Metro Detroit AFL-CIO issues official statement about the garbage left at Navin Field on Labor Day


But it's not what they told us.

According to CBS Detroit, the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO issued the following statement:

“Since Monday, Metro Detroit AFL-CIO officers and staff have been working to clean the grounds at Navin Field. A visit to the field now will show that debris has been removed and awaiting pick up.
“As with any event we’re involved with, we had a clean-up plan in place. We had to adjust due to weather conditions. Wind and rain deposited items on the field that were not carried in by participants.
“Navin Field and the volunteers who maintain it are a great resource for the city of Detroit. The men and women of the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO have tremendous respect for volunteer efforts to improve our community.”

When we spoke with Rick Blocker, Metro Detroit AFL-CIO President on Tuesday, he said none of this (except the part about respect). Even though we asked. 

In addition, when we called Metro Detroit AFL-CIO first thing Tuesday morning, the person who answered the phone told us casually that there was no clean-up plan, and that, basically, it didn't matter because a community group had cleaned up.

MT spoke with Joe Michnuk today, one of the first people who joined the Navin Field Grounds Crew in May of 2010. He told us how he was riding his motorcycle by the site of the old Tiger Stadium back then, and saw people cleaning up the lot. They told him, "We can't leave it like this," and Michnuk agreed. "I joined that day."

When he heard about the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO saying that "wind and rain deposited items on the field that were not carried in by participants," his response was clear: "Wind and rain could never cause the damage, the litter, the ruts in the field. The truck driver driving across the infield! They should never have driven on to the playing surface. Ever." 

And to the statement that "Metro Detroit AFL-CIO officers and staff have been working to clean the grounds at Navin Field" or that they "had a clean-up plan" that they "had to adjust due to weather conditions," Michnuk had this to say: "We did appropriate clean up. By 3pm there was no wind. No rain. [The weather] didn't prevent us from picking it up."

MT notes that during our visits to the field that Labor Day, from 12:30pm-1pm and again from 2pm-3pm, the weather was fine and the trash was there. We witnessed the NFGC cleaning up the trash themselves after they crossed the Fisher Freeway.  

Michnuk stressed that the Navin Field Grounds Crew is "glad they held the event there." Adding, "We just can't believe they left it in that kind of condition. Nobody left the kind of trash that organized labor left there. Clean up your trash. You're not in kindergarten."

The Navin Field Grounds Crew will start working on the ruts left in Navin Field this weekend. "The problem is people go out there and take a walk on the field. So we gotta fix that stuff! We'll be out there this weekend. It'd be nice if the AFL-CIO donated at least a truck load of fill dirt so we could spread it out there."

It seems to us that the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO has a marvelous opportunity to apologize for the oversight of not cleaning up after their event and driving across the infield; they can support the Navin Field Grounds Crew; and they can make sure they always have a clean-up crew for any event they hold. 

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