Dozens of people attended a rally in Northampton on April 9 to protest President Trump's military attack on Syria. Sabine Merz spoke at the rally. "The way to help Syria is to open our borders to them," she told the Valley Post. The event was outside city hall. It was organized by the American Friends Service Committee of Western Massachusetts www.afscwm.org.
Activists fighting for a $15 an hour minimum wage are offering carpool rides from the Valley to a rally in Boston on November 29. The minimum wage is now $10 an hour in Massachusetts, $9.60 in Vermont, and $7.25 in New Hampshire.
The Massachusetts minimum wage will be $11 starting January 1, 2017. Vermont's minimum wage will be $10 starting January 1, 2017 and $10.50 starting January 1, 2018. In New Hampshire, no increases are scheduled.
One out of every four Americans has a "net worth" of zero or less, meaning their debts are bigger than their assets. Stephen Schwarzman lives in New York. His personal income was $811 million last year. He is the CEO of Blackstone Corporation, which owns Motel 6.
One way to spread the wealth is to raise taxes on billionaires and use the money to provide affordable housing for poor people. Another is for workers to form unions, and for the public to support the unions when they need help.
About 3,300 nurses will go on strike June 27 in Boston. They are asking the public to join them at a rally on June 26 at 4 p.m., and on the picket lines starting June 27 at 7 a.m. Buses from Springfield to Boston leave every two hours and take about an hour and 40 minutes. One-way fares start at $16. Details are at www.greyhound.com. From the Boston bus station to the rally takes about 12 minutes by subway; to the picket line is about 30 minutes by subway. The fare is $2.10.
On May 1 at the Holyoke mall, activists held a rally against sweatshops. Most clothing that people wear in the USA is made by workers in poor nations who in many cases are abused by their bosses. "Our action was in solidarity with Bangladeshi garment workers," Liana Foxvog told the Valley Post. She organized the rally. She works in Northampton for a group that has a web site at www.LaborRights.org.
A Walmart store less than a mile from Brattleboro has been vacant since 2009. The enormous store and its acres of parking lots were built in Hinsdale, New Hampshire on acres of land that were once pristine wilderness. The Brattleboro Home Depot and its acres of parking lots have been vacant since 2008. It was built on acres of prime farmland.
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:
Workers at Keene State College are organizing a union. In related news, on June 30 in Boston, health care workers from around Massachusetts held a rally at the statehouse to celebrate a major victory.
Workers at a high school in Holyoke are organizing a union. “We have more than a dozen members out of about 35 workers,” Sofia Lemons told the Valley Post on May 14. She is a math teacher at the school. “More workers are signing up every day.” The union includes teachers and cafeteria and office workers at the school.
Shaitia Spruell works as a teaching assistant at the school. “We need a union to protect us,” she told the Valley Post on May 14. “I am proud to be part of the union.”
Hundreds of workers in the Valley will be getting raises and a new union contract. On February 19, leaders of two unions that represent around 1,700 land-line telephone and internet workers in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine said they had reached an agreement for a new contract with Fairpoint Corporation. The workers have been on strike since October.