Workers Unite

With Labor Day right around the corner, the Valley Post spoke with a worker at a Springfield-based union for an update. Grocery workers are negotiating their first union contract at Wild Oats Market in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Matt Szulborski told the Valley Post in a telephone interview on August 12. He works for United Food and Commercial Workers union Local 1459. In February, the 42 workers at Wild Oats joined the union, which has a web site at www.ufcw1459.com.

Rallies July 21

The environmental group 350.org is promoting rallies on July 21 in Keene and near Springfield, in Hartford, Connecticut. The Keene rally starts at 6 p.m.; the Hartford rally is at noon. Hartford is about 30 minutes from Springfield by car; Amtrak and Greyhound provide non-stop service.

“If elected, Trump would be the only national leader in the world to outright dismiss the science of climate change,” said event organizer May Boeve.

The Keene rally is at 44 Central Square. The Hartford event will be at 31 Pratt Street.

39,000 Workers Strike

Workers in the Valley walked off the job April 13 as they joined the biggest strike in the USA in five years. They work for Verizon and are asking the public to join them on picket lines. Some 39,000 striking workers are demanding a fair union contract. The company's CEO Lowell McAdam makes $18 million a year. But McAdam is refusing to give the workers job security or a good retirement, and wants them to pay more for health care. He wants to be able to force workers to work so far from their homes that they need to live in hotels for months at a time.

Springfield Rally at Congressman's Office March 30

In Springfield on March 30 at 3 p.m., there will be a rally at the office of congressman Richard Neal. The rally organizers want Neal to commit to voting against the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If passed, the Partnership would reduce workers' wages in the Valley; would make dictators richer in Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei; would hurt farmers in the Valley by increasing the amount of food imported into the USA from Mexico; and would speed up climate change. That's according to www.citizen.org/tpp.

Local News Roundup

On March 7 at 1:30 p.m. in Springfield activists will hold a rally to stop a bank that wants to evict a low-income family from its home while the bank's CEO makes millions of dollars a year. The rally will be at 139 Maebeth Street. Details are available from rally organizers, who have a web site at www.SpringfieldNoOneLeaves.org. They have had a number of recent victories. Details, and photos, are at:

www.valleypost.org/node/1101

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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:

Rallies Soon

Rallies for the environment and equality are planned. On October 15 in Springfield, there will be a 4 p.m. rally outside a Price Rite store that is paying its workers low wages while the chain's owner gets rich. On October 18 in Plainfield, Massachusetts, near Northampton, there will be a noon rally against a proposed fracked gas pipeline. Fracked gas causes climate change.

There is a Facebook event page for the Springfield event, which will be at 633 Boston Road:

www.facebook.com/events/1623745281223305

Climate Rally

On September 24 in Springfield, there will be a rally against climate change and air pollution. The rally starts at 11:30 a.m. at city hall. It will last for one hour. As of September 23, more than 130 people had RSVP'd on the event's Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/events/1646776905563353

“It looks like we're going to have a great turnout,” organizer Michaelann Bewsee told the Valley Post on September 23. More information about the rally is available by calling Arise for Social Justice (www.AriseSpringfield.org) at (413) 734-4948.

Photos: March Against Mass Incarceration

About 200 people marched against mass incarceration September 19 in Springfield. These photos were taken at the march. The march was organized by the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which has a web site at www.naacp.org. The march ended at city hall. The march was also about police misconduct, poverty, and other issues. The marchers chanted:

No justice?

No peace!

No racist

Police!

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Whose city?

Our city!

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I can't breathe

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