AFSCME Council 5 and 65 Call on Congress to Fund the Front Lines!

The following letter was sent to Minnesota's Congressional Delegation as part of our #FundtheFrontLines Day of Action on February 4, 2021.

To Minnesota’s U.S. Congressional Delegation:

On behalf of the 43,000 members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 5 and 13,500 members of AFSCME Council 65, we urge you to support a coronavirus relief package that is based on President Joe Bidens American Rescue Plan to provide aid as soon as possible.

Minnesota and our country are suffering from one of the worst health and economic catastrophes ever. There have been nearly 450,000 deaths and millions of Americans have lost their jobs or are under-employed due to the pandemic. In Minnesota, there have been over 463,766 COVID cases and 6,234 resulting deaths. The U.S. economy lost more than 22 million jobs at the height of the pandemic last year, including nearly 8% of Minnesota’s workforce. According to the Economic Policy Institute, 26.8 million workers—15.8% of the workforce—are being directly hurt by the coronavirus crisis. People are struggling to buy food and other necessities. There is also an escalating housing crisis and many people are struggling to pay rent or their mortgage.

We must act quickly and boldly to get our country in a position to rebuild a new future rooted in the lived experiences of working families. AFSCME Council 5 and Council 65 supports President Bidens $1.9 trillion plan as a starting point for Congress to put together a robust economic recovery package. The plan includes $600 billion to support public services, including $350 billion in flexible aid to state and local governments, education funding, public transit funding, increased unemployment benefits, raising the minimum wage, direct cash payments, and eradicating the virus by providing funding for testing, contact tracing, vaccine distribution and PPE. Front-line workers like nurses, general maintenance workers, correctional officers and security counselors, social workers, clerical workers and others continued working throughout the pandemic keeping communities safe and healthy. Flexible, direct aid is now needed to avoid deep cuts in vital public services and more layoffs that we face due to our state’s $1 billion budget deficit.

Now is not the time to withhold or restrict needed spending. Substantial investment is urgently needed to help Americans that are suffering and to stimulate economic recovery.

In solidarity, 

Julie Bleyhl, Executive Director, AFSCME Council 5

Shannon Douvier, Executive Director, AFSCME Council 65