On May 14, a work day, at 8:30 a.m., dozens of people in Springfield showed up at a rally and stopped a multi-billion dollar bank from evicting a low-income family. Organizers say the bank may try again to evict Julianne Proulx, Christopher Turner, and their two-year-old daughter Natalie from their home at 48 Donbray Road. Organizers are asking people to sign up for e-mail alerts at their web site www.SpringfieldNoOneLeaves.org and be ready to attend future rallies if necessary.
A group in Springfield that has had success blocking plans by billion-dollar banks that wanted to evict poor people from their homes is planning non-violent civil disobedience in the city on April 7. The action will be at 8:30 a.m. at 48 Donbray Road, outside the home of Julie Proulx, Chris Turner, and their two-year old daughter Natalie, all of whom are facing eviction. More information is at the group's web site: www.SpringfieldNoOneLeaves.org.
The same group has had several victories. An article, with a photo, about one of these victories is at:
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.
On August 4 at 8:30 a.m. in Springfield, activists will risk arrest for non-violent civil disobedience. Their goal is to stop a bank that pays its CEO millions of dollars a year from evicting a low-income family from their home on Rochelle Street. Dozens of homes in Springfield whose poor owners were evicted by rich banks have remained vacant and abandoned for years. The August 4 protest is being organized by a group that has organized civil disobedience in Springfield before. Photos of one of these events where 15 people were arrested are at:
Last year, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf was paid more than $19 million. He is planning to evict Diane and Ray Perkins of Springfield from their home at 45 Wilton Street. Dozens of people protested against Wells Fargo in front of the Perkins's home on April 28. In recent years, bank CEOs have been getting rich as they forced dozens of poor people in Springfield out of their homes.
In 2005, Rob Hackley, a worker at a Pepsi factory in Florida, was burned so seriously that doctors had to perform surgery on him twice. He barely survived. The federal agency charged with workplace safety, OSHA, investigated. OSHA's report concluded that Hackley's injuries had been preventable if Pepsi had given him proper safety equipment, and that his bosses had told workers to “throw safety out the window and get the work done.” The bosses showed “deliberate, voluntary and intentional disregard to employee safety.” But OSHA gave Pepsi only a minimal fine.
Springfield's first bicycle lane opened October 26. A day earlier in Keene, a $15 million, energy efficient, affordable housing project opened. It was built by www.kha.org. Riding a bicycle rather than driving, reduces global warming, acid rain, and smog. Living in multi-family housing, rather than a one-family house, saves farmland and forestland, and makes using public transit a viable alternative to owning a car.
In a victory for poor people and the environment, activists got a group of local governments in the Valley to reverse its plan to raise the local bus fare. The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) wanted to hike the fare from $1.25 to $1.50. About 370 people attended public hearings about the scheme. The vast majority spoke out against the fare boost. At the most recent hearing, on June 27 in Springfield, city resident Aunush Dawidjan led the audience in a chant: “Tax Mercedes,” she said. “Not old ladies,” the people replied. Mercedes Corporation makes cars for rich people.
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.
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 www.afscme.org local 1725. They will get 1.3 percent annual raises.