Brattleboro Grocery Workers Are Forming a Union

Workers at the Brattleboro Food Co-op are organizing a union. There are more than 160 workers at the store. The workers were set to ask the co-op’s board of directors to recognize the union at the board’s evening meeting on September 10.

“I support the union,” Hannah Aleshnick told the Valley Post. She works at the co-op. “Most of my co-workers support the union,” she said.

The workers joined the United Food and Commercial Workers union Local 1459 www.ufcw1459.com.

Vermont Probably Sent Wrong Person to Jail for 18 Years

On August 22, a judge ordered a man released from prison in Springfield, Vermont, near Brattleboro, after 18 years in prison for a murder that he probably did not commit. The murder happened in 1994 in Dover, Vermont, which is also near Brattleboro.

John Grega was released on $75,000 bail pending a new trial based on DNA evidence that was not considered in the original trial. He is 50 years old. The date for the new trial has not yet been decided. Grega’s lawyer is Ian Carleton of Burlington, Vermont.

Nurses Rally

In Greenfield, dozens of nurses and their supporters held a rally outside Baystate Franklin Medical Center hospital August 9. “Baystate is proposing language that would eliminate our right to negotiate over health insurance and wages,” said Donna Stern. She’s a nurse at the hospital, and a member of the Massachusetts Nurses Association union.

The workers formed a union www.MassNurses.org more than 30 years ago. They have had the union ever since. Currently, 209 nurses work at the hospital in Greenfield.

Greenfield Workers Ask Public For Help

Two members of the board of directors of the co-operative that owns grocery stores in Greenfield and Shelburne Falls are working to reverse a July 25 vote by the board to recognize a newly formed union of the approximately 75 workers at the stores. That’s according to Rick Brown. He’s president of the Pioneer Valley AFL-CIO, a group of unions that represents thousands of local workers. Brown’s group has a web site at www.pvun.com.

Grocery Workers in Greenfield and Shelburne Falls Form a Union

About 75 workers at two grocery stores in Greenfield and nearby Shelburne Falls have formed a union. “Many of us haven’t had a raise in more than three years,” John Cevasco told the Valley Post. He’s been a stock clerk at Green Fields Market for more than 14 years. “If you don’t have a union, you can easily get fired. Having a union will give the staff more of a say in how the store is run,” he said.

Springfield Eviction Protests Are July 30, July 31

On July 30 and July 31 in Springfield, there will be protests against corporate banks outside the homes of two families who are facing eviction. Both actions are at 7 p.m. The rallies are being organized by the group that organized a protest in Springfield at Bank of America in November. Hundreds of people attended the protest; 15 were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience. Photos are at:

www.ValleyPost.org/2011/11/21/15-activists-arrested-springfield

Private Prison May Be Built in NH Near Brattleboro

A private corporation in Tennessee wants to erect a prison in Hinsdale, New Hampshire that would lock about 1,600 people in cages. Hinsdale borders Brattleboro and the Massachusetts town of Northfield. The company, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and other private prison corporations, lobby for harsher drug laws so more people will be sent to prison for possession of marijuana, prostitution, and other “crimes.”

Five People In Seven Years Killed by Police in Keene Area

On April 17, one or more Keene police officers shot and killed Julio Angel DeJesus in Keene. On April 19, a professor of Criminal Justice at Keene State College told the Valley Post he expected a decision by April 21 from New Hampshire attorney general Michael Delaney on whether the shooting was justified. On May 4, a spokesman for Delaney told the Valley Post that Delaney would make a decision "in the next few weeks." The spokesman is Jeff Strelzin. His title is chief of the homicide unit at the state Department of Justice, which Delaney runs.

Student Debt Protest Is April 25 in Amherst

At the Amherst Town Common on April 25 from 4:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. there will be a protest against student debt. "Whether you have graduated and are paying off loans, a parent of a student paying off loans, a current student, or a prospective student, student loans are a reality that all will have to face," said event organizer and Hampshire College student Aislinn Bauer. In 2010, the average college senior who got a student loan owed $25,250. In 2008, more than two-thirds of students who graduated from four-year colleges and universities had student loan debt.

Northampton Grocery Workers Form Union

Workers at the food co-op in Northampton organized a union. The 85 workers at River Valley Market organized in February. The Valley Post is the first news outlet to cover the workers’ victory, said Gabriel Quaglia. He's a cook at the co-op. He prepares food for the store’s café and take-out and catering departments. “It wasn’t hard to get our co-workers to organize,” Quaglia told the Post. He is one of seven workers who will soon negotiate the workers’ first union contract.