Hadley, Massachusetts - Employees at the Trader Joe’s in Hadley are attempting to form a union, which if successful would make their workplace the first unionized Trader Joe’s in the country. “We feel that a union is the only way to protect the benefits that we have and to improve our pay and to improve our benefits and improve our workplace,” said Maeg Yosef, an 18-year employee of Trader Joe’s and an organizer of the union. The union effort at Store 512 went public on Saturday, with a letter from the union to Trader Joe’s CEO Dan Bane saying that more than half of the workers at the store support forming a union, and asking that he allow a union vote without interference. Their letter also references a letter sent to the workers two years ago by Bane that expressed opposition to employees unionizing.
Belmont, Massachusetts - Local union organizers have scored another victory at McLean Hospital in Belmont, after winning two votes on Friday to unionize all hourly clinical staff like nurses and mental health specialists who assist with patient care. In September, research assistants at the nationally prominent Harvard-affiliated psychiatric treatment and research institution formed a union — the first, the organizers say, in the hospital’s long history. All hourly clinical staff, excluding those with advanced degrees, will be part of the union if Friday's votes are confirmed. Through the effort, union organizers from AFSCME Council 93, which represents some 45,000 mostly state and municipal workers in New England, said about one-third of McLean’s approximately 2,400 employees may soon be unionized.
There is currently heightened concern about nuclear threats being made in relation to the war in Ukraine, although the danger of nuclear war or accidental detonation is ever present. Massachusetts is a potential target, because it is home to important nuclear weapons facilities and corporations as well as culturally significant landmarks. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons entered into force as international law in January 2021. This “Nuclear Ban Treaty” is intended to reduce the nuclear danger to zero, but enforcing it may also affect jobs with Raytheon, General Dynamics, Draper Labs and ten other nuclear weapon-producing companies that have facilities in Massachusetts. The Commission would explore how those jobs might be converted to green technologies or other important industries.
Massachusetts - Under the threat of the proposed Eversource pipeline and stormy skies, 200 residents from Springfield, Longmeadow and across the Commonwealth demanded that Eversource cancel the Proposed Springfield-Longmeadow gas pipeline. The Springfield Climate Justice Coalition and the Longmeadow Pipeline Awareness Group along with 57 co-sponsoring organizations, many from Springfield, came together on Saturday afternoon, April 9th to say “No!” to Eversource’s proposed Springfield-Longmeadow natural gas pipeline. Cut short by flashes of lightning and the cry of thunder, the rally ended for safety reasons, resulting in the large crowd hearing only half of the speakers waiting their turn to take a stand against this proposed pipeline.
Boston, Massachusetts - Last weekend in South Boston, around 50 people mobilized to counter a possible appearance by the neo-Nazi group the Nationalist Social Club-131 (a nod to both the ‘National Socialism’ of the Nazi Party and ‘Anti-Communist Action’), after public outcry grew following the group’s appearance at the yearly St. Patrick’s Day parade. At the parade, around a dozen neo-Nazis, all wearing masks and flying a flag with a white nationalist symbol, held a banner reading, “Keep Boston Irish,” and handed out flyers promoting the group and attacking non-whites.
Right now a group of activists with Resist and Abolish the Military Industrial Complex (RAM INC) are taking over the roof of Raytheon's facility in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Raytheon’s parking garage has also been blockaded and there is a disruption happening in the facility's main lobby. They are there to demand that Raytheon stop profiting from war, genocide and colonial violence. Raytheon is the largest producer of guided missiles in the world and is the second largest military contractor. They have made billions in profits from Israel’s occupation of Palestine, Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen, the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They also have numerous contracts with ICE and other border enforcement agencies around the world.
Massachusetts - As the organized opposition to the “Big Tech loophole law” ballot initiative grows in Massachusetts, a number of key consumer, community, and civil rights groups have joined with workers’ rights advocates to announce their commitment of activating and growing the coalition opposing that initiative under a new name: Massachusetts is not for Sale. The new Massachusetts is not for Sale name also reflects the concerns shared by coalition members regarding the record-shattering infusions of cash that Big Tech employers are pumping into the coffers of the corporate-funded committee advocating for the passage of the Big Tech loophole law both at the State House and as a November 2022 ballot question.
Given the violent history of English colonizers in New England, it’s a wonder why the state insignia of Massachusetts, fully emblazoned on today’s state flag, still includes a sword dangling over the head of a Native American. It was a little more than 30 years ago when the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority got rid of its offensive logo that featured a pilgrim’s hat with a Native American arrow shot through the middle of it. The state insignia still stands, and like many campaigns to rid schools and towns of demeaning mascots and public statues, the efforts to remove it starts with an accurate version of history. In the case of the Mass Pike logo, it started with a letter-writing campaign by second graders learning about the history of Plymouth Plantation in 1620.
Massachusetts - Smith College students marched through the streets of downtown Northampton backed by a chorus of honking cars as they chanted, “We don’t want a prison nation, stop mass incarceration!” on Saturday, Dec. 4. This march was in support of a moratorium on prison and jail construction within Massachusetts that was introduced in the Massachusetts state legislature. The bill was written by Families for Justice and Healing and the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, who, along with Massachusetts Peace Action, sponsored the walk. Smith students and volunteers from other prison abolition organizations in the area met at the Smith Campus Center and walked through downtown Northampton to the post office and then back to the Campus Center.
Rep. Betty McCollum’s (D-MN) historic Palestinian Children & Families Act still lacks a companion bill in the Senate. At a recent event local JVP Action leader named Jill urged Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to introduce the legislation. Here’s her question: I am Jewish and, like you, I am passionate about justice for all. You probably know that the U.S. government sends about $3.8 billion a year in military funding to the Israeli government. Massachusetts sends $1.3 million a year and Massachusetts taxpayers send Israel $352,000 a day. Some of these tax dollars are used to support Israeli oppression of Palestinians. Right now there’s a bill on congress that creates the conditions for justice and freedom for all. It’s called the Palestinian Children & Families Act, H.R. 2590. It works to ensure that U.S. taxpayer funds are not used by the Israeli government to imprison Palestinian children in a military detention system, which they do at the tune of 700 kids a year. It makes sure that they money we send is not used to forcibly displace Palestinian from their homes. 1,000 families have been displaced this year.
Lawmakers and criminal justice advocates in Massachusetts are calling for changes to the laws that govern how law enforcement seizes, and keeps, cash and property confiscated in suspected drug crimes. The push follows a WBUR and ProPublica investigation that found a top prosecutor stockpiling people’s money for years, even when they weren’t charged with a drug offense or their cases were dismissed.
The press release says Monday’s talks ended with Tenet presenting a “disappointing” proposal that “failed to provide what the nurses need to end the strike.” It notes that it was “a proposal that the membership voiced strong opposition to at a meeting held last night.” No details of the new proposal have been published but the MNA previously pushed for nurses to concede their demands of 1:4 nurse-to-patient ratios on medical/surgical floors and telemetry units, as well as increased staffing in the emergency department and ancillary support in each unit.
Three activists who refused to leave the Waltham offices of the pipeline company Enbridge were arrested by police Wednesday afternoon, ending a more than 27-hour occupation in protest of the multi-national energy giant behind the controversial Weymouth compressor station and other fossil fuel projects around the country. Waltham police say they arrested Nathan Phillips, a 54-year-old Auburndale resident; Alexander Chambers, a 22-year-old Boylston resident; and Samantha Hayward, a 22-year-old Castleton, Vermont, resident. Each was charged with one count of trespassing. “This group held space throughout the night and into the afternoon today,” organizers of the protest wrote Wednesday on Facebook. “We will keep fighting,” they added.
On a cold winter day in February 2019, activists gathered in downtown Northampton, Massachusetts, to denounce the attempted US-backed coup in Venezuela. More than two years later, in the wake of ongoing rallies and discussions with Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, activists gained some ground as the congressman tweeted an open letter to President Joe Biden on June 14 in which he called on the president to end “all secondary and sectoral sanctions” against Venezuela. The letter stated: “While US officials debate the sanctions policy in Washington, for people in Venezuela the ongoing crisis is a life-and-death matter. … I have never believed that sanctions should be used to punish whole populations for the actions of their leaders or to bludgeon an adversary into submission.
The FANG Collective is happy to announce that ICE will be cancelling all contracts with Bristol County, Massachusetts. This includes their 287(g) contract which trains deputies to collaborate with ICE and perform immigration agent duties, and their IGSA contract which turned the Bristol County House of Correction into an ICE detention center. See: Biden administration ends ICE contract with Bristol County Sheriff’s Office amid federal probe into alleged excessive force against immigrant detainees In the summer 2018, FANG launched its Shut Down ICE campaign in Bristol County with a nonviolent direct action that blockaded, and effectively shut down the prison for several hours.