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:


Workers Unite in the Valley

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.

Holyoke Workers Unite

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.”

Workers' Victories

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.

Rally at Springfield Congressional Office Is Feb. 18

On February 18 in Springfield, there will be a noon rally against a bill in Congress that would lower American workers' wages and result in more pollution around the world, organizers say. The rally will be at Congressman Richard Neal’s office at 300 State Street. The legislation, known as “fast track” would allow the government to make so-called “free trade” deals more easily. Unions prefer trade agreements that include protections for workers here, in China, and elsewhere, and that include environmental protections.

Editorial: People Power Can Create Jobs

Vermont Yankee will lay off hundreds of high wage workers in the coming months. But reducing the workweek from 40 to 32 hours and subsidizing local apparel and shoe factories would create more jobs than the nuclear reactor ever did. Vermont Yankee is near Brattleboro, Greenfield, and Keene.

Northampton Nurses Rally Is September 30

Nurses in Northampton will hold a rally against forced overtime at the hospital, September 30 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. The public is invited. “Cooley Dickinson continues to place its desire for profits ahead of its concern for patients and those who care for them,” said Sally Surgen, a nurse at Cooley Dickinson hospital.

“Our position on overtime benefits is not a financial issue, it is an issue of patient safety. Studies show that the use of overtime as a staffing tool is detrimental to patient care, leading to an increase in medical errors,” she said.

13 Arrested at Hartford McDonalds Strike

In Hartford, Connecticut, police arrested 13 people for non-violent civil disobedience at a protest at a McDonalds restaurant September 4. The workers were asking for their wages to be raised to $15 an hour. Hartford is about half an hour from Springfield, Massachusetts by car, Amtrak, or Greyhound.

Around the USA on September 4, thousands of fast food workers went on strike, and about 500 were arrested.

Photo: Hundreds March for Higher Wages in Springfield

In Springfield on June 12, there was a march and rally for justice for poor workers. "From Wal-Mart employees to fast food workers, the momentum for change is reaching all corners of the workforce," said rally organizer Jon Weissman of the western Massachusetts chapter of www.jwj.org. About 250 people were at the event. photo by Jobs with Justice

Jobs with Justice

Organizers are looking for volunteers to gather signatures on a petition that would allow Massachusetts voters to decide in November if the state's minimum wage should go up to $10.50 an hour. Now it's $8 an hour. Under a law passed this year, the minimum wage for workers in Washington, DC will be $11.50 an hour starting in 2016. The minimum wage in Washington state is now $9.32 an hour.

In Vermont, where the minimum wage is now $8.60 an hour, the legislature this month passed a bill that will set the minimum wage at:

$9.15 starting January 1, 2015;

$9.60 starting January 1, 2016;