AFSCME Fiscal Stabilization During COVID-19 Pandemic

PDF icon leadership_faqs_final.pdf

PDF icon fiscal_stabilization_for_state_and_local_governments_03202020.pdf

On Behalf of AFSCME President Lee Saunders:

Union Family:

I am writing to provide information on two important subjects:

1. Guidance on elections and other matters

2. Urging employers to demand state and local aid

Guidance on elections and other matters

Many of you have asked about whether it is permissible to delay officer and delegate elections; ratification of MOU’s related to adjustments necessitated by the Coronavirus; convening remote executive board and membership meetings; and delaying the filing of federal LM-2 or similar forms. Attached are responses to those questions. We know that there will be additional questions as you try to implement this guidance, and we stand ready to provide any additional guidance.

Urging Employers to demand state and local aid

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating unprecedented demands on AFSCME members as they respond while protecting themselves and their loved ones.  I am proud that our union has come together to support the communities we serve and each other.  But, as we’ve seen this week, this crisis is likely to be prolonged and has already caused financial hardship that we could not foresee just two weeks ago. As Congress debates what to do, now is the time for a full court press to make sure that any stimulus bills – now and in the future – include badly needed state and local aid.

Ten years ago, the Great Recession took its toll on our members and our union.  We are still recovering from layoffs, furloughs, pay cuts, and draconian reductions in health and retirement benefits.  Right wing politicians seized the opportunity to attack our union and our members’ freedom to engage in collective bargaining.

To avoid or mitigate these effects, we must act boldly and aggressively to ensure our public employers have the resources they need to support our communities and keep our members on the job.  In addition to enhancing the federal share of Medicaid payments (FMAP) and supporting Title I Education funding increases, AFSCME has launched a campaign to achieve direct general assistance to state and local governments to support their FY 2020 and 2021 operations.  We are seeking at least $175 billion in such aid, approximately equal to 7% of state and local governments’ own source revenues.  Crucially, our proposal would require aid to local governments which often suffer reductions in aid to local governments as states seek to balance their own budget. Accordingly, we have prioritized fiscal stabilization funding to state and local governments in the latest COVID-19 response policies.

Senate Leader McConnell’s initial proposal contains no such support, and there is little talk of adding it to his bill or to future bills. We must change this.  We urge you to engage in conversations with your employers immediately and urge them to demand from their elected federal representatives appropriate fiscal support.  Attached to this message you will find an issue brief that explains and justifies our proposal.