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For Immediate Release

Sunday, September 06, 2015

AFSCME Hosts Presidential Town Halls

Working people in Iowa and nationwide participate in democratic endorsement process.

Des Moines, IA — 

Members of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in Iowa and across the nation tuned in this Labor Day weekend for livestreamed town halls with Sec. Hillary Clinton, Gov. Martin O’Malley, and Sen. Bernie Sanders. The events gave working people and retirees the chance to interview the U.S. Presidential candidates about the issues that matter most to them: restoring balance to the economy, making a decent living to provide for their families, retirement security, and the ability of workers to bargain collectively.

Town hall participants in Iowa and nationwide provided feedback through surveys after the event as part of AFSCME’s democratic and transparent presidential endorsement process.

“People are working harder than ever, but basics like groceries and rent are eating up more and more of our paychecks every month,” said Iowa member and mother, Paula Martinez. “We asked the candidates how we can help our children achieve a better life if we can’t afford quality child care, let alone college.”

Public service workers are looking for a president who will balance the economy, and ensure it rewards hard work. They want a President who strengthens workers’ right to collectively bargain for wages and benefits, making it possible to sustain a family and retire with dignity.

“It seems like the rules are manipulated to help those at the top,” said Marc Wallace, an AFSCME Iowa member and veteran. “We’re feeling that unfairness just like everybody else and that’s what I came into this weekend hoping to hear the candidates address.”

Since the spring, AFSCME has been gathering feedback on the Presidential candidates and their vision for America from members nationwide through polling, surveys, and forums. The union sent questionnaires in the late spring to both Republican and Democratic candidates. The three candidates who filled out their questionnaires were invited to meet with our member-elected board of 35 international vice-presidents who represent councils and affiliates from across the country.

AFSCME invited the three candidates to participate in the Iowa town halls. Following the town halls, AFSCME will continue to engage our members and retirees to receive feedback on the Presidential nominees. Any endorsement decision will be driven by this member input and will be determined through a vote by the member-elected International Executive Board.

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