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Proposed Lab Feels the Heat: July Update on the Grassroots Campaign against B.U.'s Biolab
bsl401.jpgAUDIO: A coalition of local grassroots groups recently held a rally in the South End against the BioSafety Level 4 lab that Boston University is trying to build there. Only a handful of such high-risk labs exist in the U.S. Locals say the lab would be cruel to animals as well as an act of environmental racism.
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18 Jul 2005 | Filed under: News / Environment : Human Rights : Race : Social Welfare
Plans for Women's Jail May Meet an Early Fate: Statewide Coalition Calls for Moratorium on New Jails
Hampden.jpgAUDIO: The state wants to build a new women's jail to replace part of the existing Hampden County jail. The Statewide Harm Reduction Coalition, a group that works on drug policy and rehabilitation, held a press conference last week to raise objections to the construction of the proposed Chicopee women's jail in western Massachusetts. People spoke out about the overwhelming number of prisoners charged with drug-related crimes, the racial dynamics of incarceration in Massachusetts, and the misuse of state funds for what they feel is an unnecessary new jail. They called for a moratorium on all new jail and prison construction in Massachusetts.
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18 Jul 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Organizing : Race : Social Welfare
Nurses Demand Safe Staffing Ratios During Statehouse Hearings
ma nurses pic.jpgBOSTON -- Hundreds of nurses and health care activists from across New England rallied at the statehouse July 14 to demand legislators pass state legislation mandating safe nurse-to-patient ratios.

The one-day action sponsored by The Massachusetts Nurses Association union was a continuation of mass state-wide actions in an effort to pass House Bill 2663 “An Act Ensuring Patient Safety,” (www.massnurses.org).

Similar to California state mandated nurse-to-patient ratio legislation won by the California Nurses Association, the MNA supported bill would mandate safe staffing levels based on specific hospital location and specialties. In intensive care the bill calls for one nurse to two patients while in medical and surgical units the nurse-to-patient ratio would be 1-to-4.
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18 Jul 2005 | Filed under: News / Labor : Social Welfare
Anti-Corporate Campaigners Call on TIAA-CREF to Dump Wal-Mart and Coke Stock as Unethical Investments
TIAA-CREF picket 1.JPGOn Monday, July 11, 2005, a dozen people gathered for half-an-hour starting at noon outside TIAA-CREF’s offices in Boston’s financial district. They were protesting and passing out informational fliers as part of the lead up to next week’s TIAA-CREF annual shareholders meeting, where members of the Make TIAA-CREF Ethical Coalition will press TIAA-CREF, one of the country’s largest pension funds, to divest from Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart and other corporations that do not do business ethically. Wal-Mart is well known for its exploitive labor practices, while Coke is guilty of a number of socially irresponsible practices, ranging from marketing junk food to children in the US to complicity with death squads in Colombia.
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11 Jul 2005 | Filed under: News / Environment : Globalization : International : Labor : Social Welfare
Second Case of Mad Cow Disease Hits the U.S.
cow_downed3.jpgAUDIO: A year and a half after the first case of mad cow disease was discovered in this country, the U.S. government came forward Friday, June 24th, with news of the second case of Mad Cow Disease in the US. According to an initial report, this cow, at least eight years old, was found crippled and covered in manure, apparently suffering from dementia. She was discovered last November. U.S. officials took tissue samples, incinerated her corpse, and declared her free of the disease after initial tests. However, a recent round of tests conducted at a lab in England determined this cow did have the disease.

Meanwhile, outbreaks of the bird flu loom on the horizon. While relatively harmless levels of the flu, which is carried by chickens, cycle through U.S. farms on a regular basis, very harmful levels may appear in U.S. chickens soon. Two bird flu pandemics actually claimed the lives of over 100, 000 people in the U.S. during the 20th century. Some researchers are warning that another pandemic is coming again.
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03 Jul 2005 | Filed under: News / Environment : Social Welfare
Millionaires and War
Was there ever a time when Congressional tax cuts for multi-millionaires were more unseemly?

Recently President Bush spoke about the war in Iraq on national TV, asking Americans to be patient and to bear in silence the heavy sacrifice of American soldiers’ lost lives. That number is getting close to 2000.
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02 Jul 2005 | Filed under: Commentary / Politics : Social Welfare
Child-care providers in RI fight for union rights
melida 1.gifOn June 22, Rhode Island governor Donald Carcieri vetoed the Family Childcare Providers Business Opportunity Act of 2005. The act would have allowed the state's 1,300 licensed and hundreds of other unlicensed home-based day care providers, members of the union SEIU 1199, to bargain collectively with the state for wages and benefits.

As wages fall behind inflation for most workers, and welfare payments are eliminated, the home based day care workers have become essential for working parents in Rhode Island. The day care fees are subsidized for thirteen thousand parents by the state, although these subsidies are being cut to pay for tax cuts for the richest Rhode Islanders. But the day care workers are poorly compensated for their central role in the state's economy. The Day Care Justice Co-Op, an organization of day care workers that preceeded the union drive, found that after deducting for the cost of childrens' toys, books, food, safety equipment, and sometimes assistants, the day care workers, mostly black and latina women, ended up with a wage of only $2.76 per hour, less than the legal minimum wage.
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28 Jun 2005 | Filed under: News / Gender : Labor : Race : Social Welfare
Food Not Bombs Holds 25th Anniversary Gathering in Philly
Audio: Philadelphia was recently the home of the 25th anniversary gathering of an international, grassroots, volunteer-run free-food project called Food Not Bombs. Food not bombs shares free food in cities all around the country – from Portland, to New York, to San Antonio – by rescuing waste from markets and redistributing it to hungry people. Homefries in Boston has more on the gathering -- including several interviews -- in the posted mp3.
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26 Jun 2005 Modified: 27 Jun 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Politics : Social Welfare
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