Workers Unite

How can democracy exist in a nation shared by millions of workers making minimum wage and billionaires? History shows an effective way to spread the wealth is for workers to join unions. Earlier this month, workers in Brattleboro had a victory, and workers in the Springfield area held rallies.

On January 20 in Springfield, Chicopee, Westfield and West Springfield, there were rallies outside Price Rite stores that are paying workers low wages while the chain's owner gets rich.  The rallies were organized by the local chapter of a union-backed group that has a web site at www.jwj.org.

Valley Activism Heats Up

Between December 2 and December 7, four rallies are planned in the Valley. Two are to protest billion dollar banks that are trying to evict poor people from their homes. One rally is to win justice for Verizon workers. Another is to call on politicians to deal with climate change.

On December 2 at 12:30 p.m. at 28 Edgemont Street in Springfield, activists will protest PNC Bank, which wants to evict Jacques and Marie Fortilus from their home. Event organizers have a web site at www.SpringfieldNoOneLeaves.org. They have had a number of recent victories. Details, and photos, are at:

Photos: Halloween March to Stop Pipeline

These photos were taken on October 31 in Keene. They show a march against a proposed fracked gas pipeline. The proposal comes from Texas-based Kinder Morgan Corporation. The pipeline would be near Keene and Greenfield. It would carry gas that is mined using a process called “fracking,” which poisons drinking water. Fracked gas is a fossil fuel. It causes climate change, which the world's leading scientists say is a major threat to earth's ability to support human life.

Photos: March to Stop Pipeline

These photos were taken on August 29 in Keene. They show a march against a proposed fracked gas pipeline. The proposal comes from Texas-based Kinder Morgan Corporation. The pipeline would be near Keene and Greenfield. It would carry gas that is mined using a process called “fracking,” which poisons drinking water. Fracked gas is a fossil fuel. It causes climate change, which the world's leading scientists say is a major threat to earth's ability to support human life.

Land Trust on Verge of Saving Farmland

Almost all the money needed to save 57 acres of farmland from development has been raised by a local land trust. The land is in New Hampshire, less than a mile from Massachusetts and Vermont. “We have raised a little over $250,000,” David Kotker told the Valley Post on August 20. “We still need to raise about $4,000.” Kotker works for the Mount Grace land trust, which has a web site at www.MountGrace.org.

Bike-Ped Victories

In mid-July, a new pedestrian and bicycle path will open in Keene, Kurt Blomquist told the Valley Post on June 23. He runs the city's Public Works department. A local group of volunteers successfully lobbied for the trail. Chuck Redfern is a member of the group. “The trail will reach Stonewall Farm from downtown Keene,” Redfern told the Valley Post last year. The group's web site is www.PathwaysForKeene.org. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the path. The project will cost $132,000.

Towns Vote to Fight Pipeline

Four New Hampshire towns near Keene are opposing plans to build a fracked gas pipeline through their towns. The towns border Massachusetts. At annual town meeting day votes on March 10 and March 11, residents of Fitzwilliam, Rindge, Troy and Winchester voted to direct their towns' select boards to lobby state and federal regulators to fight the proposal by Texas-based Kinder Morgan Corporation. The pipeline would carry gas that is mined using a process called “fracking,” which poisons drinking water.

50 Mile March

On January 21, dozens of people from Keene completed a 50 mile march to the New Hampshire statehouse to call for campaign finance reform. Hundreds of people marched from other towns around the state and met at the statehouse for a rally. The marchers left Keene on January 17. The march was organized by www.NHrebellion.org.

1,700 Workers Strike

Telephone and internet workers are on strike. They are asking the public to join their picket lines in Brattleboro and Keene. More than 1,700 workers at Fairpoint Corporation are on strike in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The company is the monopoly provider of landline telephone and DSL internet in those states.

Fairpoint is based in North Carolina. It wants to cut wages for workers it hires in the future by 40 percent.

Workers Strike

On August 4, striking workers held a rally outside the Market Basket grocery store about two miles from Keene in Swanzey, New Hampshire. About 10,000 people attended a rally for the striking Market Basket workers near Boston on August 5. Market Basket has about 25,000 workers at its grocery stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.