Workers Win

Workers near Holyoke on September 19 announced they had a major victory. “One hundred dining workers and 70 facilities workers at Mount Holyoke College voted overwhelmingly to ratify three-year agreements with the college that include raises of between 11.5 and 24.5 percent over the life of their contracts,” a union spokesperson told the Valley Post. The 170 people work in South Hadley, Massachusetts, which borders Holyoke. The workers have a web site at www.seiu.org.

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Win for Nature

About 200 people attended a workers' rights rally in Hadley, Massachusetts on July 23. Hadley borders Northampton. The rally was organized by workers at the Trader Joe's supermarket. More information is available via the workers' web site: https://TraderJoesUnited.org.

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Wins for Nature, Justice; 500 March, Rally

In Brattleboro on June 24 about 150 people attended an abortion rights rally, Eileen Sullivan told the Valley Post. She works for Planned Parenthood. In Northampton on the same day about the same number of people attended a rally for the same cause, organizer Debby Pastrich-Klemer told the Valley Post. Two groups helped her: Valley Women’s March and Indivisible Northampton. “150 people is great for a last-minute event,” Pastrich-Klemer said. The protests were in response to a supreme court decision issued hours earlier. Now it's up to Biden and congress to over-rule the court.

Good News for Nature

Easthampton, Massachusetts is expected to pass a fee on vacant commercial buildings in the coming weeks. Easthampton borders Holyoke. Brattleboro will likely pass a fee on vacant commercial buildings within a few months, town manager Yoshi Manale told the Valley Post.

The Brattleboro Home Depot and its vast parking lot have been vacant for 14 years. In 2019 Home Depot spokeswoman Margaret Watters Smith told the Valley Post her company would like to find someone to rent the building and parking lot. Years before that, another Home Depot spokeswoman told the Valley Post the same thing.

Victory for Brattleboro Bike-Ped Activists

Activists in Brattleboro are celebrating a December 15 victory for the rights of pedestrians and bicycle riders. As of 2017, Brattleboro had the nation's highest per capita rate of pedestrian death by car. Five people were killed in the five years that ended in 2017. Brattleboro is home to 12,000 people. In 2021, two pedestrians were hit by cars in Brattleboro and taken to the hospital with major injuries.

Underground System Concert is Nov. 20

Underground System will perform in Holyoke on November 20 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. A video of the band performing, and more information about the venue, are at:

www.gatewaycityarts.com/event/laudable-productions-presents-underground-...

How to Get Faster Trains

Activists in Northampton are working to make passenger train service between Greenfield, Northampton, Holyoke, Springfield, Boston, and New York City faster, more frequent, and cheaper. Ben Heckscher is a spokesperson for the group Trains In The Valley. On October 25, he told the Valley Post, people should tell their “elected officials that you want more frequent passenger rail service north of Springfield, and fares that are comparable to the fares offered on the Hartford Line for travel south of Springfield.”

Brattleboro Climate March Set for April 17

On April 17 in Brattleboro there will be a march calling on local, state, and federal politicians to do more to address climate change. Marches are a big part of the reason Vermont Yankee closed, the civil rights movement had the successes it did, apartheid ended, women won the right to vote, and the labor movement built the middle class.

In recent years, 9 million people a year have died of starvation. Droughts, floods, and unseasonable heat and cold -- all caused by climate change -- make it harder for farmers to grow food.

160 March

About 160 people marched in South Hadley, Massachusetts on March 8. They were protesting a decision by Mount Holyoke College, which has $789 million in its endowment, to close a child care center. South Hadley borders Holyoke. “This impacts women most,” Andrea Fernandes told the Valley Post in a voice phone interview on March 10. She is one of the march organizers.

The group that organized the march has a web page at:

www.facebook.com/groups/268773044614053

1,500 Acres Saved

Fifteen hundred acres of forestland has been protected from development in Holyoke and West Springfield. “The deal will be completed on or around April 22. I am certain it will go through,” Bob Wilbur told the Valley Post in a voice phone interview on January 13. He is director of land conservation for MassAudubon. A map of the land is at:

https://www.massaudubon.org/our-conservation-work/land-conservation/urge...