Begin Public Service Recognition Week by supporting state, local public employees
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 4, 2020) — Public Service Recognition Week has begun. The best way you can honor public employees’ service right now is by fighting to save their jobs.
State and local governments are facing major budget crises due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. House of Representatives wants to step up now and provide emergency funding to protect public hospitals, public schools and public services like firefighting, law enforcement and transportation from devastating cuts. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) stands in the way. He has callously suggested to allow states to go bankrupt rather than provide emergency funding.
Members of Congress have a choice: They can stand with McConnell or they can stand with the frontline workers, like teachers and nurses, who are getting us through this crisis — and will continue to do so in its aftermath. Standing with the heroes means Congress must provide state, local and school aid while state economies are effectively shut down.
TAKE A STAND — The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is urging all union members and community supporters to contact your senators and representatives and tell them that you expect then to support state and local aid.
Despite being starved of revenue by the necessary stay-home orders needed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, states are spending heavily on expenses like providing COVID-19 testing to their residents; acquiring personal protective equipment for their healthcare workers; and paying the salaries of the public safety officers who are protecting us, and the educators and school staff who are teaching students remotely, and even feeding them. This is money that states need to be able to continue to save lives.
“For the foreseeable future, our communities will be coping with the loss of family and friends, record levels of unemployment and an economic crisis on par with the Great Depression,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “They’re going to need help getting back on their feet, and the loss of several months’ revenue has been devastating. They are counting on federal support to make sure our cities and towns can literally keep the lights on.”
Please send a letter to your members of Congress urging them to make a $1 trillion investment in state and local governments to stabilize public services and put us on a path to reopen safely.
► ALSO from AFSCME — Public Service Army (video) — We have what it takes to defeat this pandemic, protect our communities and get our economy moving again. But it’s going to take a robust, well-stocked public service army to get it done.