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Labor leaders join their voices together to call on Senate to pass Heroes Act

AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka (left, facing camera) and AFSCME’s Lee Saunders (right, facing camera). Getty Images file photo
Labor leaders join their voices together to call on Senate to pass Heroes Act
By AFSCME Staff ·

Labor leaders came together Thursday to call on the Senate to pass the Heroes Act, a House-approved bill that includes nearly $1 trillion in federal aid to states, cities and towns. The aid is essential in helping communities across the country continue to deliver essential public services.

“We need a $1 trillion aid package to states, cities, towns and school districts. And we need it today. We needed it yesterday. We needed it back in May when the House passed the Heroes Act,” Saunders said on a press call. “Every day that senators dither and delay is another day of suffering and hardship in communities nationwide.”

On the call, hosted by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Saunders was joined by Anthony Shelton, president of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM); UNITE HERE President D. Taylor; and Kate Shindle, president of the Actors’ Equity Association.

Labor leaders agreed that Congress must pass the Heroes Act or watch as workers all over the country continue to struggle to pay rent, put food on the table and maintain health care coverage.

“When voters feel the pain of lost jobless benefits, when they see longer emergency response times and trash piling up in their streets, when they see small businesses in their communities going under, when they face eviction or foreclosure, rest assured, they will know exactly whom to blame in the upcoming election,” Saunders warned.

For months, AFSCME members have been mobilizing at the grass roots through our union’s “Fund the Front Lines” campaign. They’ve generated 67,000 calls and letters to Capitol Hill. Our union has also run national and state-based television ads making the case that this aid is the key to defeating COVID-19 and safely reopening our economy.

Polling shows that 84% of voters approve of significant federal aid for states and localities to overcome the devastating effects of the coronavirus on the economy, as well as to maintain vital public services. Even 77% of voters in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky back $1 trillion in federal aid to states, cities, towns and schools, and overwhelmingly reject his suggestion that states should declare bankruptcy to deal with the budget shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

McConnell and his Republican colleagues in the Senate have a different choice than to sit on their hands, Saunders said.

“They can pass a COVID-relief bill that helps working people, funds essential public services and kickstarts an economic recovery,” he said. “So, let’s end the partisanship and posturing and fund the front lines.”

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