For Immediate Release
Contact: Natalia Pérez Santos

Interim Aid Package Leaves State and Local Public Service Workers Behind

AFSCME President Lee Saunders issued the following statement after Senate passage of an interim aid package failed to provide additional funding for struggling state and local governments, threatening the ability of workers to contain COVID-19:

“Day and night, public service workers remain on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, doing everything in their power to mitigate the impact on their communities. And yet, this latest relief package from Congress doesn’t do nearly enough to help them do their life-saving work.

“Helping small businesses and hospitals are important goals, and we applaud those provisions of the bill that just passed the Senate. But state and local government budgets are buckling under the strain of this public health crisis, and some have started to impose layoffs and furloughs. Nurses, corrections officers, paramedics, sanitation workers and others are putting their health and safety on the line. Are we really going to thank them by issuing them pink slips?

“Congress needs to get right back to work and pass a new bill that includes $700 billion in aid to state and local governments. We can’t abandon public service workers, not when demand for their expertise is at an all-time high, not in their communities’ hour of most urgent need, not when their work is the key to containing the pandemic and re-opening the economy. It’s time to fund the front lines.”