Workers Unite

On February 1 in Northampton, about 400 workers formed a union. They work in the dining halls at Smith College. The federal government conducted a secret ballot election, which the workers won overwhelmingly. The workers have a web site at www.opeiuLocal153.org.

In the 1930s, workers went on strike around the USA, forcing politicians to pass the first minimum wage laws. To this day, unions lobby to raise the minimum wage. On average, union workers make $191 more per week than non-union workers. Inequality is bad for democracy. Billionaires buy politicians.

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In Brattleboro on February 3 there will be a rally to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. The rally will start at noon outside the main post office. A group that's promoting the rally has a web page at:

https://grassrootsfund.org/groups/upper-valley-action-affinity-group

Biden is campaigning in Michigan this week, where people protested his support of Israel. Details are at:

www.democracynow.org/2024/2/2/michigan_mayor_biden_gaza_arab_americans

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Keene, New Hampshire, population 23,000, is 20 minutes by bus from Brattleboro. In Keene, 30 paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) formed a union. The Teamsters union announced the victory on January 24. The workers have a web site at https://teamsters633.com.

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On January 29, the Brattleboro Reformer daily newspaper published a news story on the front page about a woman who works in Brattleboro and attended an anti-abortion rally in Washington, DC on January 19. The woman, Jean Marie Davis, works at Branches Pregnancy Resource Center in Brattleboro.

The Valley Post asked Jessica Barquist for her reaction to the article. She works in Vermont for Planned Parenthood. Barquist said, “At Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE), we believe all people deserve access to medically-accurate information and a full range of sexual and reproductive health care services — including abortion. Unlike pregnancy resource centers, also known as anti-abortion centers (AACs), PPNNE provides our patients with unbiased health information and high-quality, compassionate care at licensed health centers. We ensure that each patient has the ability to control their own body without interference, harassment, or intimidation. Whether it’s choosing a birth control method that’s best for them, learning about ways to prevent sexually transmitted infections, getting screened for cervical cancer, or accessing an abortion when and where they need one, Planned Parenthood is here to help our patients protect their health, lives, and futures.”

She went on, “AACs look like health care centers, but they are not. Most AACs aren’t legitimate medical clinics and are not required to follow HIPAA or keep patient information private. These anti-abortion centers have a clear agenda — to scare, shame, or pressure patients out of getting an abortion, and to tell lies about abortion, birth control, and sexual health. Once they have lured pregnant people into the facility, they peddle misinformation, stoke fear by framing abortion as dangerous, and amplify false claims that are not based in science.”

She said, “At Planned Parenthood, we have the best interest of our patients in mind – not bias or an agenda. Their safety and health are our top priority. To access a full range of sexual and reproductive health care services, patients can call (866) 476-1321 or visit www.ppnne.org.”

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