Wednesday morning, SEIU 721 members joined with other COVID-19 frontline union workers outside of Trump National Golf Club in Palos Verdes to tell the federal government, “Don’t bankrupt the front line!”
The assembled speakers reflected the breadth and diversity of Southern California’s public sector heroes and included:
- Dr. Erica Barrios, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (CIR)
- Theresa Monroe, Registered Nurse, LAC+USC Medical Center (SEIU 721)
- Miguel Segura, Eligibility Worker II, LA County Department of Public Social Services/El Monte Office (SEIU 721)
- James Wheeler, 31-Year Patrol Deputy, Vice President of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS)
- Simboa Wright, Wastewater Collection Worker II, City of Los Angeles (SEIU 721)
- Tony Coleman, 22-Year Custody Assistant, Secretary of the Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association
- Dr. Monica Deshmukh, Olive View Medical Center – UAPD
Each spoke to the essential work done by their colleagues and the danger that they brave every single day during the COVID crisis. They told stories of emergency shutdowns at offices, co-workers sleeping in tents to protect their families from infection and the everyday love and appreciation they’re shown by the community.
They contrasted the past two months of sacrifice and community support with the lack of support from the federal government and called on Washington, D.C. to pass a $500 billion stimulus to protect public jobs and services.
“Today’s heroes cannot become tomorrow’s unemployed! We are on the frontlines, even without enough protective equipment, because COVID-19 is still attacking our communities and the American people still need us. But we are about to be totally betrayed, bankrupted and abandoned by leaders in Washington,” said Wright.
As the novel Coronavirus endangers the health and well-being of our nation, America’s frontline workers – who have done their duty and kept our country’s vital emergency public services operational while millions stay at home – are in danger of being bankrupted and abandoned due to Washington, DC’s refusal to provide desperately needed funding to local governments.
COVID-19’s ravaging of the economy already means the City of Los Angeles faces a projected revenue loss of $117 million for 2019-2020 and another $178 million for 2020-21. Los Angeles County anticipates a $1.3 billion loss for 2019-20 and an additional $2.3 billion for 2020-21.
Trump and his allies – many who serve in the U.S. Senate and are finally returning to work this week – also have signaled complete willingness to allow scores of American cities and counties to file for bankruptcy rather than contribute any federal taxpayer dollars towards helping shore up funding of vital public services.
Without action from Washington, our frontlines will be abandoned at the very moment when we need to strengthen the public services that local communities will continue to depend on through the duration of this crisis – and in the aftermath – as communities, cities and counties struggle to recover.
We cannot allow that to happen! Every public worker must stand up and demand action from the federal government. Without it, the heroes of the frontline may soon be on the unemployment line. Stay tuned and connected with your union – text SEIU to 31996to receive real time updates. SEIU 721 member involvement is critical to our ability to fight and win for workers like you.