Workers Unite

On March 10 in Chicopee, Massachusetts hundreds of Stop and Shop workers came to a union meeting and voted unanimously to give their elected union leaders the power to call a strike. Chicopee borders Springfield and Holyoke. Low wages are one of the main reasons workers voted yes. Stop and Shop is owned by a corporation based in Holland that has about 370,000 employees, including about 2,000 in western Massachusetts. Stop and Shop workers in the Pioneer Valley have a web site at www.ufcw1459.com.

Activists Work to Make Roads Safe for Walkers

On March 2 at about 8:45 a.m. in West Springfield, Massachusetts a driver of a car drove into a pedestrian, killing the pedestrian. “This is at least the eleventh pedestrian who has been hit and killed by a driver in Massachusetts already this year,” Brendan Kearney told the Valley Post. He works for a group that has a web site at https://walkboston.org. Despite the group's name, Walk Boston works statewide. “We need to reduce illegal speeding to help prevent and/or reduce the severity of these crashes, and a way to do that is through road design,” Kearney said.

Local News Round-up

About 130 tutors who are employed by the Keene public school system are planning a rally to demand justice. They may even go on strike, even though that is illegal. “We currently have 128 tutors with 14 positions still not filled for this school year,” Kathy Twombly told the Valley Post on January 19. She is a tutor in Keene and she is president of the tutors' union. Twombly's union is part of a bigger union that has a web site at www.nea.org.

She wrote a powerful essay explaining the tutors' demands. The full essay is at:

www.facebook.com/kathy.twombly.3/posts/10157120253007948

350 Acres Saved

On December 28 a land trust announced it had saved 50 acres of land in Harrisville, New Hampshire. Harrisville is about two miles from Keene.  The land trust has a web site at www.HarrisCenter.org.

On December 18, a land trust that has a web site at www.MonadnockConservancy.org announced it had saved 300 acres of land in Dublin, New Hampshire. Dublin is also about two miles from Keene.

The USA is losing about 6,000 acres of open space every day.

Civil Disobedience Planned Near Greenfield

People seeking to stop logging of an 88 acre, publicly-owned forest of 110-year-old trees near Greenfield are asking the public to attend a training on how to use non-violent civil disobedience. "We strongly oppose logging the oak stand in Wendell State Forest," Michael Kellett told the Valley Post on December 15, 2018.

New Urban Park in Amherst

Thanks to the work of environmental activists, downtown Amherst is getting a new urban park. On December 3, Kestrel Land Trust announced the six acre park will be on East Pleasant Street, across from the University of Massachusetts. Urban parks "are not only safe and beautiful, but also serve as green engines to help address nearly every critical urban need from health to housing, to education and environmental justice, and countering sprawl to combating crime." That's according to:

www.cityparksalliance.org/why-urban-parks-matter

Wins for Workers and the Environment

About 80 workers at the Hampshire Gazette and Valley Advocate newspapers are forming a union. The out-of-state corporate chain that owns both papers is fighting the workers. The workers are asking the public to attend a rally on November 27 at 11 a.m. at 115 Conz Street in Northampton. The workers are also asking people to sign a petition at:

www.massjwj.net/news/2018/11/19/stand-with-the-workers-at-the-daily-hamp...

Local Woman Arrested for Civil Disobedience

A local woman was among a group of 51 people arrested in Washington, DC for non-violent civil disobedience. "Our demands to Nancy Pelosi were sign on to the Green New Deal and sign a 'no fossil fuel money' pledge," Keene resident Katie Carbonara told the Valley Post in a phone interview. "It went really well."

Pelosi is the Democrats' top leader in Congress. The Green New Deal says:

(1) 100% of national power generation from renewable sources;

(2) Building a national, energy-efficient, “smart” grid;

Hundreds at Rallies: Tax the Rich, Stop Climate Change

President Trump wants to cut taxes for billionaires, and help fossil fuel companies make climate change worse. In the Valley on November 8 and November 10, hundreds of people attended rallies calling on politicians to fight Trump's agenda. Raising taxes on billionaires would make it possible for the government to cut taxes for everyone else, improve Amtrak, and help poor people in Africa, among other possibilities.

Workers Unite

Twenty-five workers formed a union in the town of Monson, Massachusetts, about four miles from Springfield. They drive school buses for a multinational corporation. “A worker needs to have a union,” Clifford Nurse told the Valley Post. He lives in Springfield and drives for the same company, First Student. “I work for a giant corporation. I can't fight them by myself. With the union, I can. First Student has tried to fire drivers because their bus got rear-ended.”

The below photo from his Facebook page shows Nurse.