‘Strong public services’ needed to beat pandemic, re-open economy
Washington — The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME ) has launched an ad campaign urging Congress and President Donald Trump to approve desperately needed state and local aid to keep front-line public service workers on the job to fight the pandemic and reopen the economy.
The ads, running in Missouri, are part of the 1.4 million-member union’s “Fund the Front Lines” campaign are running on cable and social media, focusing front-line health care, education, sanitation, corrections and other public services that are on verge of being gutted.
“Front-line health care workers, corrections officers, home and child care providers, sanitation workers and other public service workers put their lives on the line every day to save ours. America refuses to thank them with pink slips,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “Public service workers and the services they provide are essential to beating this pandemic and opening the economy.”
The ads, titled “Front-Line Fighters” and “Public Service Army,” (https://www.afscme.org/covid-19/take-action/ftfl-vids) began running in key states and the District of Columbia. State and local budgets have been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, and many have already announced furloughs and layoffs of front-line public service workers – the very people responsible for fighting the virus and reopening our economy.
Taxpayers in large and small communities across America would see services such as health care, emergency response, public safety, education, corrections, home and child care, sanitation, water treatment and other essential services gutted unless Congress and the president act.
More than a million state and local government jobs have been lost since the Covid-19 crisis began. The jobs include police officers and fire fighters, health care workers, emergency responders, social service providers and teachers. Millions more of these workers and the critical services they provide will be lost unless Congress and the administration act quickly to help close state and local governments’ widening budget holes.
The House of Representatives passed legislation two weeks ago that would come to the rescue of state and local governments, providing nearly $1 trillion in aid. The measure still needs approval by the Senate and the Trump administration.