Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
flickr user fiatontheweb / creative commons

The United Auto Workers union is threatening to go on strike against Fiat Chrysler.

The company says in a statement Tuesday that it received a strike notice from the union and it continues to work toward reaching an agreement.

A letter to Fiat Chrysler that was posted on the UAW website says the union is terminating its contract with FCA at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.

Back in the early 1950’s, a Chinese-American woman named Grace Lee came to Detroit to publish an obscure newsletter for an even more obscure Marxist group led by a revolutionary from Trinidad. She met a black auto worker named James Boggs.

She had a PhD in philosophy; he had barely a high school education. She invited him to dinner. He showed up an hour late. She made lamb chops; he said he hated them. She put on a Louie Armstrong record, and he told her Satchmo was an Uncle Tom.

But later that evening, he asked her to marry him.

Sarah Razak / Flickr -

Confused about corrosion control? We were too.

In Flint, lead levels in some children's blood have spiked dramatically. Scientists believe the Flint River is part of the problem. Flint switched from Detroit’s water system and started pulling water from the Flint River last year.

Alberto G. / Creative Commons

The public comment period is winding down for proposed new state science and social studies standards. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) will hold three public meetings on the standards this week.

MDE has already held several other meetings across the state on the standards.

Karen Stintz - Flickr Creative Commons -

Fifth-grade students at Muskegon Middle School will begin receiving drug- and gang-resistance training in November.

The Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T) program aims to deter students from participating in destructive behaviors before they start.

City of Detroit

As Lansing gears up to debate a radical reorganization of Detroit schools, Mayor Mike Duggan is pushing for a larger role in the city’s future education system.

Duggan outlined his vision for a complete education overhaul earlier this year.

It shares the same basic structure as Gov. Snyder’s proposal for Detroit schools, but differs on a few key points.

Both call for a bankruptcy-style restructuring — without the actual bankruptcy filing — that would split the Detroit Public Schools into “old” and “new” districts.

Republican candidate Ted Cruz brought his presidential campaign to Michigan and Kalamazoo today.

Cruz, a U.S. senator from Texas, was greeted enthusiastically.


“We need to bring the power out of Washington and back to ‘we the people!” That is what this campaign is about!” Cruz told the cheering crowd of several hundred people.

Bonnie Jo Campbell
John Campbell

Whether between mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters, or lovers new and old, human relationships are rarely tidy and neat.

This is especially true when they’re in a story by Kalamazoo writer Bonnie Jo Campbell. They’ll be powerful, offbeat, sometimes shocking and always interesting, but never neat.

wikimedia user InverseHypercube /

Detroit has itself a brand new resident.

Liana Aghajanian is the latest winner for Detroit’s Write A House program.

She was chosen from more than 200 entries and will move into a totally rehabilitated home just north of Hamtramck for a two-year residency.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint school officials expect they will fall 300 students below their target on this week’s count day.

The district had budgeted for 5,700 students. But Superintendent Bilal Tawwab expects the number will be closer to 5,400.

He says that may force the district to make more hard choices.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Today was the last day for Flint residents to register to vote in next month’s mayoral election. 

But some people in Flint don’t want to wait for a change at city hall.

Chanting “Walling gotta go,” a small group of protesters marched in a circle outside Flint city hall. 

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

For the first time in five years, Detroit and its bus drivers have agreed to a new labor contract.

The four-year deal includes an immediate 4% base wage hike, gradually growing to 13.5% over the course of the contract.

It also introduces “fare box sharing.” If the Detroit Department of Transportation gains riders and grows revenues, 30% of that increase will go to drivers, up to a certain amount.

There's a way to help every child in Michigan save for education

Oct 5, 2015
Jennifer Guerra/Michigan Radio

The Next Idea

Education and wealth are inextricably linked. Not only does educational attainment affect earning potential and capacity to build wealth, but family wealth greatly impacts a student’s likelihood of completing postsecondary education.

Sadly, measures of family wealth and education attainment in the U.S. show a widening gap between the rich and the poor.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

In Flint, lead levels in some children's blood have spiked dramatically, and scientists believe a new drinking water source is to blame. They're pointing to lapses in oversight from state regulators, who they say should’ve seen the problem coming.

Flint’s water problems began about a year ago, not long after the city stopped drawing water from Detroit’s system. To save money, Flint began getting its water from the Flint River.

Boggs Center

Philosopher, activist, and writer Grace Lee Boggs has died at her home on the east side of Detroit. She was 100.

Over the past 70-plus years, she played roles in most of the major social movements this country has known: labor, civil rights, Black Power, women's rights, and environmental justice.

It’s hard to sum up the life of someone who kept changing. But that was Grace Lee Boggs. At different times in her life, she was a Marxist, a socialist, a Black Power advocate, and feminist. 

If you happened to be listening to Stateside last week, you may have heard me talking about a new biography, The People’s Lawyer, which I co-wrote with former Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley.

While the words are mine, the story is his.

I wanted to talk about it today, not to plug the book, but for a couple reasons.

Robert Scott / Creative Commons

Michigan Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, this week introduced legislation that would get rid of health benefits for domestic partners of state employees.

Right now, domestic partners may apply for benefits as long as they live together.

Under the bill, public employers would be banned from offering domestic partner benefits.

With the hand-wringing over what appears to be short-term, hasty-decision-making in Flint (the move by a state-appointed emergency manager to try and save money by breaking away from Detroit’s water system and to, instead, pull water from the the highly corrosive Flint River), the city’s water crisis has now become a political crisis as well.

Courtesy: Michigan Department of Transportation

When the Gordie Howe International Bridge from Canada to the U.S. is complete, it’s expected that thousands of trucks a day will travel through the Detroit neighborhood of Delray. Residents there want the government to keep additional pollution to a minimum.

Henrico Prins / flickr

A charter high school in west Michigan now has two airplanes for students to use to learn to fly.

A contribution from the Delta Air Lines Foundation allowed the school to buy a Cessna 172.

“My first flight was actually in the new plane. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Round two of what’s become known as the “world’s largest municipal property auction” starts this week.

That would be Wayne County’s annual tax foreclosure auction.

More than 26,000 properties remain after the auction’s first round last month, when just over 2,000 properties sold.

We're happy to have an enthusiastic word-nerd audience with lots of suggestions and questions.  

Douglas, who listens to us from Atlanta, wants to know about discomfit vs. discomfort.

He wrote: “I once was discomfited by discomfort, never discomforted by discomfit.”

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan started digging.

Former Michigan Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.
From Courser/Gamrat websites

LANSING, Mich. - Two conservative ex-lawmakers who had an extramarital affair and attempted to conceal it have been sued by former aides. 

The Detroit News and report former state Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat were sued Friday by Keith Allard and Ben Graham in Ingham County Circuit Court. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State and local officials Friday unveiled a plan for fixing Flint’s water problems.

But one demand of many city residents is not on the list.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality director Dan Wyant addressed what he sees as the critical problem in Flint. 

Many media outlets are livestreaming the press conference. Here is MDEQ Director Dan Wyant speaking at a podium with a "taking action" sign affixed.
screen grab / MLive UStream

Researchers found elevated lead levels in Flint's drinking water, and pediatricians found that the water was likely poisoning some kids in the city. Today, the state revealed that it too had tested kids and their findings seem to be consistent.

Dr. Eden Wells, the state's chief medical executive, said that before the city switched to Flint River water, kids' lead levels in two "high risk" zip codes were 2.7 times higher than the rest of Genesee County. Now they're 3.2 times higher - a statistically significant difference.

One of the things I most dislike about most politicians is their unwillingness to admit when they’ve screwed up.

Take Dennis Williams, the leader of the United Auto Workers union. He and his lieutenants were so out of touch with the membership that they negotiated a contract that the angry workers rejected by almost two to one.

Yesterday, when the results were in, Williams said. “We don’t consider this a setback,” we consider this “part of the process.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The White Horse Tavern is turning alcohol into water these days.  All to help the Flint school district. 

White Horse tavern owner Chris Poulos offered me a free drink as I sidled up to the bar.  

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Macomb County officials say they’re being unfairly criticized for a jail inmate’s death.

County Executive Mark Hackel vigorously defended Sheriff Anthony Wickersham and jail staff on Thursday.

His comments came after the release last week of a harrowing video that showed David Stojcevski’s slow death in the Macomb County jail.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Recent studies have shown blood lead levels in Flint children have doubled, even tripled in some parts of town, since the city started using the Flint River as its drinking water source. 

So today Genesee County officials declared a public health emergency.

Part of the Rumsey St. Project, this auto body garage was painted by Los Angeles-based artist Mark Dean Veca

The Next Idea

Collaboration between people of different backgrounds, expertise and points of view is one of the key drivers of innovation.

There’s one entry in this year’s Artprize in Grand Rapids that takes collaboration to another level.