For Immediate Release

AFSCME’s Saunders: Public service workers deserve the freedom to negotiate

WASHINGTON — AFSCME President Lee Saunders released the following statement after the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act was introduced in the U.S. House and Senate:
“Public service workers are the heartbeat of our communities. We are on the front lines during times of crisis, often putting the needs of others before our own. However, in many states across the nation, public service workers do not have the freedom to negotiate the terms of their employment.
“Today, we applaud Senator Hirono and Representatives Cartwright and Fitzpatrick for again introducing the bipartisan Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, which would finally give public service workers nationwide collective bargaining rights. With a seat at the table, we can fight for fair pay, better benefits, and safer working conditions — all of which are critical for recruiting and retaining qualified people to work in public service. Collective bargaining also gives us the power to protect and improve vital services — for example, keeping library doors open, getting sanitation workers the equipment they need, and ensuring there are enough paraprofessionals to help students with disabilities.  
“During a time when many public services face drastic staffing shortages and turnover, we must identify ways to strengthen this workforce. The Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act will help do this and more. We urge Congress to pass this legislation.”