Dirty Dozen Brass Band Concert is September 10

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band will play at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on Saturday, September 10 at 7 p.m. The venue has a dance floor. You can hear the band's music at:


In the next few months, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band will perform in New York City, Chicago, and Hawaii.

Tickets for the Holyoke concert are $25 in advance. They are available at www.signaturesoundspresents.com.

photo by www.vancouverwinejazz.com

Workers Unite

With Labor Day right around the corner, the Valley Post spoke with a worker at a Springfield-based union for an update. Grocery workers are negotiating their first union contract at Wild Oats Market in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Matt Szulborski told the Valley Post in a telephone interview on August 12. He works for United Food and Commercial Workers union Local 1459. In February, the 42 workers at Wild Oats joined the union, which has a web site at www.ufcw1459.com.

Grocery Workers Rally

On March 24 at 4 p.m. in Holyoke, there will be a two-hour rally for justice. Workers at Stop & Shop throughout New England are asking the billion dollar company for fair wages and benefits. Stop & Shop workers in the Valley are union members. They have a web site at www.ufcw1459.com.

The rally will be at 28 Lincoln Street. The public is invited. Details are at:


Victory for Grassroots Movement to Raise Taxes on Millionaires

On January 1, the Massachusetts minimum wage went from $9 an hour to $10 an hour. About 280,000 people got a raise. This happened because thousands of people volunteered to gather signatures on petitions. That effort was coordinated by Raise Up Massachusetts. The same group last month submitted to the Massachusetts Secretary of State about 157,000 pen-on-paper signatures intended to raise taxes on people who make more than $1 million a year. About 13,000 people in Massachusetts made over $1 million in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available.

Labor Rallies Set

Unions in the Massachusetts cities of Springfield and Holyoke are asking the public to attend rallies for justice in Springfield and in the nearby towns of Amherst, Chicopee, Westfield, and West Springfield. On Labor Day, September 7, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., there will be a rally in Amherst for workers' rights. The public is welcome for all or part of that time. For more information, contact Jocelyn Silverlight by phone at (908) 601-6342 or by e-mail: jocelyn@uaw2322.org.

March Starts at Salsarengue, Includes Live Music

There will be a march in Holyoke April 27 to protest plans by governor Charlie Baker to take away control of the city's schools from people who live there. The march will start at 3 p.m. at Salsarengue Restaurant, 392 High Street.

Eduardo Melendez is a teacher at Holyoke public schools, a position he has held for 20 years. “In Puerto Rico, we do rallies with live music,” he told the Valley Post on April 24. “That's what we'll do on Monday. We will have a whole bunch of musicians.”

Education Rallies

Recent rallies in Holyoke and Boston for better education were attended by Valley residents. On September 8 in Holyoke, activists held a rally in support of a public school teacher who the teachers' union says was fired for his union activism. Until he was fired, Gus Morales was a full-time English teacher in Holyoke, and part-time president of the Holyoke teachers' union, which is part of www.MassTeacher.org.

Mass Marches Work

Free round-trip bus tickets from Holyoke to a September 21 climate march in New York City are available. President Obama and the leaders of other nations will be in New York City that day to try to come up with an agreement to reduce pollution. The march is being organized by the Service Employees International Union, the Sierra Club, and other organizations. More information about the march, including how to get bus tickets from the Valley, is at www.PeoplesClimate.org. The Sunday march starts at 11:30 a.m.

Grassroots Victory

In a grassroots victory, a coal fired electricity generating facility in Holyoke will close permanently in October. The Mount Tom Power Plant currently burns about 1,200 tons of coal every day. “Now we will have less air pollution,” said Vilma Vazquez, a Holyoke resident who attended rallies to close the facility.

The movement to close the coal facility was organized by www.n2nma.org and www.ToxicsAction.org.

Transportation Victories

In a victory for poor people and the environment, activists got a group of local governments in the Valley to reverse its plan to raise the local bus fare. The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) wanted to hike the fare from $1.25 to $1.50. About 370 people attended public hearings about the scheme. The vast majority spoke out against the fare boost. At the most recent hearing, on June 27 in Springfield, city resident Aunush Dawidjan led the audience in a chant: “Tax Mercedes,” she said. “Not old ladies,” the people replied. Mercedes Corporation makes cars for rich people.