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Resolutions & Amendments

28th International Convention - Los Angeles, CA (1988)

Restoring the Social Safety Net

Resolution No. 79
28th International Convention
June 20-24, 1988
Los Angeles, CA


In the last eight years the Reagan Administration has cut funding for vital social programs by more than $120 billion while spending $2 trillion on defense and cutting taxes to the rich and corporations; and


These failed policies have led directly to a dramatic increase in poverty, hunger, and homelessness in our society. It is a national disgrace that one in four of our children now live in poverty, an estimated 3 million people are homeless and nearly 40 million of us do not have adequate health insurance; and


More than 200,000 AFSCME members who deliver services to the poor and needy in programs such as: Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Food Stamps, Medicaid, Head Start, Foster Care, School Lunch, and Energy Assistance have suffered as a direct result of Reagan's attack on social programs through increased workloads, cuts in support services, and increasing frustration because the lack of federal dollars prevents them from adequately helping those that so desperately need their services.


That AFSCME urge the next administration and the U.S. Congress to refute the Reagan agenda and return the federal government to its role of providing for and protecting citizens who need help and assistance, and that the new agenda include increases in social program spending to reduce poverty, homelessness, unemployment and medical indigency and that this program be financed through a combination of cuts in defense spending and increases in taxes paid by the rich and corporations; and


That AFSCME go on record in support of the following specific program changes:

Income Support: increasing AFDC benefit levels which have declined by over 70 percent since 1970, expanding AFDC to two-parent families in all states, and easing federal requirements to give homeless families greater access to these programs.

Affordable Housing: restoring federal funding for housing programs which have been slashed by the Reagan Administration. The number of housing units constructed for low income people should be increased to 1980 levels to help alleviate homelessness.

Food and Nutrition Programs: expanding federal food programs to alleviate hunger which affects an estimated 20 million Americans each month. This should include increasing the amount and availability of food stamps by increasing benefit levels and reducing asset restrictions; strengthening the school lunch and breakfast programs; expanding the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Supplemental Feeding Program; and expanding the Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) which provides surplus cheese and other food items to soup kitchens and food banks.

Energy Assistance: restoring federal funding for the low-income household energy assistance program (LIHEAP) which provides utility vouchers and rent supplements to low-income households to help cover their utility bills. LIHEAP was cut by 20 percent between FY 1987 and FY 1988 and faces an additional 25 percent cut in FY 1989.



Bettye W Roberts, President and Delegate
Council 1707
New York, New York

Flo Stern, Secretary-Treasurer
AFSCME Local 215, Council 1707
New York, New York