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Protestors say “shame on you Snyder” for cutting jobs

September 14, 2011

Last night, about 40 people gathered outside of WOOD TV 8 to protest Michigan Governor Snyder who was attending a “town hall” meeting inside.

Most of those protesting were members of Council 25 AFSCME Local 261, all of which worked at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. Their particular grievance was the proposal by Snyder to further privatize the care giving jobs at places like the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

According to Ronnie Skorupski with Local 261, 170 care-giver jobs at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans are at risk because of the privatizing proposal. He said they are not just trying to protect their own jobs at the veteran’s facility, they want to “protect quality care for those who served in the military.”

Snyder wants to privatize and offer the jobs to the cheapest bidder, even if it means people are coming from Pizza Hut jobs,” said Skorupski. Other care-givers at the protest said that some of the privatization has already begun, which has meant that there are now more staff who have no prior experience working with people who have the needs that veterans do. Another woman said, “we have a long term relationship with our patients, which would end if the privatization proposal goes through.”

Another worker from the veteran’s home said that a member from their staff was initially going to be part of the “town hall” meeting, but earlier in the day they received a call saying, “they were no longer needed.”

We also spoke with Norm Tope, a Vietnam Veteran, who was also at the protest. Tope said that he is concerned about the quality of care that will diminish if the privatization plan goes through. “We’ve already seen new people come in with no qualification and no knowledge of those of us in the vets facility.”

The Vietnam Veteran, who has been at the Grand Rapids facility for 2 years, also said, “how could Snyder possible know what our reality is like and what it means to live with diminished quality care. I have yet to see him or any other politicians come to our facility to see first hand what we are talking about.”

There were also a few folks with Recall Snyder signs and clipboards for people to sign their petition.

During the time before and during the “town hall” meeting at WOOD TV 8 there were security people standing at the road entrance to the TV station making sure that only those on a list could get in. There were also security personnel located by the front door. In addition, there were several Grand Rapids police officers patrolling the area and checking in with the security personnel working with WOOD TV 8.

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