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The Shoestring News Brief 

Trader Joe’s attempts to unionize, Senate passes The Work and Family Mobility Act, City Council moves forward with banning brokers’ fees.

As many of readers know, we are not publishing at full capacity as we work on fundraising and other organizational work that we have put off for years. In an effort to both keep our readers informed and while prioritizing this other work, we are presenting a news brief to update you on timely stories we have been following that we might not have the ability to cover with broader depth until a later date. — Will Meyer

Workers at Trader Joe’s in Hadley revealed their intent to unionize Sunday, becoming the first grocery store in the national chain to announce such plans. Workers from the store described working conditions in a video published by More Perfect Union of declining pay, benefits, and safety precautions during the pandemic. We will continue to follow the story. Worker’s at Amherst Cinema also formed an independent union that has been voluntarily recognized by Management (Full Disclosure: Co-editor Brian Zayatz is a worker at Amherst Cinema). 

The Massachusetts State House passed a prison moratorium bill Thursday that would halt the construction of new prison facilities for five years, including a proposed $50 million women’s prison in Norfolk. The bill now must pass through the Senate to be approved. For more on the story, please read Sierra Dickey’s Shoestring piece “Walking away from prisons and jails in Massachusetts” that followed a group that walked across the state in support of the bill. 

The Northampton City Council unanimously passed an order that would ban brokers’ fees in Northampton. The fees that landlords have historically charged tenants caused undue financial burden on many renters. The order will now have to be passed by the state legislature in what is called a home rule petition. For more, see Mo Schweiger’s coverage from earlier in the week. 

On May 5th, the Massachusetts State Senate passed a bill that would grant driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, after the bill had already passed in the house. The bill now goes to Republican Governor Charlie Baker’s desk, though he is expected to veto the legislation, in which case it will go back to the Senate and they can override the legislation. To read more on this, see Brian Zayatz’s piece “Drivers License Bill Could Pass with Veto-Proof Majority”

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Will Meyer is a co-editor of The Shoestring.

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