Four Day March to Stop Pipeline Starts March 17

A four day march to stop a proposed fracked gas pipeline starts March 17. The march will start about 30 miles west of Northampton, in Windsor, Massachusetts. It ends near Greenfield in Northfield, Massachusetts. The public is invited to attend part or all of the 53 mile march. Organizers are offering free food and places to sleep for the marchers. They are also seeking donations.

The march has been endorsed by www.350.org. More information about the pipeline is at www.NoFrackedGasInMass.org.

As of February 23, the march Facebook page said 37 people were planning to attend:

March to Stop Climate Change

To fight climate change, activists are organizing a march and rally in Northampton and a march in Amherst. Both are on November 29. The march starts at 5:30 p.m. at Northampton high school and goes to city hall, where a rally starts at 6 p.m. The Amherst rally will be at 6 p.m. at the town common.

More information is available at www.350.org. Phone and e-mail contact info is at:

http://350mass.betterfutureproject.org/contact_us

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:

www.facebook.com/events/1623745281223305

Blues Concert Review

Luther Johnson and the Magic Rockers performed an excellent, public concert in Northampton on July 25. The Iron Horse Music Hall appeared to be almost sold out. The audience applauded enthusiastically after all the songs. Johnson sang, "She said, 'Luther, you don't have to be a superstar, I love you just the way you are.'"

A highlight was Johnson's version of the Jeannie Cheatham song "Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On."

350 Workers Will Go on Strike Starting July 22

More than 350 workers, most of whom live in the Valley, are set to go on strike starting July 22. Stephanie Agnew is one of them. She lives in Northampton. “We want better pay and benefits,” she told the Valley Post on July 17. “We're not trying to get rich. We want a living wage. Also, our bosses are trying to get us to see more clients per week. It is already difficult to deal with the number of clients we have."

Protest Against Ben and Jerry's Is June 20

There will be a rally to protest Ben and Jerry's in Deerfield, Massachusetts on June 20 at 11:30 a.m. Deerfield is near Northampton and Greenfield. The rally will be at the Ben and Jerry's store in Deerfield.

Rally organizers say many of the workers at the farms where the milk used by Ben and Jerry's is from are paid below minimum wage. Ben and Jerry's is owned by Unilever Corporation, which also owns Dove soap, Vaseline, “I Can't Believe It's Not Butter,” and other companies. The CEO of Unilever was paid $11.4 million last year.

A Way to Cut Taxes

On June 5, a local group announced it has permanently protected from development 46 acres of open space in Hadley, Massachusetts, near Northampton. Saving open space lowers taxes and creates jobs, according to studies by the Vermont Land Trust and the Trust for Public Land.

Towns with the most protected land have the lowest property taxes. That's according to:

www.vlt.org/images/0_PDFs/Conservation_and_Property_Taxes.pdf

In Massachusetts in 2013, outdoor recreation created about 90,000 jobs for workers at hotels, restaurants and other businesses, according to:

Mental Health Workers' Rally for Justice is April 1

Andrew Berger has worked in Northampton for a government-funded agency for almost four years. His title is clinical mental health counselor. He and his 350 or so co-workers might go on strike if an upcoming rally for justice doesn't result in a fair union contract, Berger told the Valley Post on March 27. “Going on strike is a possibility,” he said. “We have been negotiating for five months and management hasn't budged. We aren't adequately paid.”

Workers Strike

On August 4, striking workers held a rally outside the Market Basket grocery store about two miles from Keene in Swanzey, New Hampshire. About 10,000 people attended a rally for the striking Market Basket workers near Boston on August 5. Market Basket has about 25,000 workers at its grocery stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Worker Safety March Is April 24

In 2005, Rob Hackley, a worker at a Pepsi factory in Florida, was burned so seriously that doctors had to perform surgery on him twice. He barely survived. The federal agency charged with workplace safety, OSHA, investigated. OSHA's report concluded that Hackley's injuries had been preventable if Pepsi had given him proper safety equipment, and that his bosses had told workers to “throw safety out the window and get the work done.” The bosses showed “deliberate, voluntary and intentional disregard to employee safety.” But OSHA gave Pepsi only a minimal fine.