Hear From AFSCME Members

 Tawanda Ciccone

"We are facing a shortage of 911 dispatchers. We’ve adjusted to ensure the people of Rochester are not met with a hold tone – but we need help. If you apply for a job in public service, you won’t regret it. There is no work that is more rewarding or valuable.”

- Tawanda Ciccone 911 Dispatcher City of Rochester Council 66, Local 1635
Jacob Brown

“The truth is we need more workers to ensure that our environment remains pristine. These are good union jobs that you will fall in love with. Imagine watching the sun set over Lake Michigan at the end of every shift. No other job compares to this.”

- Jacob Brown Lead Worker 9 Michigan Department of Natural Resources MSEA
Sue Bosco

“The beautiful thing about public service is that it doesn’t matter how old or how young you are or where you come from. If you have a passion to serve your community, you can do this work. That is why public service often reflects the diversity of the communities we serve.”

- Sue Bosco Medical Assistance Program Technician Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Council 13
Tim Douglass

“Working in public service has given me the ability to grow and build a career I never could’ve imagined. Every day, I get to give back to my community, and with a career in public service, you can too.”

- Tim Douglass Boat Operator / Captain City of San Diego Local 127
Marilyn Anthony

“To keep our communities safe, healthy and strong – we need you. Being a bedside nurse is one of the most important and most rewarding jobs you could possibly do in your lifetime. This is on top of amazing health care and retirement benefits, which truly allow you to take care of your own family as you take care of others.”

- Marilyn Anthony Registered Nurse City of San Diego CHCA District 1199, NUHHCE 
Wendy Smith

During the pandemic, there was so much need. People depended on us to get them tested and vaccinated. Even though we were overwhelmed and understaffed, I always reminded myself that we are the only access to health care that some people might have. I care about showing up for them.


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- Wendy Smith Community Health Nurse, AFSCME Local 558
Crosby Smith

I'm committed to taking care of my patients, that's what keeps me going. But the staffing crisis is taking its toll. Some of us are working 16 hours straight with no breaks. We want to do everything we can for our patients, and I know we could if we had enough people on the job.


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- Crosby Smith Care Provider Council 31 AFSCME Local 2645
Heather Burke

We're out in the field every day, working one-on-one with kids to ensure they're safe. But we're losing staff, which means kids in need are losing these crucial home visits. We can't allow them to be left behind. We need more people in the community doing this essential work.


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- Heather Burke Social Case Worker Council 18 AFSCME Local 3927
Sheron Mickens

When there is a crisis like COVID-19 or Hurricane Ian, the caseload increases, and the short staffing becomes even more of a challenge. We work overtime and weekends to try to assist because the need does not stop. It makes it hard to retain employees. Our communities deserve better.


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- Sheron Mickens Hearing Specialist Council 79 AFSCME Local 3076
Shirley Eby

As a corrections officer, you got to be a doctor, a psychiatrist, a social worker, a chaplain, and sometimes you got to be a momma. We do everything we can to help folks get through a difficult situation, but there's only so many of us. We need back up.


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- Shirley Eby Correctional Captain Council 17 AFSCME Local 2702

About Staff the Front Lines

Across the country, states, cities, towns and schools face severe staffing shortages. Public service workers are on the job around the clock, caring for our communities and responding to emergencies. But they need help.

Through important legislation like the American Rescue Plan, the Biden Administration provided direct relief to working families and secured historic investments for our communities that brought our economy back from the brink and kept essential workers on the job.

But this legislation was only the first step on our path to recovery.

For decades, public services have been understaffed. To address this crisis, AFSCME members are organizing together to Staff the Front Lines. We are working with governors, mayors, city council members and other leaders to urge them to invest in public service workers and recruit qualified and passionate people to work in public service. Our communities are counting on us.

Stories from the Front Lines