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An outpouring of support for AFSCME U.S. Capitol workers

Photo credit: Getty
By Pete Levine ·
Tags: Our Stories

Messages of support and solidarity have poured in from across the country for the members of AFSCME Local 626 (District Council 20) and others who work at the U.S. Capitol as employees of the Architect of the Capitol.

Brave AFSCME members were on the job on Jan. 6, when a violent mob stormed the Capitol in an effort to subvert the outcome of the presidential election.

Not only did these workers live through the violence and destruction of that day, but when order was restored, they swiftly returned to their jobs: cleaning and repairing the U.S. Capitol. They were instrumental in getting the Capitol ready for Wednesday’s inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

For their actions and heroism, grateful citizens, their fellow AFSCME members and nonmembers alike shared their gratitude and solidarity on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and through email.

“I want to send each and every one of you my thanks and gratitude for the work you do caring for our Capitol building,” Kim Lang from Burlington, Vermont, wrote. “While it has taken an act of horrible domestic terrorism to wake me up to the work you perform every day, I am so grateful for you cleaning up the mess made by the treasonous insurrectionists.”

Paige Barton of Beaverton, Oregon, also acknowledged the crucial but often unseen work performed by these AFSCME heroes: “Thank you so much for your dedication to serving the Capitol and the people. We see you, we understand the risk you're taking, and you are SO appreciated!”

Prayers for safety came from many, including Steve Koffroth, of Chino Hills, California: “Bless you all in this turbulent time. Though I am far away, I appreciate your service and wish you peace and safety.”

Carol Skrack of Portage, Pennsylvania, noted that the pandemic created additional responsibilities for the workers, as it has for so many AFSCME members nationwide: “Thank you for your service and for belonging to AFSCME. I can only imagine what you had to clean and how quickly you had to get the Capitol sanitized and ready for the congresspeople and their staffs. God Bless you!”

Rhonda Young from Bloomington, Illinois, gave voice to the horrors of that day, and the perseverance of Local 626 members.

“What you experienced was traumatic and wrong. The attack on the Capitol was a disgusting display of racism and bigotry. However, you did your job in the face of it. Thank you for representing the best of America, the best of humanity,” she said.

Scott Dombeck of Omaha, Nebraska, acknowledged the vital contributions – and the selflessness – of so many AFSCME members: “AFSCME Sisters and Brothers: Thank you for your essential work. What we do is often overlooked, that does not mean that it is not important. Solidarity Forever!”

These were but a few of the more than 100 expressions of support and solidarity that came in from across the country.

Members of District Council 20 were already coping with the death of Executive Director Andrew Washington from COVID-19 when the attack occurred.

Robert Hollingsworth, now DC 20’s acting executive director, released the following statement after the attack: “Our members at the Capitol building care for the grounds and the interior of the Capitol itself. After the attack on Wednesday, January 6th, they continued their work, which included cleaning up the mess left by the attack.

“As one can imagine, this was a traumatic experience for our members, yet they still answered the call of public service to restore the Capitol in the days after the attack so the business of our country could proceed.”

To express your gratitude and support for AFSCME members working in the U.S. Capitol, please click here.

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