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.

Hundreds Rally

Two years ago, 17 people were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience at Wendell, Massachusetts state forest near Greenfield. The goal was to stop logging of 80 acres of 110 year old oak trees on publicly owned land. The USA is losing 6,000 acres of open space to development every day. Stopping logging on publicly owned land forces logging companies to buy their own land. If the loggers want to grow new trees after logging, the land can't be paved.

245 Rally

In Northampton, 200 people attended a rally against racism on February 24. The goal was to support the principal of JFK middle school, who is African American. Someone recently started a racist Facebook page attacking him. The rally was promoted by a group that has a web page at www.facebook.com/REALNoho

*********

Rally to Abolish Police

The group Northampton Abolition Now organizes to move money from the police department into programs that make the community safe. On February 13 and 14, the group held a rally in Northampton. Dozens of people attended. A contact person for the group, Mary Jones, can be reached at (512) 413-5592 and mary.m.jones12@gmail.com.

She told the Valley Post, “We hope Mayor Narkewicz will shift the resources we now pour into policing, directly into community initiatives whose core aims are helping, healing, and sustaining people, rather than controlling them.”

The group has a web page at:

Eleven at Deerfield Rally

The CEO of Dollar General Corporation made $12 million last year. He pays his workers an average of $9.76 an hour. In Deerfield, Massachusetts on December 12, eleven people attended a rally to stop a proposed Dollar General store in Deerfield. Deerfield borders Greenfield. Julie Cavacco was at the rally. On December 15 she told the Valley Post the rally was organized because the new store would cause floods in the surrounding area. Cavacco is a librarian at Deerfield's public library.

135 in the Streets

On August 12 in Northampton about 75 people attended a labor rally. Candie St. Jean is a nurse at the Northampton hospital. In a speech to the people at the rally she said, “Our hospital and its corporate owner are failing to protect, support, and respect nurses. The signs outside call us front line heroes. Inside, we are struggling to provide safe patient care because the hospital is not providing adequate protection, safe staffing, and transparency as to their plans for the rising number of cases.”

Greenfield Black Lives Matter Rally is August 1

In Greenfield on August 1, there will be a Black Lives Matter rally at 10 a.m. at the town common at the corner of Main Street and Route 5. The organizers have a web site at www.RacialJusticeRising.org.

*********

In Springfield, there was a rally to call on politicians to stop landlords from evicting their tenants, and to help low-income landlords. Eleven people were at the rally, which was on July 22. The organizers have a web site at www.SpringfieldNoOneLeaves.org

*********

Virus Can't Stop Community Radio

Community radio stations in Greenfield, Northampton and Brattleboro are broadcasting new editions of locally produced shows despite the epidemic. The stations are WMCB, WVEW, and WXOJ. They all play "Democracy Now," an important alternative to NPR news. Anyone who lives in the Valley can have a show on these stations.

Land Saved

An all-volunteer group has protected thousands of acres near Brattleboro in recent years. “We just got a state grant for $116,000,” Carolyn Mayo-Brown told the Valley Post on January 31. She is a member of the Putney Mountain Association and is leading the group's effort to save land in Dummerston, Vermont. Dummerston borders Brattleboro. “With private donations and the grant we now have about $160,000.” The group needs another $40,000 or so to buy 55 acres in Dummerston. Mayo-Brown said she is confident that will happen.

Workers Win

On November 13 in Greenfield workers had a victory. Teaching assistants in the Greenfield public schools held a rally for justice on November 5. On November 13 they won raises. The workers have a web site at www.nea.org.

***********

There will be a rally on November 20 in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts to stop a giant corporate bank from evicting a low income family from the family's home. East Longmeadow borders Springfield. The rally will be at 6 p.m. outside 137 Pleasant Street. The rally organizers have a web site at www.SpringfieldNoOneLeaves.org.

***********