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NV Senators, Front-Line Workers Call for State, Local Aid

Photo credits: Cyndy Hernandez, Offices of U.S. Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen, and Antonio Gabola
Previous A fiscal tsunami is headed for states, cities, towns. Why is the Senate still not acting?

LAS VEGAS – Nevada public service workers joined their state’s U.S. senators, Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, in urging the Senate to pass federal aid to states, cities and towns to maintain critical public services to beat the coronavirus pandemic and safely open the economy.

Facing a record 28.2% unemployment rate and an estimated budget deficit between $741 million and $911 million for just the current fiscal year due to COVID-19, Nevada’s dedicated public service workers are concerned they will be thanked for serving on the front lines during the pandemic with pink slips. As a result, the services Nevadans depend on like education, public safety and health care could be put in jeopardy.

“Firefighters, police officers, nurses, teachers, and custodial workers are among the thousands of front-line state and local employees all over Nevada working tirelessly to keep our communities safe,” Cortez Masto said during Wednesdays press call with AFSCME members. “I’m doing everything I can in the United States Senate to support state and local governments so that they can keep up the services that all Nevadans rely on, retain essential staff, and shepherd the reopening of our economy.”  

Rosen praised Nevada public service workers for providing Nevadans with critical services at a time of great need.

“These brave men and women are risking their health to serve their communities, and we owe it to them to ensure their health and safety as we work to reopen our state’s economy,” Rosen said. “The next legislative relief package must include robust support for our state and local governments so that they can pay our teachers, first responders, law enforcement personnel, sanitation workers, corrections officers, and others on the front lines of this crisis.”

Voters overwhelming support aid to states, cities and town to maintain critical services.

“Thousands of public service workers across the state like myself have continued to show up during these challenging times, putting our lives on the line, to ensure our communities have what they need to stay safe and healthy. Custodial workers are especially essential in slowing the spread of COVID-19 by implementing additional cleaning measures at hospitals, clinics, schools and offices. Cuts to public services put our communities at risk,” said AFSCME Local 4041 member Stephanie Dube, a custodial worker at Desert Willow Treatment Center in Las Vegas.

AFSCME members are asking that Congress pass as much aid as it takes to support state and local governments so public service workers have the resources to fight this pandemic and re-open our economy. Nevada can do neither if the very public service workers who are risking their lives to keep Nevada’s communities safe, healthy and strong are laid off.

“As we work together towards reopening our economy, cutting vital public services means that recovery in rural parts of our state will take longer. Our communities cannot afford these cuts. The Senate must pass an aid package that will allow states and localities to avoid layoffs, fund more health care and education, and protect public services for all communities.,” said AFSCME member and Washoe Chapter President Daphne Deleon, a project manager for the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation’s vocational rehabilitation division.

The House of Representatives has passed the HEROES Act, which includes about $1 trillion in state and local aid. But that bill has stalled in the Senate. Despite bipartisan support for congressional aid and calls from the business community for helping states, cities and towns weather the financial crisis, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, remains unmoved as of now. He even suggested at one point that states should declare bankruptcy.

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