The story has been all over the news in recent months, but there is a major crisis with the water in Flint, Michigan. What is covered a lot less is that working people in unions, both in Michigan and beyond, have stepped up in a variety of ways to help the residents of Flint maintain their safety during the crisis. Here are some of the ways that working people have helped out so far:
1. The Laborers (LIUNA) union is training apprentices to replace 15,000 lead service lines. Once the apprentices are trained and complete the work, they will have skills that can both help other communities and help them find good jobs.
2. Since October, plumbers with Plumbers and Pipe Fitters (UA) Local 370 have been volunteering to install filters and faucets to get lead out of people's tap water. Read more about union plumbers helping out.
4. Union carpenters and millwrights, along with the UAW, organized 800 volunteers to deliver more than two semitrucks full of water throughout the city. When they ran out of water, the union workers went directly to the warehouse and loaded up for another round.
Hundreds of volunteers from the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, joined by the UAW, distributed...Posted by Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights on Saturday, January 30, 2016
5. Members of LIUNA have gathered to deliver more than 100,000 bottles of water since October.
6. The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), representing employees of grocery chain Meijer, have even arranged for discounted rates with Meijer for any organization that would like to purchase large quantities of water for Flint.
7. The Michigan Nurses Association has worked to educate the public about the impacts of lead poisoning and helped pay for a bus so that Flint residents can travel to Washington, D.C., to attend a congressional hearing on the situation.
8. In January, the Michigan AFL-CIO, community groups and Flint residents held a rally at the state Capitol urging the governor to disclose all documents on the Flint water crisis.