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.

1,700 at Springfield Rally for Justice

There were rallies for justice in Springfield on March 31 and April 2. About 1,700 people attended the March 31 rally, which was the bigger of the two. The bigger rally was to support Trayvon Martin, and to protest racist police. There were similar protests around the nation. Martin was an unarmed African American teenager who was shot and killed in Florida in February by George Zimmerman. The government has failed to charge Zimmerman with any crime; he is free.

Springfield Rally to Tax the Rich Is March 19

On March 19, activists will rally on the steps of Springfield city hall at 5:30 p.m. to support raising taxes on the rich to help the poor. The event is being organized by the Springfield Coalition of the Campaign for Our Communities to support a resolution that's before the city council. The resolution is sponsored by city council member Michael Fenton. It urges governor Deval Patrick and the state legislature to support the “Act to Invest in Our Communities.” The Act would raise taxes on the rich to help the poor.

Bank Protest In Springfield Will Be On March 6

On March 6 at 6:30 p.m. in Springfield, there will be a protest against a multi-billion dollar corporation that is trying to force a poor family out of the family’s home. The protest will be in front of the DeCaro family home at 152 Lucerne Road.

Freddie Mac corporation is a mortgage bank in Virginia. It wants to evict the DeCaros. Freddie Mac’s C.E.O. is Charles Haldeman. He was paid about $6 million last year. American taxpayers gave the company tens of billions of dollars in recent years.

Vermont Imprisons African Americans at High Rate

More than 10 percent of the people in Vermont prisons are African American. Just 1 percent of people in Vermont are black. Curtiss Reed is director of the Brattleboro-based Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity That's a statewide group that fights
racism and has full-time employees. On February 22, he told the Valley Post, "Last week I testified to the (Vermont) House Judiciary Committee on behalf of H. 535." That House bill would pay for a study to try to find out why black people are so much more likely to be imprisoned in Vermont.

Springfield Nurses Rally Is February 28

Nurses are asking the public to join them at a rally for justice in Springfield on February 28 at 9:30 a.m. “We want the community to understand that we are very serious about retaining our union rights,” said Donna Stern. She’s a nurse at Baystate Franklin Medical Center. “Those rights are key to providing nurses the ability to advocate for better working conditions and safer patient care.”

The union rally will coincide with a corporate PR event. Baystate Health System Corporation will unveil its new $252 million hospital in Springfield.

Road, Sewer Workers Win; School Crossing Guards Organize

Workers at the Amherst Department of Public Works voted last week to sign a two year contract with the town. They maintain Amherst’s sewer and drinking water systems, run the garbage dump and recycling center, fix the town’s roads and traffic lights, and take care of the parks and trees. They belong to the AFSCME union local 1725. They will get 1.3 percent annual raises.

Vehicles Kill Pedestrian, Seriously Injure Another, in Keene, Brattleboro

One of the best ways to prevent climate change, and to prevent some of the thousands of deaths that are caused annually by lung cancer caused by smog from cars and trucks, is to travel by walking or riding a bicycle. These modes of travel also reduce obesity. Obesity causes health problems that cost American taxpayers billions of dollars annually.

Labor Rallies Will Be in Northampton, Springfield

There will be rallies to support workplace justice in Northampton and Springfield. The Northampton rally will be on December 2 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. The Springfield rallies are on November 28 and 29 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.