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Staff the Front Lines bus tour stops in San Diego

Photo: Andrew Dudenbostel
Staff the Front Lines bus tour stops in San Diego
By AFSCME Staff ·

As part of its Staff the Front Lines bus tour, AFSCME President Lee Saunders, members of UDW/AFSCME Local 3930 and AFSCME District Council 36 joined San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria for a press conference in San Diego on the urgent need to fill public service vacancies in that city and across the country.

“We have brought this bus to San Diego to send a simple but critically important message: The public service is hiring,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “The ‘Help Wanted’ sign is out. Public service employers around the country are looking for talented, energetic people to fill important and fulfilling jobs. All told, there are 970,000 state and local government job openings nationwide.”

The press conference followed a private listening session, where AFSCME members discussed strategies with city elected officials on how to improve recruitment and retain qualified public service workers.

One step that AFSCME is taking to fill the gap in public service jobs is to hold job fairs in select cities, with a special focus on recruiting in communities of color.

Joining Pres. Saunders was San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, who recognized the critical role that public service workers play in his city, emphasizing that his administration intends to compensate them for that vital work.

“To San Diegans, I’m here to say that I’m putting out a call,” said Gloria. “I’m here to recruit you to work in public service, an honorable profession, that could use a few more good people. If you raise your hand to come work for the City of San Diego, not only will you get the daily opportunity to make your community a better place to live, but you will be rewarded with a good union job with fair pay, great benefits, job and retirement security.”

Doug Moore, Executive Director of UDW, spotlighted the growing need for home care workers.

“As our city’s senior population grows, we need home care workers now more than ever,” said Moore. “We need talented people who care about their communities to step in and fill these roles, which is why we’re engaging our elected leaders and community allies in these important conversations.”

Tim Douglass, president of AFSCME Local 127, which represents workers in San Diego and Coronado, spoke about the ways in which his city’s elected leaders have stepped up to staff the front lines when jobs were shed during the pandemic.

“Together, we worked on a historic new contract that includes a 21% salary increase over the next three years, with an additional 10% salary increase for the majority of our union’s membership,” said Douglass. “We are proud to say that we have already reached full staffing in some department job classifications. But there are still a lot more of these jobs available.”

Child care provider and AFSCME member Miren Algorri spoke about how a job serving her community has also let her experience the union difference.

“At the core, being a child care provider is about giving back to our communities,” said Algorri. “But we also have … paid time off, increased rates for subsidized care, a training fund to help us expand our education, a health care fund to help us cover medical expenses and for the first time in history – a path to retirement!”

From San Diego, the Staff the Front Lines bus will make its way to Phoenix and Albuquerque.

Staff the Front Lines bus tour in the news

KPBS: Looking for a job? The City of San Diego is currently hiring for public service jobs

San Diego News: Gloria urges people to apply for public sector jobs

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