Dustin Dwyer

Dustin Dwyer is a reporter for a new project at Michigan Radio that will look at improving economic opportunities for low-income children. Previously, he worked as an online journalist for Changing Gears, as a freelance reporter and as Michigan Radio's West Michigan Reporter. Before he joined Michigan Radio, Dustin interned at NPR's Talk of the Nation, wrote freelance stories for The Jackson Citizen-Patriot and completed a Reporting & Writing Fellowship at the Poynter Institute.

Dustin earned his bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida. He's also lived in Colorado, California, Oregon and Washington D.C. He's always happy to explain - with detached journalistic objectivity - why Michigan is a better place to live than any of the others. 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer stopped by a UAW picket line at a General Motors plant near Grand Rapids Thursday evening.

The governor and her team rolled up in black SUVs just before dusk. Whitmer posed for pictures, shook hands, and listened as workers described what’s at stake for them in the strike.

Nearly 50,000 workers have been on strike against GM since last month. They say they’re holding out for higher wages, and job security for temporary workers.

Every day there are a thousand disappointments.  

Small ones. Big ones.

They can start to build on you.

We all know what it’s like. The stress. The frustration.

The rage.

Where do you put it? How do you release?

That’s what was on Dawn Levian’s mind last winter when she turned to a Facebook group for help.

“I had posted asking if anybody knew of any place like this kind of business,” she tells me, while driving on an errand in a suburb of Grand Rapids. “Someplace to go and release, to let go.”

UAW members at General Motors are getting their first paycheck since going on strike two weeks ago.

The paycheck comes from the union, from the strike fund. Workers who show up on the picket line are entitled to $250 per week.

At the union hall for UAW Local 167 in Wyoming, workers came in and out all day to pick up their first check. The strike pay, which is equivalent to $13,000 per year, won’t be enough to survive on.

At the union hall for UAW Local 167 in Wyoming, just south of Grand Rapids, it’s nearly lunchtime for the workers walking the picket lines

Inside the union hall for UAW Local 167 in Wyoming, there are cases of bottled water stacked against the wall, bags of chips lined up along the table, and more donations coming in all the time.

“Good luck, keep up the good fight,” one woman says as she drops off more food for the striking workers.

“I’m actually overwhelmed by the support of the community,” says Willie Holmes, President of UAW Local 167. “They have just been stepping up left and right like you would not believe. I mean, every time I blink, here comes another truckload of food. Or just, somebody wants to come in and just donate their time.”

United Ways in Michigan are preparing to help workers affected by the UAW- GM strike.

If the strike goes on, workers will get $250 per week in strike pay, and their health care benefits have already been cut.

The effects of the UAW strike at GM are beginning to be felt by parts suppliers.

But suppliers may not feel the pain as much as in years past.

Brian Long is director of Supply Chain management research at Grand Valley State University. He surveys supply companies in West Michigan every month. And he says most have diversified their businesses.

The city of Muskegon has fired a veteran police officer, after a local couple found a KKK document in the officer’s home. City manager Frank Peterson confirmed the firing, which was first reported by MLive.

The couple toured the home of Officer Charles Anderson with a realtor, and posted photos of the framed KKK document on Facebook.

The Benton Harbor School Board says it supports the concept of a new advisory committee with the state to turn around the district. But the board says it will take more time to create the committee.

The idea for the committee is the latest in a back and forth between the leaders of the district and the state over how to turn things around. In May, the Whitmer administration proposed closing Benton Harbor High School to help the district cope with its debt and low performance on standardized tests. The school board unanimously rejected the plan.

Another former high level UAW official has pleaded guilty to charges that he took bribes and kickbacks while working for the union.

Michael Grimes is the ninth person to plead guilty in the ongoing corruption investigation of the UAW. He’s the first so far from the UAW’s General Motors division.

The Muskegon Department of Public Safety has finished its investigation into one of its police officers, though a final decision on his fate may not come until next month.

A couple from the Muskegon area found a KKK document framed on the wall of the house of officer Charles Anderson while they toured the home with a realtor.

Grand Rapids city commissioners passed a new human rights ordinance to protect against discrimination in the city

The ordinance expands the group of people who can be considered a protected class.

The Kent County Sheriff says federal immigration officials have decided not to renew a contract to hold its detainees at the Kent County jail.

The county stopped complying with so called “detainer requests” from Immigration and Customs Enforcement earlier this year.

The Grand Rapids Police Department says they will no longer check on the immigration status of suspects, unless it’s relevant to a criminal investigation and approved by the chief.

Last year, a U.S. citizen named Jilmar Ramos-Gomez was detained by immigration officers, after a referral from a GRPD captain.

Legislators in Lansing are introducing a series of bipartisan bills that would change the state’s emergency manager laws and require more testing for lead in drinking water.

One bill (SB 395) would require water tests at “vulnerable population centers” such as child care facilities, nursing homes and hospitals.