Springfield Labor Rally Is Nov. 10

On November 10 at 5 p.m., workers will rally in Springfield to protest a company that violated laws protecting workers’ right to form a union. The public is invited. A union election will be conducted by mail starting November 14. Ballots will be counted on November 30, said Ivette Hernandez, one of the workers who will vote on whether to join the Service Employees union Local 509.

Occupy Wall Street Rallies in Valley

Some 700 peaceful protesters were arrested in recent days in New York City. The Occupy Wall Street protesters’ web site says, “We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we're working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.” The protesters' web site is:

www.OccupyWallSt.org

Local Rallies for Public Transit, Peace, Justice

On September 17, 19, 20, and 21, there will be rallies in Springfield and Northampton calling for better public transportation, for peace, and for justice. On September 20 in Springfield, a 90 minute rally will start at 11 a.m. at the corner of Main Street and Liberty streets. The rally will oppose a plan now in Congress to cut 35 percent of federal funding for public transportation. Details are at www.SupportTransit.org

Springfield Eviction Protests are August 29 and September 2

Bank of America paid its CEO, Brian Moynihan, more than $1.9 million last year. Now, in Springfield, Bank of America is trying to evict a low-income family from the family’s only home. On August 29 at 12:30 p.m., activists will rally in front of the Jimenez family home at 91 Granada Terrace. The Jimenez family is asking the public to attend the rally, which is being organized by a group called Springfield No One Leaves www.SpringfieldNoOneLeaves.org

Photos of a protest in May in Springfield that was organized by the same group are at:

Striking Verizon Workers Seek Public's Help

Hundreds of telephone and internet workers in the Valley went on strike on August 7. They work for Verizon Corporation. In 2010, Verizon's CEO, Ivan Seidenberg, was paid more than $18 million. The median Verizon worker made $33,190 last year. So Seidenberg made 547 times the median worker's pay. The workers are asking the public for support. Details are available at these web sites:

www.ibew.org

www.cwa-union.org

www.jwj.org

www.AmericanRightsAtWork.org

www.LaborNotes.org

The Valley Post will update this article as more information becomes available.

UMass Amherst, A Major Valley Employer, Is Run In Secret

The University of Massachusetts campus in Amherst, with 26,000 students, more than 900 professors, and thousands of other workers, is one of the biggest employers in the Valley. Workers at UMass belong to several unions. Since UMass workers work for the state, it's illegal for them to go on strike. So they lobby the governor, state legislature, and the UMass board of trustees for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. The trustees are appointed by the governor.

In Northampton, 175 Protest for Workers' Rights

On June 23, about 175 public school workers and their supporters attended a rally outside a meeting of the Northampton school board. They were protesting a decision by the board – also called the “school committee” -- to not raise the workers’ wages next year. Several of the workers spoke to the board to oppose the move, which amounts to a pay cut for the workers, when inflation is taken into account.

Target Fights Its Workers' Union

Workers at the Target stores in Keene and in Hadley, Massachusetts, near Amherst, will likely be watching the outcome of a June 17 vote by workers at a Target store in Valley Stream, New York on whether to form a union.

In 2009, the most recent year for which data were available, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel was paid more than $13 million.

Tashawna Green has worked at the Target store in Valley Stream for more than a year. She makes $8 an hour.

“We need a living wage where we can get by,” Sonia Williams told the New York Times. She works late at night at the store.

Local Workers Seek Public's Help in Contract Fight

Workers at a state-funded agency in Holyoke are asking the public to help them win a fair contract. "Our bosses want to take away some of our co-workers' health insurance," said April Elias. She works as a "parent aide" at the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. The union contract covers Elias and about 100 other workers at the Society's office in Holyoke.

The workers have elected a small group of their colleagues to negotiate a new contract. The negotiators met with management on June 1. The current three-year contract will expire on June 30.

Tragedy, Celebration for Bicycle Riders, Walkers

On May 20, a mini-van gravely injured a woman who was riding her bicycle in Granby at about 5:30 p.m. It was a “hit and run” crime. Police are trying to find the driver. Granby borders Amherst. A police spokesperson said that the impact sent the woman flying off her bicycle and into a telephone pole. The bicycle rider was taken by ambulance to a hospital. Police are asking anyone with information about the vehicle or its driver to the Granby Police at (413) 467-9222.

There is also good news for local bicycle riders and walkers.