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Boston is today’s stop for the Staff the Front Lines bus tour

AFSCME Council 93 member Manny DoRosario speaks at the Staff the Front Lines bus stop in Boston. Photo credit: Natalia Perez Santos
Boston is today’s stop for the Staff the Front Lines bus tour
By Natalia Perez Santos ·

BOSTON – The AFSCME Staff the Front Lines bus tour stopped here today to shine a light on the need to recruit and retain qualified workers for hundreds of thousands of public service jobs in the nation, including with the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  

 At an event held on the Boston Common, Council 93 Executive Director Mark Bernard, AFSCME members and officials from the city and the commonwealth held a press conference to draw attention to the staffing crisis and encourage people to apply. 

The press conference followed a private listening session, where AFSCME members and employers discussed strategies to better recruit and retain dedicated, qualified workers in Boston and the commonwealth. 

Officials in attendance were Bernadine Desanges, director of diversity for the City of Boston; John Langan, director of the commonwealth’s Office of Employee Relations; and Al Vega, the chief of strategy and engagement for the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health.  

From human services direct care to sanitation to public safety to corrections, chronic short staffing is undermining the effective delivery of public services that we all rely on. That’s why AFSCME launched the Staff the Front Lines initiative this year, to partner with elected officials on recruiting and retaining the essential workers who keep our communities running. The Staff the Front Lines bus is stopping in more than 20 major cities across the country this summer and holding recruitment events in many of them.  

Council 93’s Bernard, who’s also an AFSCME International vice president, said the union is working hard to improve workers’ pay, benefits and working conditions to attract qualified candidates and retain existing employees. 

“We’re already off to a great start with Governor Maura Healey, who worked with us and other public sector unions on a new contract that provides an 8% pay increase in this fiscal year alone. So, we ask you today to join us in this work. To answer the call to make a difference through public service. And to help us spread the word about the thousands of career opportunities that are available right now,” Bernard said.  

Manny DoRosario, an AFSCME member and a sergeant with Boston Code Enforcement, said his agency needs more than double the number of officers it has now. 

“Twelve officers currently cover the entire city of Boston, but we should have closer to 25. Not only do we provide on-the-job training, but [by] working in public service, you earn fair pay and good benefits – enough to live comfortably and [have] time off to enjoy with loved ones,” he said.  

Langan, with the commonwealth’s employee relations office, recalled a time when he saw a hospital worker feeding a sick woman and treating her with dignity and respect.  

“That is the work our front-line workers do day in and day out,” he said. “So, I’m asking all of you to reach out to your friends and family. If people want a great job, great benefits, start working for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Apply today – your job is waiting for you.”  

Desanges, the city’s diversity director, urged people to apply for city jobs and serve their communities.  

“Now is the time [to] work on filling these public service jobs and growing the public services we all rely on. Now is the time to diversify our public service workforce,” Desanges said.  

Vega, with the commonwealth’s occupational safety office, said it’s important for a community’s residents to provide public services to that community. 

“People … prefer and want to see people from their communities doing these jobs,” Vega said. “They want these jobs to help make their communities stronger and be fully staffed so the services they provide are available and efficient when done.”   

To learn more about AFSCME’s national bus tour, visit   

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