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‘We Will Emerge Stronger Because of Your Heroic Work’

Previous Behavioral Health Workers Share Challenges of Treatment During COVID-19 Pandemic
By AFSCME Staff ·

In a tele-town hall on Saturday, AFSCME President Lee Saunders thanked members across the country for the critical, life-saving work they are doing in response to the coronavirus pandemic and acknowledged the unconscionable challenges they are facing.

“I know that people are exhausted and scared. The need is overwhelming and the stakes are life and death. Anxiety levels are understandably high and emotions are raw. But still, you continue to answer the call and do the work. Thank you again for putting your communities first,” Saunders said.

He went on to discuss the various ways in which AFSCME has members’ backs and urged them to visit a web page AFSCME created just for coronavirus pandemic resources

Too many workers are being forced to put themselves and their families at risk by going to work without the masks, gloves, goggles, respirators and other personal protective equipment (PPE) they need, Saunders said.

He discussed AFSCME’s ongoing efforts to secure more PPE from the federal government, underscoring that we are pushing President Trump to exercise his full authority under the 1950 Defense Production Act and order U.S. industry to immediately accelerate the manufacture and distribution of PPE.

When Congress was debating a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package – which Saunders has called a down payment on what the country needs – AFSCME made sure it included $150 billion in funding for state and local governments. But that’s not enough.

“Congress has to get back to work and do a lot more to fund the front lines. In addition to other provisions, we need at least $200 billion in additional aid – this time unrestricted aid – to states, counties and municipalities to support public services,” Saunders said.

Saunders concluded with a message of hope and resilience in the face of the worst public health crisis our country has faced.

“We will emerge stronger – as a union and as a nation – because of your heroic work, because of your competence and composure, because of everything you’re doing in the face of so much adversity and uncertainty,” he said.

Listen to the Call

Hear the audio from the April 4 tele-town hall:

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