Greenfield Nurses Will Strike

On February 10, the 209 nurses who work at the Greenfield hospital will go on strike. The strike was approved by a vote of the nurses. “One day last week I had to work until 10 p.m. I start at 7 a.m.,” Linda Judd told the Valley Post in October. She is a nurse at the hospital. “They don't let you leave until you finish all your paperwork.”

Dozens Protest McDonald's

McDonald's pays its CEO about $9 million a year while its workers make at or around minimum wage. In Northampton and Keene on December 5, dozens of people protested outside McDonald's. In Keene more than 40 people attended the rally. Many of the protesters held signs saying “Super Size Wages” and “$15 an hour.” The protests were organized by Jobs With Justice www.jwj.org and other groups. JWJ is funded by unions.

Northampton Nurses to Rally

Nurses are asking the public to attend a rally for justice in Northampton on November 30 from 10 a.m. until noon. The nurses work for the ServiceNet Corporation. They take care of patients in the patients´ homes. In 2011, the nurses voted to form a union. Since then they have met with the company´s representatives repeatedly but the company has refused to sign a union contract. Between 15 and 20 nurses would be covered by the contract.

Brattleboro Unions Fighting, Winning

About 800 workers at a mental hospital in Brattleboro will benefit from a new union contract. About 160 workers at a grocery store in Brattleboro have been negotiating their union contract. “Negotiations recently broke down. We're getting ready to make some noise,” Joe Crompton told the Valley Post. He has worked as a meat cutter at the Brattleboro Food Co-op for 25 years.

Crompton is running for a seat on the co-op board. Ballots are available now. The deadline to vote is 5 p.m. on November 17.

209 Greenfield Nurses Give Their Elected Leaders Power to Call a Strike

The 209 nurses at the Greenfield hospital voted October 15 to authorize a strike. That means their elected representatives in the union have the power to call a strike. The nurses went on strike last year (see photo, below).

Immigrant Rights Rally Is September 21

Bliss Requa-Trautz is a community organizer in Springfield with Jobs With Justice. “I am reaching out to the community to join us at a rally September 21 at noon at All Souls Church at 449 Plainfield Street in Springfield,” she said. “We will call on legislators and local politicians to support The Safe Driving Act and the Trust Act.” More information about those immigrant rights bills is at:

https://malegislature.gov/Bills/BillHtml/127602?generalCourtId=11

and

https://malegislature.gov/Bills/188/Senate/S1135

Workers, Northampton Food Co-op Settle First Contract

About 85 workers at the food co-op in Northampton organized a union last year. Recently they signed their first union contract with the manager of the River Valley Market. That's according to John Cevasco, a long-time employee of the food co-op in nearby Greenfield and member of the same union that the Northampton co-op workers joined. The union has a web site: www.ufcw1459.com. The Valley Post will request interviews with workers at the Northampton store via the union, and will update this article if and when the interviews happen.

7,000 Vermont Workers to Vote on Union

About 7,000 workers in Vermont will vote on whether to form a union. The so-called “homecare” workers take care of patients who are too sick or too elderly to take care of themselves. They work in the patients’ homes, rather than at nursing homes or other institutions. They are paid by the government. The workers will vote by mail between September 9 and 27.

Northampton City Council Picks a Fight With Firefighters

The Northampton city council is refusing to approve a union contract for the city’s firefighters. The contract has the support of the mayor and a state mediator. The firefighters are asking the public to contact the city council and urge them to approve the contract. The public is invited to learn more at a rally on August 5 from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Florence Civic Center, 90 Park Street in Florence, Massachusetts. Details are at www.NorthamptonFirefighters.org.

New Group Aims to Reduce Vermont Prison Population

Suzi Wizowaty, an elected member of the Vermont legislature, recently started an organization whose primary mission is to reduce the number of people in the state’s prisons. “We’re trying to create a movement,” she told the Valley Post on July 25. The new group’s web site is www.VermontersForCriminalJusticeReform.org.

More than 10 percent of the people in Vermont prisons are African American. Just 1 percent of people in Vermont are black.