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With Coffins Lining The Street In Grand Rapids, Michigan - Union Members Call On Republican Governor Rick Snyder To Resign Over The Flint Water Crisis

Published Tuesday, March 15, 2016
by Matt Vande Bunte/

(GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN) – As Republican Governor Rick Snyder visited a Fuller Avenue business Monday (March 14th) afternoon, sign-toting Union Members from the Muskegon area lined the street in protest – along with 10 wooden coffins.

One word was taped on each of the first nine coffins, with a question mark stamped on the tenth: How many more people must die from Legionnaires' Disease?

"We'll ‘keep pressure on him wherever he goes,’" said Tony Barnes, an Electrical Worker who wants Snyder to resign. "We need to get somebody in there that’s ‘competent enough’ to get the job done.  I'm just concerned that Flint is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ for ‘bad drinking water across this whole state.’"

Among the signs hoisted by protesters: The nerd is toxic, RIP: Clean water for Flint, Snyder is pure evil, not Pure Michigan, Snyder's plan for the poor: Out of sight, out of mind, Rick Snyder legacy: murderer, Rick Snyder: criminal, Ruined any lives today, Rick? and Resign now!

Inside the new Hutchinson Innovation Center, Snyder said he won't resign because he's trying to solve the water problem in Flint.  "I want to fix it," he said. "There were several people, particularly in the Department of Environmental Quality, that were bureaucratic.  They let us all down.  There was failure at all levels of government.  You just don't walk away from that.  Most people don't just roll over and walk away.  You stand up and do something about it.  I'm focusing on fixing it.  I'm working on Flint every day."

Snyder also has asked lawmakers to approve $165 million for infrastructure projects elsewhere in Michigan.  Grand Rapids city leaders do not plan to spend local money replacing the estimated 17,000 lead water lines in the ground.  "Long term, we should be addressing this issue every place in the state and the country in terms of eliminating lead lines," Snyder said. "That's not as much a part of the dialogue as it should be, in my view."

On the street Monday, some protesters held bottles of water mixed with Coke. The coffins, which previously were used in protests over Michigan's Right-To-Work (for less) Law, were pulled out of storage.  "What a ‘perfect time’ to bust 'em out," said Paul Watson, a United Auto Worker (UAW)-represented Worker from Muskegon.

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