Brattleboro Grocery Workers Are Forming a Union

Workers at the Brattleboro Food Co-op are organizing a union. There are more than 160 workers at the store. The workers were set to ask the co-op’s board of directors to recognize the union at the board’s evening meeting on September 10.

“I support the union,” Hannah Aleshnick told the Valley Post. She works at the co-op. “Most of my co-workers support the union,” she said.

The workers joined the United Food and Commercial Workers union Local 1459 www.ufcw1459.com.

Nurses Rally

In Greenfield, dozens of nurses and their supporters held a rally outside Baystate Franklin Medical Center hospital August 9. “Baystate is proposing language that would eliminate our right to negotiate over health insurance and wages,” said Donna Stern. She’s a nurse at the hospital, and a member of the Massachusetts Nurses Association union.

The workers formed a union www.MassNurses.org more than 30 years ago. They have had the union ever since. Currently, 209 nurses work at the hospital in Greenfield.

Greenfield Workers Ask Public For Help

Two members of the board of directors of the co-operative that owns grocery stores in Greenfield and Shelburne Falls are working to reverse a July 25 vote by the board to recognize a newly formed union of the approximately 75 workers at the stores. That’s according to Rick Brown. He’s president of the Pioneer Valley AFL-CIO, a group of unions that represents thousands of local workers. Brown’s group has a web site at www.pvun.com.

Grocery Workers in Greenfield and Shelburne Falls Form a Union

About 75 workers at two grocery stores in Greenfield and nearby Shelburne Falls have formed a union. “Many of us haven’t had a raise in more than three years,” John Cevasco told the Valley Post. He’s been a stock clerk at Green Fields Market for more than 14 years. “If you don’t have a union, you can easily get fired. Having a union will give the staff more of a say in how the store is run,” he said.

Workers Will Rally for Justice in Springfield and Hadley

In the Valley, hundreds of workers at Verizon are negotiating a union contract with the phone, cable TV, and internet company. While paying its CEO millions of dollars annually, Verizon says it can’t afford to continue paying workers’ pensions. There will be protests in West Springfield, Springfield, and Hadley, near Northampton, on June 16, June 22, and June 30. The public is invited.

Last year, Verizon, which is based in New York City, paid its top five executives about $66 million. That’s according to:

http://cwa-union.org/sites/cwaunion/index.php/verigreedy

Bills to Address Bullying by Bosses

Bullying by bosses leads some workers to commit acts of violence, and causes stress-related health problems in many more workers. Massachusetts is poised to become the first state in the nation to pass a law against workplace bullying. Vermont is likely to pass similar legislation next year. Legislation in New Hampshire is stalled.

Massachusetts Minimum Wage Could Go Up This Summer

A bill to raise the minimum wage in Massachusetts passed a key legislative committee vote last month. The only legislator from the Valley listed as a supporter on the bill’s web page is Representative Ellen Story of Amherst. She told the Valley Post on May 8 that the bill is unlikely to become law this year. “Hopefully next year,” she said. But the bill’s author, Senator Marc Pacheco of Taunton (near Cape Cod) told the Valley Post on May 9 that the bill could pass this year. July 31 is the deadline for any bill to become law this year.

Northampton Grocery Workers Form Union

Workers at the food co-op in Northampton organized a union. The 85 workers at River Valley Market organized in February. The Valley Post is the first news outlet to cover the workers’ victory, said Gabriel Quaglia. He's a cook at the co-op. He prepares food for the store’s café and take-out and catering departments. “It wasn’t hard to get our co-workers to organize,” Quaglia told the Post. He is one of seven workers who will soon negotiate the workers’ first union contract.

Springfield Nurses Rally Is February 28

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.

Road, Sewer Workers Win; School Crossing Guards Organize

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.