As the COVID-19 public health crisis persists, state and local government budgets are beginning to be squeezed because of lost revenues. This threat to our social safety net also threatens CWA's public service members, whose jobs are on the line as politicians look for places to cut. CWA members are mobilizing to defend the public sector, their jobs, and the services they provide by calling on the U.S. Senate to pass the HEROES Act.
The HEROES Act is being held up by members of the Republican majority in the Senate, who are refusing to take action on the bill, which would provide over a trillion dollars in critical aid to state and local governments, and address other urgent needs like premium pay for essential workers, extending unemployment, scaling up testing and tracing, defending elections, and more. From New York to New Mexico, members have made thousands of calls to union members and supporters to get them to call their Senators to urge support for the HEROES Act.
"We've got to make these Senators in Washington D.C. hear the message loud and clear: the crisis will only get worse if they don't act," said Josh Smyser, a member of CWA Local 3865 who participated in the phone banking. "Enough with the typical BS, we need action."
During the Great Recession, insufficient and delayed support for state and local governments prolonged the economic crisis. Unable to borrow, the public sector faces the prospect of having to make deep cuts – as much as half a trillion by 2022 – which threatens the country's ability to recover.
"Not only are our jobs on the line, but so are the critical services our communities rely on," said Smyser." Saving our public sector helps all of us."