110 at Rally

In Northampton about 110 people were at a union rally on September 21. “I was very pleased with the turnout,” Ellyana Stanton told the Valley Post in a voice phone interview on September 28. She was one of the organizers, and she is a member of the actors' union. Stanton grew up in Amherst and lives in the Pioneer Valley town of Belchertown, Massachusetts. The union has a web site at www.sagaftra.org.

“I joined the union as a freshman in college. It helped pay my way through college,” Stanton said. “I'm 35 now and I still work as an actor, and as an on-set medic in movies, TV and commercials. We're fighting for protection against artificial intelligence. Acting should resonate with human emotion. We're not fighting so Tom Cruise can get an extra million dollars on his next movie. Most of our members are working class people, like background actors. Some of us make less than we would working at McDonald's.”

Actors are on strike nationwide.

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About a dozen people from the county that's home to Brattleboro joined about 100 people at a march in the Vermont state capitol on September 24. They were calling for universal healthcare and for more affordable housing to be built. “The march had several stops, and at each one we heard from people who have been impacted by the interlocking crises of healthcare and housing, as well as the environmental degradation that caused the major flooding this summer,” Ellen Schwartz told the Valley Post. She lives in Brattleboro and was a member of the board of the Vermont Workers' Center for years. She is still active with the group.

“Our first stop was in front of the offices of the Vermont Center for Independent Living, which were totally devastated by the flooding. We then walked to the offices of the Green Mountain Care Board, which was responsible for granting double-digit rate increases to insurers who sell plans through Vermont Health Connect (ACA plans)—the very plans that are being recommended for people who get kicked off of Medicaid. We ended up at the Statehouse.”

The group that organized the march has a web site at https://workerscenter.org.

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