Peace Action Is August 21-22 Near Springfield

A group of Valley residents is planning to rally for peace at a display of military might by the U.S. Air Force in Westfield, Massachusetts on August 21 and 22. The public is welcome to join the peace action. Westfield is near Springfield.

"We will be reminding people at the air show that these planes are weapons of mass destruction," said peace activist Daniel Sicken of Dummerston, Vermont, near Brattleboro. He plans to take part in the peace protest.

Out of an annual federal government budget of about $2,900,000,000,000 about half goes to war. Details are at:

Noon Rally to Save Democracy is August 10 in Springfield

On August 10 at noon, there will be a rally in Springfield to support a law that would help reduce the control that corporations have over politicians. The Fair Elections Now Act was introduced in the U.S. senate by senators Dick Durbin and Arlen Specter, and in the House by congressmen John Larson and Walter Jones, Jr. The bill would allow federal candidates to run for office without relying on big "donations" (also known as "bribes") from corporate lobbyists. The bill is supported by www.greenpeace.org and some of the nation's biggest labor unions, including www.afscme.org

In Valley, a Crisis in Care for Mental Illness

Recent budget decisions by the governors and state legislators in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont have caused a crisis here in the Valley for people with mental illness who don’t have good health insurance. That’s according to Paul Gorman. He’s president of the New Hampshire chapter of a national group, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Gorman is also director of the Dartmouth College Psychiatric Research Center www.dartmouth.edu He spoke with the Valley Post on July 13.

Local Postal Workers Fight to Keep Their Jobs

Joe Gonzales has worked for the U.S. Postal Service in Springfield, Massachusetts for more than nine years. (This is not his real name; the Postal Service has tried to fire workers who criticized it.) Now he’s afraid he will lose his job. “As it is, I live with my sister,” he said. “If I lost my job, I’m not sure I’d be able to feed and clothe myself.”

March 31 Noon Rallies at Bank of America: 'Jobs Now!'

On March 31 at noon, union activists around the Valley will hold rallies asking people to boycott Bank of America. They say the bank has done little to reduce the state’s unemployment rate despite receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer money last year. The bank paid its CEO in 2008 some $9.9 million.

According to Jon Weissman, spokesman for Jobs with Justice www.jwj.org the activists will be at Bank of America branches in: Springfield at the corner of Main Street and Boland Way; Northampton at 144 Main Street; Amherst at 1 South Pleasant Street; and Greenfield at 208 Federal Street.

Two Springfield Labor Rallies Set for Feb. 26

Sodexo food service workers are asking the public to attend a rally for justice on February 26 at 1 p.m. at 1295 State Street in Springfield. The workers plan to speak at the rally about "poverty wage jobs at multi-national corporation Sodexo," said Sodexo worker Noemi Nunez.

Sodexo provides food service, janitorial, and laundry services. It has about 120,000 employees in North America. Sodexo's 2009 profits were up 8 percent from the year before to more than $1 billion.

Photo: Springfield Janitors Fight for Justice

Janitors in Springfield and community supporters on February 18 visited management at the MassMutual Center to ask the company to recognize the janitors' union. Managers refused to meet with the workers, but accepted a letter. The company has not yet responded to the workers' request.

"We will continue the fight until we get justice," said Jesse Martin of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 615.

Springfield Janitors' Rally Is Feb. 18

Janitors in Springfield are asking the public to attend a rally for justice on February 18 at 2:30 p.m. at the corner of Main and Court streets in Springfield. The rally had been planned for February 16 but was postponed due to a snow storm. Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 615 – the Justice for Janitors campaign – has organized a majority of the employees of Global Spectrum Corporation at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. The MassMutual Center is owned by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.

Vermont Yankee Leaking Nuclear Waste Into Connecticut River

The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is leaking cancer-causing tritium, a form of nuclear waste, into the Connecticut River, a spokesperson for the Vermont Department of Health said on February 9. The river, a popular swimming and fishing area in summer, flows south from Vermont through Greenfield, Northampton, Holyoke, and Springfield. Vermont Yankee is three miles from Massachusetts and a stone's throw from New Hampshire.

Springfield Grocery Workers' Protest Is Feb. 1

Thousands of grocery workers throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut -- members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local Unions 1445, 328, 371, 1459, and 919 -- are bargaining with their employer, Stop & Shop, for a fair contract. Their current contract expires on February 20.

“Stop & Shop is taking an adversarial and confrontational position by placing advertisements in local newspapers, announcing that they are hiring temporary replacement workers,” said Rick Brown of UFCW Local 1459 in Springfield.