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Laborers Union Trains Flint Workers to Replace Lead Pipes – and More

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Local 1075 of the Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA), which serves Flint, Michigan, has scored a trifecta in confronting the city’s water crisis: by recruiting Flint residents for apprenticeship training in the skills needed to replace the city’s lead pipes, it will deliver benefits to the city, its residents and local workers.

According to a story on mlive.com, the training will deliver tri-fold benefits to the workers as well: a path to journey-level licensing, skilled jobs paying $17 to $25 an hour and long-term careers. In addition, those who complete the initial training are eligible for stipends to cover expenses such as commuting.

The online news site quoted Lynn Coleman, director of the Michigan Laborers’ Training and Apprenticeship Institute – which trains laborers accepted into Local 1075 – as saying, “What we hope to do is bring them in as a member and show them good living wages – good benefits. It doesn’t get any better than that.”                                   

More Jobs Than Expected
The mlive.com story noted that since the search for applicants began in April, 25 Flint residents have already completed the free four-week apprenticeship program, and 27 more have been invited to attend a subsequent training session.

Of the 25 who have completed the apprentice training, 21 are already on the job, though not doing lead pipe removal, because the city has rejected several bids for that work – suggesting that the original estimate of jobs for 40 workers will be exceeded.

The news website said state Sen. Jim Ananich, who represents Flint, commented that this shows an additional value of the training – it’s not too specific to be applied to other types of work.

“As Flint and its residents confront a multitude of challenges (see this issue’s President’s Perspective), it’s gratifying that LIUNA Local 1075 is making real and immediate contributions to its community,” said ECC President and CEO Denise Fairchild.

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