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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
Proman Manufacturing Co. Laying-Off Chinatown Workers without Severance Pay
pic2.jpgOn July 16, 2005, a picket line of workers took over the entrance of Proman Manufacturing Company to protest unfair labor practices by this 61-year-old sportswear manufacturing company in Chinatown. Its owner, Joseph Proman, recently confirmed the company will be closing by the end of July and laying-off all of its 40-plus Chinese and Latino workers without severance pay.

Alice Leung, community organizer for the Chinese Progressive Association Workers Center (CPAWC), said that Mr. Proman did not give any formal notice to its workers who learned the company is moving to China from one of their supervisors. Since then, CPAWC and the American Friends Service Committee have helped Proman Co. workers organize themselves to defend their labor rights and be treated with dignity.
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18 Jul 2005 | Filed under: News / Globalization : Human Rights : Labor : Organizing
Somerville Art Fest Excludes Palestinian-Rights Divestment Group
On Wednesday July 6th in the afternoon Christina received an email from the director of the Somerville Arts Council indicating that Somerville Divestment Project would not be allowed to participate in this year's festival to occur on July 16th

On Thursday, in a phone call to the Somerville Arts Council, made while Somerville Divestment Project members were present, the mayor indicated that SDP would not be allowed to participate in this years ArtBeat Festival.

SDP's rights to participate in a community group along with other cultural, artistic and political groups was short-circuited by the mayor of Somerville Joe Curtatone. This issue may raise concerns about first amendment issues, and equal protection under the law. Legal officials have been contacted by SDP on this matter.
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13 Jul 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights
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
CORI Checks Haunt Millions in Massachusetts
Around 2 million people in Massachusetts have criminal records that are accessible by potential employers, public housing officials, and sometimes any member of the public. Last Wednesday, the local Union of Minority Neighborhoods kicked off a campaign to change the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) system by holding a public organizing meeting. In this radio piece, Ronald -- a Boston native who's spent 25+ years in jail -- talks about the difficulties, underlying racism, and possible reforms to CORI checks in Massachusetts.
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11 Jul 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Race
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
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