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Occupy Grand Rapids, Michigan to protest privatization of veterans’ care

Image has not been found. URL: http://images.michiganmessenger.com/Lansing-Occupy1.jpg

Members of Occupy Grand Rapids are planning to spend Friday protesting state plans to privatize careworker positions at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

In a Facebook post the group says that it will gather from 4:00 – 7:00 pm at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans on 3000 Monroe Avenue Northeast.

Lets stand up on Veterans Day. Lets stand up for our vets who deserve the best care we can offer. Lets stand up and say we will not be held hostage by these profits before people policies. Tell Snyder that we will not stand for experienced, hard working, public health care employees being replaced by inexperienced and underpaid workers. Caring for our vets is such an important job that it should be compensated with benefits and a fair living wage.

The Grand Rapids Press reports the state is trying to privatize 170 unionized caregiver postions at the facility, which is one of only two in the state for veterans.

A five-year contract worth nearly $6.6 million has been awarded to Grand Rapids-based J2S Group HealthForce. State officials have argued the move will save more than $4.2 million, an estimate union leaders dispute because of turnover, training and other costs.

A resident of the Grand Rapids home has sued to stop the privatization and an Ingham County judge issued a temporary restraining order against the shift. State leaders are challenging that court ruling.

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