Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has been rightly criticized for how he has handled the water crisis in Flint. In his State of the State speech earlier this month, he had a chance to take the crisis head on and failed to do so. Working people, on the other hand, are stepping up where Snyder has failed.
Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO, responded to Snyder’s speech:
The people of Flint deserve answers and accountability, but the governor didnâ€™t provide either tonight. Until the governor waives his [Freedom of Information Act] exemption and releases all materials on the Flint water crisisâ€”including those from his senior staffâ€”his promise to release a handpicked number of emails is hollow. To help the people of Flint start to heal and ensure a disaster like this never happens again, the governor needs to be fully transparent with the public and start telling the truth.
Sam Muma, president of the Greater Flint Central Labor Council, agreed:
It seems pretty clear that Rick Snyder still doesnâ€™t get it.Â Our city needs sustained, long-term resources from the state to clean up the mess that Snyder created, and on that front, the governorâ€™s speech fell short. All I heard were more empty promises from a politician whoâ€™s desperate to dodge the blame. Snyder needs to start being straight with people and show real leadership if heâ€™s ever going to help Flint recover.
Meanwhile, union members have been helping out Flint residents. UAWÂ and LIUNA members have volunteered to help out, and now Plumbers and Pipe FittersÂ members are going door to door to help residents install filters that will make their water a lot safer. Focusing on seniors and people with disabilities first, the plumbers have helped instill more than 1,000 filters since last week. Residents like Lucia Chapman, who was deeply concerned about the safety of her brother who has aÂ disability and her grandchildren, have been thankful for the efforts of the union members.Â “I don’t have to worry about if I’m drinking bad water.Â Everything will be alright because we got people like him,” she said, in reference to plumber Tony Slatton, who changed her faucet and installed her filter.
If you would like to know how you can help, visit Michigan AFL-CIO’s website for details.
This blog originally appeared in aflcio.orgÂ on January 27, 2016. Reprinted with permission.
Kenneth QuinnellÂ is a long time blogger, campaign staffer, and political activist. Â Prior to joining AFL-CIO in 2012, he worked as a labor reporter for the blog Crooks and Liars. Â He was the past Communications Director for Darcy Burner and New Media Director for Kendrick Meek. Â He has over ten years as a college instructor teaching political science and American history.