For Immediate Release
Contact: Natalia Pérez Santos

Saunders: American Rescue Plan a historic victory for public service workers

AFSCME president hails the ‘unrelenting sacrifice and bold advocacy’ of public service workers who led the way in the successful fight to secure nearly $700 billion in investment in public services, including $360 billion in flexible aid for struggling states, cities, counties and schools

AFSCME President Lee Saunders issued the following statement lauding the passage of the American Rescue Plan and praising President Biden for his swift and decisive leadership to shore up public services and support working families: 

“This is a historic victory for public service workers and working families across the country. The American Rescue Plan is a bold and comprehensive expression of our values. Among many other things, this landmark legislation will deliver families a vital economic lifeline in the form of $1,400 checks, protect health care coverage for those who have lost their jobs and invest in the public services we need to finally crush this virus and build back better. I want to thank President Biden for making this his highest priority and for standing with us every step of the way.

“For over a year, front-line public service workers have put their lives on the line to beat back this pandemic. Often understaffed, underfunded and working without the proper PPE, they fought day after grueling day to save lives and protect their communities. AFSCME members also raised their collective voices so loudly and in such an unprecedented way that their elected leaders could not ignore them.” 

Throughout the past year, AFSCME members:

  • Generated more than 150,000 calls and letters to Congress and the White House;  
  • Partnered with state and local officials, businesses and non-profits to highlight unique needs in their communities;
  • Launched television and ad campaigns;
  • Told their stories to the White House and Congress through countless press events. Their message was clear: fund the front lines.

Saunders continued:

“When the previous administration and Senate majority tried to walk away from this crisis, public service workers turned up the heat, combining their devotion to their jobs with the kind of grassroots political activism AFSCME is known for. They organized and mobilized, holding politicians accountable. They helped elect President Biden and flip the Senate, in particular through their voter engagement work during the Georgia runoffs. With their unrelenting sacrifice and bold advocacy, public service workers led the way in the successful fight to secure aid for struggling states, cities, counties and schools.

“Public service workers deserve more than thanks; they deserve respect. That means a guaranteed seat at the table and recognizing that their collective voice leads to safer, healthier and stronger communities. It’s time that everyone treat them as the heroes that they are.”