Northampton Nurses Rally Is September 30

Nurses in Northampton will hold a rally against forced overtime at the hospital, September 30 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. The public is invited. “Cooley Dickinson continues to place its desire for profits ahead of its concern for patients and those who care for them,” said Sally Surgen, a nurse at Cooley Dickinson hospital.

“Our position on overtime benefits is not a financial issue, it is an issue of patient safety. Studies show that the use of overtime as a staffing tool is detrimental to patient care, leading to an increase in medical errors,” she said.

13 Arrested at Hartford McDonalds Strike

In Hartford, Connecticut, police arrested 13 people for non-violent civil disobedience at a protest at a McDonalds restaurant September 4. The workers were asking for their wages to be raised to $15 an hour. Hartford is about half an hour from Springfield, Massachusetts by car, Amtrak, or Greyhound.

Around the USA on September 4, thousands of fast food workers went on strike, and about 500 were arrested.

Photos: Seven Arrested at Springfield Rally

On August 22, police arrested seven people for non-violent civil disobedience in Springfield. They were protesting the decision by a bank that pays its CEO millions of dollars a year to force a low-income family out of their home. The protest was organized by www.SpringfieldNoOneLeaves.org.

To enlarge a photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "see full size image."

photos by Joe Oliverio

100 at Amherst Rally for Michael Brown

On August 16 in Amherst, more than 100 people attended a rally to call for accountability for the white policeman who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed, 18-year-old African American in Missouri one week earlier. Witnesses say Brown was standing with his hands raised above his head when Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed him.

The Amherst rally was organized by the Amherst chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The chapter has a web site with e-mail and postal mail addresses at:

Prison Population Soars; Activists Fight Back

The prison population in Massachusetts and Vermont has grown much faster than the population of those states in recent years, according to an investigation by The Valley Post. Between 2005 and 2014, the number of people in state prison in Massachusetts increased by 9 percent, while the state's population increased by less than half of 1 percent.

Between 2003 and 2013, the number of people in state prison in Vermont increased by 10 percent, while the state's population increased by 1 percent.

The New Hampshire prison population has remained relatively stable over the past decade.

Massachusetts Workers' Victory

On June 19, the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill that, if signed by governor Deval Patrick, will make the state's minimum wage higher than any other state's. If Patrick signs the bill, it will raise the state minimum wage to:

$9 an hour on January 1, 2015;

$10 an hour on January 1, 2016;

and $11 an hour on January 1, 2017.

“I think it’s a good solution,” Patrick told the Boston Globe, referring to the minimum wage bill.

Photo: Hundreds March for Higher Wages in Springfield

In Springfield on June 12, there was a march and rally for justice for poor workers. "From Wal-Mart employees to fast food workers, the momentum for change is reaching all corners of the workforce," said rally organizer Jon Weissman of the western Massachusetts chapter of www.jwj.org. About 250 people were at the event. photo by Jobs with Justice

Springfield Poor Workers' Rally Is June 12

In Springfield on June 12, there will be a rally for justice for poor workers. The rally will start at 4 p.m. and end at 6 p.m. "From Wal-Mart employees to fast food workers, the momentum for change is reaching all corners of the workforce," said rally organizer Jon Weissman of the western Massachusetts chapter of www.jwj.org. For more information, including the exact location of the rally, contact Weissman by phone at (413) 250-5267 or by e-mail: jon@wmjwj.org.

Photos: Workers Protest at Hadley Wal-Mart

On April 11 in Hadley, Massachusetts, near Northampton, dozens of people attended a protest at a Wal-Mart store. They met with the store's manager and told him to re-hire Lisa Lacroix, a worker he recently fired after five years on the job. The protesters believe she was fired for publicly asking Wal-Mart to pay its workers a livable wage.

Wal-Mart is owned by the richest family in the world, the billionaire Waltons. The Walton family pays workers at Wal-Mart factories among the lowest wages in the world. Wal-Mart workers in the U.S. make barely above minimum wage.

Victory for Grocery Workers

About 160 grocery workers in Brattleboro have a tentative first union contract. Within the next week, the workers at the Brattleboro Food Co-op will vote on whether to accept the contract. It was negotiated by a committee that was elected by the workers, and by management. “The contract includes raises and better benefits,” union official Jeff Jones told the Valley Post on April 9. The workers recently voted to join his union, which has a web site: www.ufcw1459.org.