Michigan Locals Call on Governor to Resign

January 13, 2016

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Three APWU locals in Michigan have called on Gov. Rick Snyder (R) to resign, charging that he allowed Flint’s drinking water to be switched to an improperly treated supply, poisoning thousands of residents – especially children. Members of the Flint Michigan Area Local, the Detroit District Area Local, and the 480-481 Area Local voted unanimously for the governor’s ouster at union meetings on Jan. 9 and 10.

Snyder appointed Emergency Manager Darnell Early who switched the source of the city of Flint’s water supply in April 2014 from Lake Huron to the toxic Flint River, in an effort to cut costs. Two years later, children are filling up area hospitals, losing hair, and suffering from rashes.

The river water was contaminated with large amounts of iron, and because it was untreated, lead that lines plumbing also seeped in, further poisoning residents. 

Click here to make a donation to the Flint Water Fund, which will provide the victims of this crisis filters, bottled water, emergency support services and prevention efforts. 

“Residents of Flint are drinking water with an unhealthy amount of lead and the health impact on the children of Flint is irreversible,” the resolutions say.  

Although residents protested and pointed out that the water was discolored, Snyder’s administration denied that there was any contamination.

“Even after Gov. Snyder was pressured into declaring a state of emergency, no measures have been taken by the governor to provide safe water to Flint residents on an emergency basis,” the resolution notes. “The actions of this governor should be considered criminal.”

The resolution called on the federal government to “pursue all appropriate legal and criminal action against all that were involved in  poisoning the Flint water.”

Since lead poisoning is irreversible, a generation of Flint children are likely to suffer permanent damage.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who works in the pediatric ward of Flint’s Hurley Medical Center, told CNN, “If you were to put something in a population to keep them down for generations and generations to come, it would be lead. It's a well-known, potent neurotoxin,” she said.

“There’s tons of evidence on what lead does to a child, and it is one of the most damning things that you can do to a population,” she explained. “It drops your IQ, it affects your behavior, it's been linked to criminality. It has multigenerational impacts. There is no safe level of lead in a child."

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, who was elected in November, said that money for infrastructure to provide treatment and resources to affected families is desperately needed, especially since many areas lack essentials, such as grocery stores.

“We hope this resolution will continue to draw attention to the regressive policies here in Michigan that are attacking not only our democracy, but now are attacking the very health and well-being of an entire city,” said 480-481 Area Local President Roscoe Woods.

Keith Combs, president of the Detroit District Area Local said, "We believe there was knowledge prior to this. Some action needs to take place."

Michael Mize, who is president of the Michigan Postal Workers Union (as well as the Flint Area Local), said the resolution was being circulated among all the locals in the state, so additional endorsements are expected. 

APWU President Mark Dimondstein, praised the locals for taking initiative to pass the resolution.

“The labor movement has a proud history of speaking up and fighting for what’s just,” he said. “Unions that strive for solidarity have the responsibility not only to protect members’ rights, but the well-being of the communities in which we live.”


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