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Union Plumbers Converge on Flint, Volunteer to Install Faucets Amid Water Crisis

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On Saturday, 300 union plumbers from across the country met in Flint, Michigan to install donated faucets and fix other plumbing problems in homes that have been affected by the city’s water crisis.  The plumbers, along with members of Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI), met at the United Association (UA) Local 370 union hall before delivering Brita water filters and donated faucets to homes and apartments in the city. 

Local 370 official Harold Harrington told the crowd of plumbers, “We did not cause this American tragedy in Flint, but we certainly can help correct the damage that has been done!”

PMI — which represents major companies like Moen, Brasscraft, Speakman, Delta, and American Standard — donated the parts. Hodges Supply of Flint also kicked in items.

Barbara C. Higgens, PMI CEO and Executive Director, said of the union’s mission:

“PMI is proud to join with its members and the UA to put our vision of safe, responsible plumbing into action.  We appreciate the generosity of our members, the UA plumbers, IAPMO and everyone else that is helping to assure safe drinking water for the residents of the Flint area.”

Video from the event can be seen via ABC 12.

Among those who volunteered were Kevin Kinasz of Bridgeport and Rob Johnson of Swartz Creek.  They helped 70-year-old Lawanda Asa, who captured the spirit of the volunteer effort:

“People from all over the country, Canada, Cher, tons of organizations are sending trucks loads of waters and filters to us. I’ve even lost count on how many people are sending us water.  It just goes to show how giving American people are. People that don’t even know us, have never heard of flint before are at our side. We’re so very blessed that the American people have such big hearts.”

While those receiving help are grateful, many can’t help but worry about the gravity of the damage done. The long-term effects are expected to be very real, as Rachel Maddow’s panel meeting explained. Adding to the severity of the crisis is that the current solution of sending bottled water has the potential to cause its own environmental problems.  

For more on the union plumber effort in Flint, listen to this NPR story.


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