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The availability of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is an exciting development in the fight to get the pandemic under control--and welcome news for Council 4 members and other frontline worke

AFSCME President Lee Saunders called the victories of the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s Senate runoff elections “a bold mandate for change.”

Congress has passed – and the president on Friday quickly signed – a $484 billion relief bill for small businesses and hospitals hurting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to ramp up coronavirus testing. But the measure fails to provide another critical piece of aid – assistance to state and local governments whose ability to provide basic services will collapse absent federal intervention.

Editor’s note: The following is a story from the front lines of the fight against COVID-19, as told by a member in Washington state:

“My name is Kristina Johnson-Short and I am a social services specialist with the Division of Children, Youth and Families in Washington state. I’m a proud AFSCME member, a shop steward and president of AFSCME Local 1054 (WFSE). I am also a domestic violence survivor.

It’s become clear that relief bills Congress has approved thus far, including the record $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, won’t be enough to quell the health and economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What other aid should Congress provide? AFSCME has recommendations.

AFSCME members working for the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) are hopping busy these days fulfilling a critical mission. They are helping Louisianans survive as the Bayou State’s economy buckles under pressure from the coronavirus pandemic.

While most people are taking steps to limit contact with others, the vital job duties of AFSCME members require that they do just the opposite. Council 4 members are, and will continue to be, on the front lines providing the vital public services that individuals and families of Connecticut need during this unprecedented global health crisis.

Updating wills before heading into work. Extending the lives of single-use masks. Self-isolating from their own families. These are just some of the shameful realities and conditions health care workers on the front lines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic are facing each day.

Before the announcement early Wednesday of an unprecedented $2 trillion deal to combat the coronavirus pandemic, AFSCME President Lee Saunders and three front-line workers put pressure on federal lawmakers to come through with a robust aid package for state and local governments so they can rebuild decimated public services.

The coronavirus aid package that cleared Congress is just not good enough for public service workers. That’s the takeaway message from AFSCME President Lee Saunders.