Workers Unite

On June 26 in Brattleboro more than 100 workers at a mental hospital attended a rally. They are protesting mandatory forced overtime, unfair scheduling policies, and other issues. They work at the Brattleboro Retreat and are members of a union. They have a web site at:

www.unap.org/about/contact-us-2

About 900 people work at the Retreat, about 600 of them are members of the union.

The below photo shows the rally. To enlarge the photo, click on it, then scroll down and click “see full-size image.” photo by Eesha Williams

On average, workers in the USA make 27 percent higher wages when they join a union. That's according to www.bls.gov.

Most union contracts say workers can only be fired for "just cause." Non-union workers can be fired at any time for no reason.

Millions of workers in the USA are union members, including all the workers at UPS, UMass Amherst, and the food co-ops in Northampton, Greenfield, and Brattleboro. The Brattleboro co-op has about 160 employees.

The middle class in the USA is disappearing. There are more rich people and more poor people than there have been since the 1920s. This allows billionaires more influence over politicians. Unions are one way to expand the middle class and increase democracy.

In other news from the Valley, in Keene, activists marched to stop a proposed fracked gas pipeline. They won in 2016 when the pipeline was canceled. The activists are still fighting a plan by the corporation that holds the city monopoly for gas used for heating buildings to switch from propane to fracked gas. Both are fossil fuels that cause climate change. “But fracked gas is full of chemicals that are even worse for people's health,” Terry Clark told the Valley Post in a telephone interview last year. He was then and is still a member of the Keene city council.

Now Clark is fighting a corporate plan to build a fracked gas pipeline under a 700 foot long section of the Ashuelot river in Keene. The Monadnock Progressive Alliance is also fighting the plan.

In other Keene news, on June 11, four people from the Keene area were arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience at the New Hampshire statehouse as part of the Poor People’s Campaign. One of them was Judy Reed. She lives in Keene. She told the Valley Post she got arrested because, as "a former classroom teacher and teacher educator, now retired from Keene State College, I have watched the poorest school districts in New Hampshire fight for their students to receive an education adequate for them to succeed in today’s society.... Despite the fact that New Hampshire is a wealthy state (in fifth place nationally in per capita personal income and ninth in taxable resources) educational opportunity is still wildly unequal from town to town. New Hampshire is dead last in the nation in funding for higher education."

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