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.

Labor Rallies Will Be in Northampton, Springfield

There will be rallies to support workplace justice in Northampton and Springfield. The Northampton rally will be on December 2 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. The Springfield rallies are on November 28 and 29 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.

Springfield Labor Rally Is Nov. 10

On November 10 at 5 p.m., workers will rally in Springfield to protest a company that violated laws protecting workers’ right to form a union. The public is invited. A union election will be conducted by mail starting November 14. Ballots will be counted on November 30, said Ivette Hernandez, one of the workers who will vote on whether to join the Service Employees union Local 509.

Local Post Office Workers Fight Back

On September 27 at 4 p.m. there will be two rallies to save the jobs of post office workers. The rallies will be at Congressman Richard Neal’s office at 300 State Street in Springfield, and at Congressman John Olver’s office at 57 Suffolk Street in Holyoke. The rallies will last 90 minutes.

The organizers of the rallies are asking the public to contact their members of Congress in support of House Bill 1351.

More information is available at www.SaveAmericasPostalService.org or by calling Michael Harazmus, president of the Letter Carriers Union in the Valley, at (413) 737-0640.

Striking Verizon Workers Seek Public's Help

Hundreds of telephone and internet workers in the Valley went on strike on August 7. They work for Verizon Corporation. In 2010, Verizon's CEO, Ivan Seidenberg, was paid more than $18 million. The median Verizon worker made $33,190 last year. So Seidenberg made 547 times the median worker's pay. The workers are asking the public for support. Details are available at these web sites:

www.ibew.org

www.cwa-union.org

www.jwj.org

www.AmericanRightsAtWork.org

www.LaborNotes.org

The Valley Post will update this article as more information becomes available.