News in Brief: March 4, 2014
This is the Open Media Boston News in Brief for March, 4, 2014.
A new campaign to raise the minimum wage in New England was started at an inaugural conference last month. Backed by Socialist Alternative, the campaign called 15Now is planning to “build the pressure for this demand.” The national campaign was launched in Seattle, Wash. following from the recent election there of socialist city council member Kshama Sawant. The Boston chapter of 15Now is holding a rally and march from the State House to Dewey Sq. on March 15 at 2pm.
Lesley University Adjuncts
Adjunct faculty at Lesley University last month voted overwhelmingly in favor of forming a union with 359 votes in favor, 67 against. The union will be part of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), following a campaign called Adjunct Action. This is the second union victory of its kind in the Boston area recently, with faculty at Tufts University voting to form a union with the SEIU in September. It also follows victories by part-time professors in the Washington, D.C. area. The union will aim to address issues to do with pay, benefits, job security, and other issues related to contingent work.
Mass. Alliance of HUD Tenants
The Mass. Alliance of HUD Tenants held a lobby day at the State House last week, calling for legislation to save the homes of nearly 18,000 families facing HUD contracts that are due to expire in the next three years. Tenant activists were calling for the passage of The Enabling Act filed by Rep. Smizik and others. Through a statement prepared by a spokesperson, Rep. Smizik told Open Media Boston, “The Commonwealth has lost thousands of low income apartments due to owners’ decisions to end expiring federal HUD subsidy contracts and thousands more are threatened. This legislation is a critical component in addressing the continual loss of affordable housing causing a housing crisis. By providing cities and towns with revenue neutral regulatory mechanisms to save affordable housing units, we can protect the Commonwealth’s low income residents.”
Moms Demand Action
Members of the Massachusetts chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America brought a petition with more than 12,000 signatures to Staples headquarters in Framingham this week. They called on the retailer to listen to moms across the country and stop allowing guns in their stores. The visit is the culmination of a national campaign pressuring Staples to enact a nationwide policy to prohibit firearms in its stores. “The presence of firearms creates an inherent and unnecessary risk for Staples shoppers,” said Ann Krantz, Communications Lead for Moms Demand Action Massachusetts in a press release. “Just last August, a customer negligently fired her gun in a North Carolina Staples. It is sheer luck that no one other than the gun owner was injured. But what about next time? It’s time for Staples to put the safety of its customers first and keep guns out of its stores,” she continues.