A leak of thousands of gallons of fuel from the US Navy’s aging underground storage tanks at Pearl Harbor contaminated drinking water and poisoned and sickened thousands of people, including children, driving 3,500 families from their homes, as reported by The Washington Post, January 10, 2022. The fuel-storage facility sits 100 feet above Oahu’s main freshwater aquifer. Did Hawaii follow in the footsteps of Vermont’s Governor Phil Scott and foist wrongful actions by the military or the military-industrial complex on civilians while claiming to be powerless? Just the opposite. Health authorities in Hawaii promptly stepped up to require the Navy to stop the abuse. The state issued an emergency order. Then, when the Navy at first contested, the state held a public hearing.
For as long as Richard Trumka has been a national AFL-CIO leader—more than a quarter of a century—his labor federation has been encouraging its local affiliates to revitalize themselves to help reverse union decline. Now nearing retirement as AFL-CIO president, Trumka was part of a “New Voice” slate that challenged old guard officials for control of the organization in 1995, via its first contested election in a century. New Voice candidates promised to work with state and local AFL-CIO councils to make labor’s political action and workplace solidarity more effective. Among the reforms they implemented was hiring more staff to promote picketing and protests by union members under attack by hostile employers.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, 30 million people in the U.S. had no health insurance, and about 50 million were underinsured. The pandemic has caused millions more to lose coverage because of losing their jobs. Indeed the pandemic has given us perspective on an array of injustices in our health care delivery system — including the lack of an adequate public health infrastructure, the racial disparities in access to care, the rationing of care based on ability to pay, and hospitals’ concentration on lucrative cardiac and orthopedic services rather than mental health and primary care. The U.S. spends twice as much per capita on health care as other high-income countries that provide universal coverage, and yet our health outcomes are worse.
Hundreds marched through the rain Sunday afternoon to protest outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Williston. The demonstration was put on by the combined force of dozens of local activist groups including Women's March Vermont, Migrant Justice and the Peace and Justice Center. “If you’re taking children away from their mothers and leaving them in a room with no one to care for them, you need to quit your job,” said Bob Fishel, of Burlington.
Burlington, Vt - Vermont's largest affordable housing community marked a special milestone Saturday with a neighborhood-wide celebration. The Northgate Apartments in Burlington's New North End is celebrating 30 years of housing affordability and resident ownership. "We're celebrating 30 years of ownership, resident ownership," said Linda Romeo, a longtime resident. Romeo has lived at Northgate for the past 48 years. She raised her family there and can remember a time when conditions were poor.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Five industry groups representing major internet providers and cable companies filed suit on Thursday seeking to block a Vermont law barring companies that do not abide by net neutrality rules from receiving state contracts. An AT&T logo is pictured in Pasadena, California, U.S., January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Vermont by groups representing major providers like AT&T Inc (T.N), Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) and Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N). It followed a lawsuit by four of the groups earlier this month challenging a much broader California law mandating providers abide by net neutrality rules.
Since the budget summary was written, Vermont has removed all its prisoners from the Michigan facility. In its place, Vermont used the Pennsylvania state facility at Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, where four Vermonters have died, one from untreated cancer with no palliative care. Now Vermont negotiators have reportedly agreed to a contract to send Vermont prisoners to Tallahatchie, Mississippi, to be housed in a 2,672-bed facility run by CoreCivic, Inc. (formerly known as the Corrections Corporation of America), the largest private prison company in the US (2018 second-quarter profit $42 million on revenue of $449 million). The Vermont contract is currently secret. The ACLU opposes the contract sight unseen. State and corporate officials have refused to discuss it in any detail, but promise it will be made public once the necessary parties have signed it to make it binding.
Especially for professional workers, when your main strike issue is pay, attracting public support can be a challenge. Savvy employers paint union members as spoiled. They like to point out that you’re already making more than many of your nonunion neighbors. Yet when 1,800 nurses and technical staff struck for better wages July 12-13 at the state’s second-largest employer, the University of Vermont Medical Center, the people of Burlington came out in force to back them up. “We had policemen and firefighters and UPS drivers pulling over and shaking our hands” on the picket line, said neurology nurse Maggie Belensz. “We had pizza places dropping off dozens of pizzas, giving out free ice cream.” And when a thousand people marched from the hospital through Burlington’s downtown, “we had standing ovations from people eating their dinners,” she said. “It was a moving experience.”
Ranked 47th for pay in the nation. High turnover, stagnant wages, and chronic staffing shortages—sound familiar? You’d be forgiven for thinking these figures refer to the working conditions of West Virginia teachers, or those in any of the red states that erupted in strikes during this spring’s teacher rebellion. But, in fact, these figures describe the daily realities confronting nurses in none other than the widely-hailed progressive state of Vermont. On Thursday, 1,800 nurses and 300 health professionals at the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC) began a two-day strike to demand more for themselves and their patients. At the center of the strike are issues related to safe staffing, competitive pay and calls for a hospital-wide $15 minimum wage.
Donald Trump’s fear mongering about Mexicans and Muslims, Haitians and Africans, and other foreigners is hardly sui generis in U.S. history. In the mid- 19th century, nativists on our east coast regularly sounded the alarm about barbarian invasions from famine-stricken Ireland. Their west coast counterparts warned for many decades of the “yellow peril” spreading across the Pacific Ocean from China to California. Yvonne Daley’s new book about the late 20th century transformation of Vermont, reminds us that even domestic population shifts involving native-born whites can be easily demonized—if the physical appearance and social customs of the “outsiders” in question are sufficiently strange and they are not depicted as law-abiding. One of the highlights of Going Up the Country: When the Hippies, Dreamers, Freaks, and Radicals Moved to Vermont is Daley’s re-creation of a minor panic triggered by Playboy, when it had millions of readers.
Most everybody knows that Ben & Jerry’s makes premium ice cream and champions “Peace” and “Love.” What they don’t know is that this socially responsible business and strong supporter of Occupy Wall Street is making ice cream in Israel and selling it in illegal settlements in Occupied Palestine. Progressive Except for Palestine Ben & Jerry’s business practices are tethered to a vibrant Social Mission that commits it to ...meet human needs and eliminate injustices in our local, national and international communities by integrating these concerns into out day-to-day. Most everybody knows that Ben & Jerry’s makes premium ice cream and champions “Peace” and “Love.” What they don’t know is that this socially responsible business and strong supporter of Occupy Wall Street is making ice cream in Israel and selling it in illegal settlements in Occupied Palestine.
This is a story primarily about corrupt practices by the Burlington City Council, in its headlong determination to force a neighboring city to be the base for a weapon of mass destruction, the nuclear capable F-35 fighter-bomber (in development since 1992, first flown in 2000, still not reliably deployable in 2018, at a cost of $400 billion and counting). Yes, the premise itself is corrupt: Burlington owns the airport in South Burlington, so South Burlington has no effective say in how many housing units Burlington destroys in South Burlington to meet environmental standards for imposing the quiet-shattering F-35 jet on a community that doesn’t want it and won’t benefit from it. The entire “leadership” of the state of Vermont, mostly Democrats, has spent more than a decade making this atrocity happen, with widespread media complicity. And you wonder how we got Trump as President.
By Wilson Ring for Associated Press - MONTPELIER, Vt. - Scores of dairy farm workers and activists marched Saturday to a Ben & Jerry’s factory to push for better pay and living conditions on farms that provide milk for the ice cream maker that takes pride in its social activism. Protesters said Ben & Jerry’s agreed two years ago to participate in the so-called Milk with Dignity program, but the company and worker representatives have yet to reach an agreement. “We can’t wait any more. We are going to pressure them and see what happens,” said Victor Diaz, a Mexican immigrant now working on a farm in Vergennes. The march that began Saturday morning in Montpelier ended mid-afternoon at the plant in Waterbury, about 14 miles away. Organized Will Lambek said the marchers presented a letter to company CEO Jostein Solheim who said the company was committed to joining the program.
By Phil McKenna for Inside Climate News - Sue Minter's victory in the Democratic primary came over an opponent of big wind projects. She now faces another anti-wind Republican opponent in November. In a statewide contest notable for its vigorous debate over wind power, victory went to the candidate who favors industrial-scale wind development. Sue Minter, who had financial backing from Vermont wind developers, won Tuesday's Democratic gubernatorial primary
By Lauren McCauley for Common Dreams - Defying the rights of Americans who overwhelmingly want to know more about what they eat, a Senate committee on Tuesday advanced legislation that will block states from requiring that foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMO) be labelled. The so-called Denying Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act (pdf) passed the Senate Agriculture Committee 14-6. It now moves to the upper chamber's floor, setting up a Congressional battle as Vermont prepares to become the first state to implement a mandatory GMO labeling law.