Workers Unite

In Greenfield, 24 workers formed a union. On April 22, they won their first union contract. “It felt great. It was a huge weight off our backs. Everyone was really happy with the contract,” Jake Waldsmith told the Valley Post in a voice phone interview on May 5. The workers are bus drivers and “monitors” employed by Greenfield public schools. “Monitors help with special education transportation,” Waldsmith said. “For students with behavioral challenges, the monitors keep order on the buses. They also help with wheelchair lifts since the drivers can't leave the vehicle while students are on it.”

Waldsmith started at the job in 2018. He drives a white van with a “school bus” sign on it, and he does school bus route planning. The workers have a web site at:

Until now, there has been no media coverage of the workers' victory, Waldsmith said.

He said one reason the workers organized was that “the previous school leadership told us things that turned out not to be true. We couldn't plan our lives. Vacation time and sick time were issues too. We felt that if we wanted to be treated better than second class citizens, we needed a union. The new school leadership is great.”

Most of the workers work 30 to 35 hours a week. Some work more than 40 because of sports trips.

In the USA, union workers make an average of $191 more per week, compared to workers who don't have a union. Reducing inequality is good for democracy, since billionaires buy politicians. In the Valley, all UPS and Stop and Shop workers belong to a union. That means billionaires make less money and workers make more.

Hundreds of workers at the Brattleboro Retreat mental hospital are union members. So are workers at hospitals in Greenfield, Northampton and Springfield; and at the food co-ops in Northampton, Greenfield, and Brattleboro.


In other labor news, in Northampton on May 6 at 5:15 p.m., there will be a union rally outside city hall. Details are at:


On May 7 in Northampton there will be a climate and indigenous rights rally. The 3:30 p.m. rally will be outside Bank of America and TD Bank, both on Main Street. The two banks are 0.1 mile apart. A press release did not say which one the rally will start at, but it did say that, for more information, one can contact Miriam Kurland at or 413-268-7529 or John Cohen at


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