Out

More than 300 workers at a Shaw’s grocery warehouse in Methuen, Massachusetts, near Boston, have been on strike since March 7. There is a Shaw's store in Keene. “The company tried to make us pay more for health care,” said Evin Ramirez. He has worked for more than 11 years inside the giant, windowless warehouse, where temperatures range between 25 and 35 degrees Fahrenheit.