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Unemployed get free ride



They looked like castoffs from “The Apprentice,” sick of hearing “You’re fired!” like millions of other Americans. Their stories make it easy to think that Donald Trump is the only guy in America who is hiring.

The 51 Show Us the Jobs tour participants, one from each state and the District of Columbia, stopped at the Walter P. Reuther Library on the Wayne State University campus on March 28. The bus tour is co-sponsored by the AFL-CIO and Working America. Diane Mitchell, spokeswoman for the AFL-CIO, says her organization was looking for a way to show America the face of the job-loss crisis. The tour seemed like the perfect vehicle.

Riders swap stories of economic hardship with residents of the cities they visit. They are also gathering postcards for President George Bush along the way.

Michigan alone lost 219,300 jobs since President Bush took office in January 2001, according to statistics from The hardest-hit industries are manufacturing and information services.

The tour began March 24 in St. Louis and rolled through Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana before making its way to Detroit. The tour was to continue through Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia before culminating in Washington, D.C. There, riders will testify at a jobs crisis hearing in front of House and Senate members on March 31, says Mitchell.

Laura Tropea of South Lyon is Michigan’s voice on the tour. Tropea, 26, graduated from Brooklyn College of Law but hasn’t found a job as a lawyer; she works at an Eastern Market deli for $7 per hour. She owes $120,000 in student loans. But she isn’t complaining. Tropea says the most difficult aspect of the tour is coming to terms with everyone from a jobless 19-year-old with a baby to a 65-year-old, and “seeing these people just rocked” by the jobs crisis. “It’s important that our generation cares,” says Tropea. “Something has to change, or we’re going to be in a big mess, real quick.”

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