UMass Activists Meet June 6

The 2,500 or so grad student employees at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst do more teaching and research than the 1,000 or so professors there. The grad students are paid about $12,000 per year for 20 hours a week of work. The professors make around $100,000 per year for 40 hours of work per week.

UMass Amherst is one of the biggest employers in the Valley. The wages it pays its workers affect the region's economy, and influence wages other local employers pay, according to UMass Amherst economist and labor studies professor Stephanie Luce.

A complex economy: Bellows Falls businesses see varied consequences

In an address to Congress on February 24, President Barack Obama stated, “You don’t need to hear another list of statistics to know our economy is in crisis, because you live it everyday. It’s the worry you wake up with, and the source of sleepless nights.”

Collapse Leaves Parts of Downtown Keene Without Water

A major water main broke at around 3 a.m. on May 8 in downtown Keene leaving residents with no water or low water pressure. Water and Sewer Superintendent Joseph W. Tonweber told the Keene Sentinel that the collapse “blew a big hole in the street." The crater reached from a sidewalk fence to the middle of the road, he said.

Steve Chase lives in Keene, where he is director of Antioch University’s program in Environmental Advocacy.

1,000 at Vermont Rally: 'Healthcare Is a Right'

Sheila Linton of Brattleboro spoke at a "Healthcare Is a Human Right" rally at the Vermont statehouse on May 1. The event was organized by the Vermont Workers Center. The U.S. is the only rich nation that does not provide universal health care. More information on the rally is at www.workerscenter.org photos by Eesha Williams

Pro-Big Box Greenfield Mayor Voted Out

A major goal of Greenfield Mayor Christine Forgey has been to build a Wal-Mart or a similar “big box” store on an area of open land that’s too far from downtown to easily reach on foot. On April 21, in a primary election, Forgey was voted out of office. In June, voters will choose from two candidates for mayor.

“I was glad the mayor was voted out,” said John Ward, co-owner of the Solar Store www.GreenfieldSolarStore.com on Fiske Avenue in downtown Greenfield. “Open space doesn’t have to be paved just because it’s open space.”

Workers Unite

About 30 years ago, the middle class in the United States was the biggest it’s ever been. Today, the U.S. is looking more like a country in Europe in the 1600s: thousands of rich people, and almost everyone else living in varying degrees of poverty. Why does that matter? Well, if you ask Derek Dobiecki, a worker at the Cingular Wireless store in the Holyoke Mall, the answer is "leanin'." "They took away our chairs," he told me in a 2006 interview. "If it's busy, with a lot of customers, you don’t really notice. But when it's slow, you're just leanin' for like eight hours."

Workers Unite

About 30 years ago, the middle class in the United States was the biggest it’s ever been. Today, the U.S. is looking more like a country in Europe in the 1600s: a king, a handful of rich people around him, and almost everyone else living in varying degrees of poverty. Why does that matter? Well, if you ask Derek Dobiecki, a worker at the Cingular Wireless store in the Holyoke Mall, the answer is, leanin.’