Frontline public workers have been our first line of defense against the novel coronavirus. From Riverside County to Los Angeles to Ventura County, SEIU 721 public service workers have answered the call and gone above and beyond to keep local communities safe and functioning during this crisis. However, despite their heroic efforts, workers on frontlines are now facing the threat of cuts and unemployment.
With local businesses closed, city and county governments have lost billions of dollars of tax revenues. The County of Los Angeles alone has lost over $1 billion in sales taxes.
Meanwhile Congress has been busy bailing out corporations, and largely ignoring state and local government. The only relief has been to cover coronavirus-related expenses. There has been no help at all in filling the huge funding gap due to lost tax revenues!
Now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says that, rather than counting on help from the federal government, state and local governments should declare bankruptcy!
And the federal government’s lack of support is already threatening SEIU 721 members.
The Mayor of Los Angeles’ proposed budget calls for 26 furlough days for civilian employees, amounting to a 10% pay cut. Surrounding counties and cities may be next.
The County of Los Angeles, facing a projected budget deficit of more than a billion dollars, has imposed a hard hiring freeze on non-essential positions, has instructed departments to plan for 15-20% curtailments, and is planning cuts to employee benefits.
Riverside County, which just ratified a new contract with 721 workers, is projecting an $80 million budget deficit, in what Supervisor Kevin Jeffries calls, “a perfect storm of finances.”
We must make it clear that any cuts to public services are unacceptable. It is an outrage that the heroes of this crisis are in line to bear the brunt of the economic impact.
Tell your legislators. We need a #Stimulus4Workers of at least $500 billion to stabilize local governments, protect vital services and avoid cuts and layoffs.
Stay tune for information on our National Day of Action – April 30th – where public workers will be asked to call their legislators and demand a stimulus for workers NOW!