News Briefs: May 19, 2014
Adjunct Action, Northeastern University – Fenway
Adjunct faculty at Northeastern University last week voted in favor of forming a union as part of the Adjunct Action campaign of the SEIU. The adjuncts have formed the largest part-time faculty union in Boston, and along with 2,000 adjuncts at Tufts University and Lesley University, they are now united as part of the metro organizing strategy.
Massachusetts Teachers Association – Boston
Barbara Madeloni was elected president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association in a union election on Saturday, May 10. Madeloni is critical of standardized testing in schools, and is a member of the progressive union caucus, Educators for a Democratic Union. Her campaign argued against the “destructive impact of corporate reform and hyper-accountability on students, education workers, and school character.”
Boston Teachers Union – Boston
A commemoration of the historic Brown v Board of Education Supreme Court decision, which ended segregation in public schools in the US, was held at the Salvation Army Kroc Center of Boston on Saturday. Organized by the Boston Teachers Union, the event was part of a national week of action to continue organizing for racial, educational, and economic justice.
City Soil – Mattapan
City Soil, a community-based business, which develops programs in support of sustainable agriculture in Boston and across the state, staved off an eviction at its Mattapan location last week. The site hosts a project for composting food waste, manure, and landscape organics funded through a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture and the Suffolk County Conservation District. New England Zoo, which leases the property, initially sent an eviction notice to the business, but following an online campaign, the eviction did not proceed. However, a secure resolution to the issue of the use of the property has not been reached at this point.
Boston Jobs Coalition – Downtown Crossing
The Boston Jobs Coalition continued protests at the construction site of a new building at the historic Filene’s Basement in Downtown Boston on Wednesday. As previously reported by Open Media Boston, the coalition is critical of hiring practices for people of color and women at the site. They claim that the developer, Millennium Partners, has broken city hiring laws, and hasn’t contributed mandatory affordable housing payments. The next rally will be held on Wednesday, May 28.
Youth Justice and Power Union – Boston
A flash mob was held at Boston City Hall by the Youth Justice and Power Union on Tuesday last week, calling on the mayor and the city council to increase the number of summer jobs. Demonstrators claim that the number of summer jobs for young people in the city has declined, and are demanding 14,000 positions to be funded at a cost of $8.5m. They say that last year there were only 9,000 summer jobs, which amounted to the second lowest amount in eight years.
UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign – Fenway
Students from the UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, a campaign to divest the University of Massachusetts’ endowment from the top 200 dirtiest fossil fuel companies, met with UMass President Robert Caret and other school officials on Tuesday last week. The meeting was granted after over a year of campaigning by the student activists. According to Varshini Prakash, co-leader of the group, “While the conversation was respectful, we felt the administration failed to understand the disastrous consequences of climate change for current students and generations of students to come.”