Labor Day in Detroit with Vice President Biden & Democrat for Governor Mark Schauer


This morning, we hurried down to Navin Field, home of old Tiger Stadium, to hear Vice President Joe Biden speak at 9:30am, his scheduled time. When we arrived we were met with a police blockade that herded and kept the (what looked to us to be) a thousand of union workers and members of the public south of Michigan Avenue, where we could neither hear nor see the politicos speak.

To find out what he said, we had to go to news reports. Gubernatorial Democrat candidate Mark Schauer was also on hand, among many other Democrats, though the public will have to take the media's word for it, since none of them could cross Michigan Ave., and the speakers weren't loud enough for anybody outside the stage area at Navin Field to hear.

Remember when politicians wanted the public to hear them? Especially a hopeful candidate for governor like Mark Schauer?

So, we left, and came back to Navin Field at 2pm, after all the politicos and their crew had cleared out.

That is, they cleared out, with the exception of their garbage:

And more garbage:

And still more garbage:

And even more garbage around the famous flag pole:

You can see the ruts their trucks left in the field.

And then, the Navin Field Grounds Crew—the people who have cleared this land since 2010, including MT's very own Dave Mesrey, marched over the Fisher Freeway, in tribute to the people who would walk over that bridge to see games here at the old Tiger Stadium. 

What they found was the mess the local AFL-CIO and Democrats had left behind: Trash.

And they wasted no time picking it up:

Even a member of the Crew, Donald, whose foot was in a cast and who walked with a cane, helped:

We noted that across the street, south of Michigan Avenue where the vast majority of the members of the public and union workers stood, was clean:

Joe Michnuk, a long-time Navin Field Grounds Crew member, had this to say about the experience:

"I think that they hold an event here and they don't clean up after themselves.We have people hold events here every Saturday and Sunday and they leave the Field in the condition they found it in. I mean, to see this mess here is just disheartening. Especially that it's a Labor Day Parade, and these are organizations have plenty of means, and they leave all these bottles and cans, and garbage on the Field, and we're supposed to clean it up for them?

With the ruts in the Field they left too, that's gonna be stuff we have to fix. I mean, come on you guys. You guys have all kinds of means. We're a bunch of volunteers, for God's sake, and we've got Labor organizations that have millions of dollars, and they're gonna leave it like this for the peasants to clean up. I think it's really wrong."
The Crew keeps Navin Field clean and pristine—so much so, the Democrats and the AFL-CIO thought it'd be the perfect place to give their speeches in support of workers. And then they left nothing but trash behind. Is that what they think of the corner that has been kept by the NFGC and volunteers and the public—families and children who play on the field daily? 

Tom Derry, founder of the Navin Field Grounds Crew, was still upbeat. "We had the Vice President here today," he told us, proudly. It's what they've been working towards since 2010, he explained. The city, he said, never cleaned it up in all that time. It's been this small group of people cleaning up Navin Field, inviting children and families and the public onto the Field for years. "It's what we do," Derry explained.

Navin Field is so beloved and sacred, people scatter the ashes of their loved ones on this Field weekly, sometimes multiple times a week.

And the Democrats and AFL-CIO apparently have so little regard for the people of Detroit who've cared for and loved this land for years that they left nothing but trash behind. 

These actions speak louder than any and all of the words Biden and Schauer said today.

Update at 6pm:

We were also at the Field from 12:30pm-1pm when people were taking down the stage and removing all the other materials used:

Except for the trash:

Update 9-2-14 at 12:00pm 

An earlier version of this post said "thousands." We meant to say what looked like "a thousand" people south of Michigan Ave. down to Church, from Rosa Parks east to Trumbull. We regret the error.

Update 9-2-14 at 6:45pm

Please see the AFL-CIO's response to MT here. You can learn more about the Navin Field Grounds Crew here

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