Photo: Strike in Greenfield

Sixty-three workers are on strike in Greenfield. They are asking the public to join them on the picket line outside 34 Sanderson Street, 24 hours a day from now until August 14 at 11 p.m. There will be a mass rally at that location at 2 p.m. on August 12.

The below photo was taken on August 12. To enlarge the photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "see full size image." photo by Eesha Williams

Civil Disobedience

At Northampton public schools, starting pay for cafeteria workers is $11.64 an hour; for custodians it's $12.01. Teachers' pay is below the state average. On June 12 from 2:15 p.m. until 4 p.m., there will be a rally calling on the school board to give the workers raises. The rally will be outside the public high school at 30 Elm Street. Details are at:

www.facebook.com/events/2678501435557350

Forty-two people had RSVP'd as of 8 a.m.

*******

Locals Work to Cut Military Budget

Peace activists will meet to discuss strategy near Greenfield on November 16, 17 and 18. The public is welcome to attend the event. Almost half of this year's entire federal budget of about $3 trillion is being spent on war. That’s according to:

www.WarResisters.org/FederalPieChart

With 4 percent of the world's population, the USA spends at much on the military as the rest of the world combined.

A Victory for the Environment

The USA is losing 6,000 or so acres of open space every day. But here in the Valley, about 640 acres of farmland and forestland were permanently protected from development. A land trust based in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, about 9 miles from Greenfield, announced the news on August 2.

Workers Unite

In a win for workers' rights, 43 workers at Trinity Health Corporation in the Massachusetts towns of West Springfield and Westfield formed a union. West Springfield borders Springfield; Westfield borders West Springfield. “Mandatory overtime, wages, and security were the big issues,” Chris Mangano told the Valley Post in a telephone interview on March 19. She has been a nurse at Trinity in the Springfield area for 22 years. “In terms of security, we want a security person to accompany us when we go to patients’ homes. Our patients are all ages.

Keene Activists Fight Fracking

In Keene, activists marched to stop a proposed fracked gas pipeline. They won last year when the pipeline was canceled. Now the activists are fighting a plan by the corporation that holds the city monopoly for gas used for heating buildings to switch from propane to fracked gas. Both are fossil fuels that cause climate change. “But fracked gas is full of chemicals that are even worse for people's health,” Terry Clark told the Valley Post in a telephone interview on November 25, 2017. He is a member of the Keene city council.

In the Streets for Peace and Justice

Dozens of people attended a rally in Northampton on April 9 to protest President Trump's military attack on Syria. Sabine Merz spoke at the rally. "The way to help Syria is to open our borders to them," she told the Valley Post. The event was outside city hall. It was organized by the American Friends Service Committee of Western Massachusetts www.afscwm.org.

Fight for $15 Minimum Wage

Activists fighting for a $15 an hour minimum wage are offering carpool rides from the Valley to a rally in Boston on November 29. The minimum wage is now $10 an hour in Massachusetts, $9.60 in Vermont, and $7.25 in New Hampshire.

The Massachusetts minimum wage will be $11 starting January 1, 2017. Vermont's minimum wage will be $10 starting January 1, 2017 and $10.50 starting January 1, 2018. In New Hampshire, no increases are scheduled.

Springfield Labor Rally Is Sept. 30

One out of every four Americans has a "net worth" of zero or less, meaning their debts are bigger than their assets. Stephen Schwarzman lives in New York. His personal income was $811 million last year. He is the CEO of Blackstone Corporation, which owns Motel 6.

One way to spread the wealth is to raise taxes on billionaires and use the money to provide affordable housing for poor people. Another is for workers to form unions, and for the public to support the unions when they need help.

3,300 Nurses To Go On Strike

About 3,300 nurses will go on strike June 27 in Boston. They are asking the public to join them at a rally on June 26 at 4 p.m., and on the picket lines starting June 27 at 7 a.m. Buses from Springfield to Boston leave every two hours and take about an hour and 40 minutes. One-way fares start at $16. Details are at www.greyhound.com. From the Boston bus station to the rally takes about 12 minutes by subway; to the picket line is about 30 minutes by subway. The fare is $2.10.