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AFSCME members pressure Senate to act on aid to states, cities and towns

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By AFSCME Staff ·
AFSCME members pressure Senate to act on aid to states, cities and towns
Correctional officer Brian Miller and child care provider Miren Algorri

AFSCME members nationwide are pressuring their U.S. senators to approve aid to states, cities and towns that would allow communities across America to continue to provide essential public services during the coronavirus pandemic.

During an AFSCME tele-town hall Wednesday, our union’s President Lee Saunders said the Senate’s failure to act “will absolutely shatter our communities.”

“It will mean our hospitals are overwhelmed and understaffed,” Saunders said. “It will mean our schools don’t have the resources to educate our kids. It will mean our water supply is compromised, our garbage doesn’t get collected and our roads fall into disrepair.”

Saunders reiterated that the Senate must approve at least $1 trillion in flexible aid to states, cities and towns to prevent further cuts to essential public services and keep the nation from slipping into a depression.

AFSCME releases new round of ads in key states urging immediate Senate action to aid struggling states, cities, towns and schools. Read more.

He was joined on the call by two AFSCME members: Brian Miller, a correctional officer from Ohio and president of OCSEA Chapter 5110, and Miren Algorri, who runs a child care center facility out of her California home and is a member of Child Care Providers United. They urged their fellow AFSCME members to call their U.S. senators and demand that they approve a robust state and local aid package once the Senate returns from recess in a couple of weeks.

Miller, who suffered from COVID-19 after becoming infected on the job, said staff cuts and shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) that will result from Senate inaction “are a death sentence to corrections officers and inmates.”

“We already lost one corrections officer and a dozen inmates in the first wave, and that’s just at my prison,” he added. “More will lose their lives if the Senate continues to betray us and leaves every state, every city, every town on their own to fight this virus.”

Algorri, whose business has remained afloat thanks to state government intervention, said the Senate must act or countless day care centers like hers will go under.

“Throughout this pandemic, child care providers have been working overtime to find the necessary PPE and cleaning supplies that are needed to keep our doors open,” she said. “Many of us lack health care or are high-risk and the threat of contracting coronavirus is very scary. But we continue to keep our doors open because our communities and the parents that we serve need us. The Senate should be doing the same.”

Saunders praised Miller, Algorri and the AFSCME members on the call for their work and sacrifice during the pandemic.

“Even though many of our elected leaders have failed us, you continue to do life-and-death work with poise and professionalism,” he said. “During your communities’ time of greatest need, you are answering the call, showing what it means to commit your life to public service.”

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