AFSCME.org Press Release Feed http://www.afscme.org/rss/press-releases AFSCME.org Press Releases Tue, 3 May 2011 05:00:00 +0000 AMPS en hourly 1 AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Trump’s Decision to End Vital ACA Subsidies http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-trump-decision-to-end-vital-aca-subsidies Fri, 13 Oct 2017 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-trump-decision-to-end-vital-aca-subsidies AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s decision to end vital health care subsidies under the Affordable Care Act:

“With this decision, the president has ushered in the era of Trumpcare, under which Americans will have fewer coverage choices and face skyrocketing premium costs.

“By sabotaging the health care system just as open enrollment is set to begin, the president has all but guaranteed that insurers will abandon the market and working families will bear the brunt of the pain.

“Americans will go broke, get sicker or worse because of this decision. There is no reasonable justification for the president to have taken this action. Making the lives of Americans leverage for political purposes is unacceptable.

“Congress must move forward quickly with legislation that builds on the progress made through the Affordable Care Act instead of sabotaging it.”

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on House Budget Resolution http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-house-budget-resolution-october Thu, 05 Oct 2017 15:58:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-house-budget-resolution-october AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the U.S. House of Representatives passing the 2018 House Budget Resolution:

“Our kids deserve to grow up with quality health care and education. Seniors who have worked hard their whole lives should be able to count on Medicare and Medicaid when they need it. Our roads, bridges and schools are badly in need of repair. And yet the House of Representatives voted today to gut them all, in order to give tax breaks to those who need help the least. It is unconscionable to give a penny more to the billionaires and corporations who have rigged the rules to their own benefit, at the expense of already underfunded health care, education, infrastructure and other public services.

“The cuts contained in this budget will be felt in very real and tangible ways by our communities. Every member of Congress who voted for this budget resolution today voted to degrade the basic quality of life for American working families.”

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Pres. Trump’s Puerto Rico Comments http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-pres-trumps-puerto-rico-comments Sat, 30 Sep 2017 15:00:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-pres-trumps-puerto-rico-comments Lee Saunders, president of the 1.6 million-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), issued the following statement regarding President Trump’s tweets on Puerto Rico relief efforts:

“The president’s tweets this morning dishonor the thousands of Puerto Rican public service workers who are tirelessly trying to save their communities, even though many have no water, electricity or phone service themselves. President Trump has proven once again that he has no respect for the everyday heroes who go above and beyond to save their neighbors and communities.”

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Workers on Janus: A Political Effort to Further Rig the Rules Against Working People http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/workers-on-janus-a-political-effort-to-further-rig-the-rules-against-working-people Thu, 28 Sep 2017 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/workers-on-janus-a-political-effort-to-further-rig-the-rules-against-working-people The following statement was issued by members and leaders of AFSCME, AFT, NEA, and SEIU – the nation’s four largest public sector unions – in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to grant Certiorari in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31:

The Janus case is a blatantly political and well-funded plot to use the highest court in the land to further rig the economic rules against everyday working people. The billionaire CEOs and corporate interests behind this case, and the politicians who do their bidding, have teamed up to deliver yet another attack on working people by striking at the freedom to come together in strong unions. The forces behind this case know that by joining together in strong unions, working people are able to win the power and voice they need to level the economic and political playing field. However, the people behind this case simply do not believe that working people deserve the same freedoms they have: to negotiate a fair return on their work.

This case started with an overt political attempt by the billionaire governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, to attack public service workers through the courts. And, in a letter to supporters detailed in The Guardian, the CEO of the corporate-backed State Policy Network (SPN) reveals the true intent of a nationwide campaign of which Janus is a part: to strike a ‘mortal blow’ and ‘defund and defang’ America’s unions. The merits of the case are clear. Since 1977, Abood has effectively governed labor relations between public sector employees and employers, allowing employers and employees the freedom to determine labor policies that best serve the public. When reviewing the legal merits of this case, it is clear that this attempt to manipulate the court against working people should be rejected.

“This case is yet another example of corporate interests using their power and influence to launch a political attack on working people and rig the rules of the economy in their own favor. When working people are able to join strong unions, they have the strength in numbers they need to fight for the freedoms they deserve, like access to quality health care, retirement security and time off work to care for a loved one. The merits of the case, and 40 years of Supreme Court precedent and sound law, are on our side. We look forward to the Supreme Court honoring its earlier rulings.” – Lee Saunders, President, AFSCME

“My work as a Child Protection Investigator for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is vital to the safety of our state’s most vulnerable children and families. This court case is yet another political attack on the freedom of my colleagues and I to speak up to ensure that we can safely and adequately manage our caseloads, which reflects our commitment to safety and public service to our communities.” – Stephen Mittons, AFSCME Council 31 member, Child Protection Investigator for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

“Unions are all about fighting for and caring about people—and in the public sector that includes those we represent and those we protect and teach in communities across America. Yet corporations, wealthy interests and politicians have manufactured Janus as part of their long and coordinated war against unions. Their goal is to further weaken workers’ freedom to join together in a union, to further diminish workers’ clout.

“These powerful interests want to gut one of the last remaining checks on their control—a strong and united labor movement that fights for equity and opportunity for all, not just the privileged few. And under the guise of the First Amendment, they want to overturn a 40-year precedent that’s been reaffirmed numerous times. In other words, this would be a radical departure from well-established law. We believe that after resolving a similar case last year, the Supreme Court erred in granting cert in Janus, and that the trumped-up underpinnings of the plaintiff’s argument will rapidly become clear before the full bench.” – Randi Weingarten, President, AFT

"My union just went through a lengthy contract fight in Philadelphia. We had to fight hard to protect our students’ basic needs, such as having at least one nurse and counselor in each school and ensuring that kids had necessary textbooks and materials. And we had to fight back against the district's desire to eliminate class sizes and get lead testing for the school's water fountains. Most people assume that the union only fights for teachers' rights, when in reality, most of our contract is there to protect the basic rights and needs of our students. Those rights are at grave risk in Janus." – Jeff Price, AFT Local 3 member, Teacher at Central High School, School District of Philadelphia.

“For decades corporate CEO’s and the wealthy have fought to enrich themselves at the expense of the rights and pocket books of working people, and that harms families in communities across the country. As the nation’s largest union, we know this fight will not only impact the lives of educators, but it also impacts the families of the children we educate. We won’t back down from this fight and we will always stand up to support working people, our students and the communities we serve.” – Lily Eskelsen García, President, NEA

“More and more, the economy is working against working people, including the families whose children I teach. My union gives me a voice and a seat at the table to advocate for my students, my colleagues, and my community.” – Sonya Shpilyuk, NEA member, High School English teacher, Montgomery County, MD

The anti-worker extremists behind this case want to divide working people, make it harder to pool our resources, and limit our collective power. But SEIU members won't let any court case stand in our way of sticking together for good jobs and strong communities." – Mary Kay Henry, President, SEIU

"By sticking together in our union, we've lifted the wage floor to a $15 minimum wage, protected and expanded health care benefits for our families, and won more funding for our schools. Together, we’ll continue to fight to ensure all students have the support and services they need to succeed in school. That’s why the extremists are attacking us, to stop our progress. But we plan to stick together no matter what and keep standing up for quality public services." – Edna Logan, SEIU Local 99 member, Custodian at Esteban Torres School, Los Angeles Unified School District.

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on the Trump Tax Plan http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-the-trump-tax-plan Wed, 27 Sep 2017 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-the-trump-tax-plan AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the tax plan announced today by the Trump administration and GOP congressional leaders:

“This tax plan will be a slow-motion disaster that hurts our country for years to come. It is deeply irresponsible to let even a penny more in tax cuts go to the wealthy and corporations, while working people are barely keeping their heads above water, our roads and bridges are crumbling, our children face steep inequalities, and our seniors struggle to retire with dignity.

“Our nation faces challenges that are not shared equally. The super-wealthy and corporations can and must shoulder their fair share of the burden. The plan announced today will further rig the system against working families and our communities by strip-mining the public services we all rely on. We cannot continue to put the interests of the rich and powerful before the interests of our country.”

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders Calls on Trump and Congress to Act on Puerto Rico http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-calls-on-trump-and-congress-to-act-on-puerto-rico Tue, 26 Sep 2017 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-calls-on-trump-and-congress-to-act-on-puerto-rico AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement calling on President Trump and Congress to act on hurricane relief to Puerto Rico:

“3.5 million American citizens have been abandoned by their president and Congress during their greatest time of need. Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico nearly a week ago, and the situation has grown worse every day since then. The people of Puerto Rico are American citizens with the same rights and privileges as any mainland resident and they cannot wait a minute longer for Washington to act. No legislative or political priority is more important than addressing this rapidly escalating crisis, and the fact that tax cuts, health care repeal efforts, and socially divisive rants have taken priority over the lives of Puerto Ricans in the recent days is utterly unacceptable.

“Thousands of working and retired AFSCME members are among those struggling to survive and rebuild their communities. We call on the president and Congress to act immediately and without delay to move financial and material assistance that meets Puerto Rico’s needs. This cannot wait.”

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on CBO Analysis of the Graham-Cassidy Bill http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-cbo-analysis-of-graham-cassidy Mon, 25 Sep 2017 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-cbo-analysis-of-graham-cassidy AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the decision by the Senate Majority Leader’s office to hold a vote on Graham-Cassidy without first obtaining CBO analysis of the bill.

“The fact that the Majority Leader’s office is willing to hold a vote without the CBO’s analysis on how their so-called ‘health care bill’ would affect health care coverage and health care costs for American families shows what a sham this entire exercise truly is. Acting only to appease their billionaire donors who have become impatient for a partisan victory and the hefty tax cut they were promised, the bill’s authors have put forward a shockingly dangerous proposal. This bill would be a medical and financial catastrophe for tens of millions of families – that’s why it has earned vocal opposition from hospitals, doctors, patient advocates, Governors and Medicaid directors from both parties, and a majority of American voters.

“Congress should return to the good-faith, bi-partisan negotiations that were in progress before being abandoned for yet another effort to blindly rush through legislation upending one-sixth of the American economy.”

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on DACA Reversal http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-daca-reversal Tue, 05 Sep 2017 11:16:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-daca-reversal AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:

“It is grossly unfair and morally reprehensible for the U.S. government to go back on its word and deport undocumented young people who bravely came out of the shadows and registered under DACA.

“DACA was part of an effort to find solutions to our broken immigration system and a legal path to citizenship for millions of hardworking people who were brought to America as babies and children through no choice of their own, by parents in search of a better life for their families.

“It is urgent that Congress act to protect the young adults covered by the DACA program, and finally get serious about comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform. It is on Congress to prove to Americans of every race and creed that our government keeps its promises, and rejects hate and xenophobia.”

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Senate Failing to pass “Skinny Repeal” of the Affordable Care Act http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-senate-failing-to-pass-skinny-repeal-of-the-affordable-care-act Fri, 28 Jul 2017 10:04:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-senate-failing-to-pass-skinny-repeal-of-the-affordable-care-act AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the Senate failing to pass the so-called “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act:

“When you write legislation that takes health coverage away from millions of people – and when you do it in secretive fashion, without transparency or public debate – it’s no wonder that you can’t get a majority of senators to vote for it.

“The failure of so-called ‘skinny repeal’ is a victory for all working people, for everyone who needs the freedom and security of affordable health insurance, for everyone who has a pre-existing condition, for everyone who worries about what a catastrophic illness or injury will mean for their family.

“This effort failed because thousands and thousands of Americans – including AFSCME members who are on the front lines of our health care system – made themselves heard loud and clear. With phone calls, emails, rallies and more over the last several months, they demanded that their elected officials in Washington represent their views. And they will continue to raise their voices until Congress abandons any effort to destroy the nation’s health care system.”

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Senate Vote on Health Care Debate http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-senate-vote-on-health-care-debate Tue, 25 Jul 2017 15:48:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-senate-vote-on-health-care-debate AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the Senate vote to advance debate on repealing the Affordable Care Act: 

“The U.S. Senate has just moved one step closer to taking insurance away from tens of millions of people and gutting Medicaid, dealing a devastating blow to working families that would exact a steep human cost – all to pay for more tax cuts for the wealthy. Repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act is both morally indefensible and deeply unpopular. That’s why the Senate has done this in a way that has degraded the process – without hearings and without transparency, forcing a vote on the ‘motion to proceed’ before anyone knows what bill we’re actually proceeding to.

“This is not the end. With unrelenting grassroots pressure, we can still stop repeal-and-replace – and preserve a health care system that empowers and protects working people. EMTs, nurses like Pat Waller, home care providers like Paula Stinyard and other public service workers dedicate their lives to taking care of the sick and vulnerable. They won’t rest while Congress and the President try to put them at greater risk. AFSCME members are in this fight to the finish.”

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on “A Better Deal” Agenda http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-a-better-deal-agenda Mon, 24 Jul 2017 17:42:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-a-better-deal-agenda AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the congressional Democrats’ release of “A Better Deal” economic agenda:

“I applaud Democrats’ commitment to building an economy that rewards working people and not just the wealthy and well-connected. Substantial investment in infrastructure, paid family leave and a higher minimum wage are all important policy goals that AFSCME enthusiastically supports.

“The best way to accomplish these goals is to promote the freedom of Americans to join a union and negotiate a fair return on our work. Unions provide the power in numbers that make better jobs, better wages and a better future possible. We encourage all lawmakers to make freedom to join a union a centerpiece of any economic agenda going forward.” 

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on House Budget Resolution http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-house-budget-resolution Wed, 19 Jul 2017 14:17:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-house-budget-resolution AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the House Budget Committee markup of FY2018 budget resolution:

“Different day, same story. Just like the Senate health care bill, historically unpopular legislation that failed to get majority support earlier this week, the House budget is a direct attack on the freedom and security of working families.

“It has the same warped priorities as President Trump’s budget, cutting everything from affordable housing and nutrition assistance to infrastructure and job training to college affordability and environmental protection. And they’re going after health care again, with staggering cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other programs totaling nearly $2 trillion over the next decade. These cuts will impact state and local budgets, jeopardizing the services AFSCME members provide – in-home health care, law enforcement, education and much more.

“The sacrifice in this budget, as usual, is shouldered almost entirely by working people, retirees and our most vulnerable populations. Meanwhile, the CEO class and the wealthiest Americans stand to get a gigantic tax cut. It’s time for a budget that strengthens public services and invests in our communities, instead of giving more to those who have the most.”

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Failure of Latest Senate Health Care Bill http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-failure-of-latest-senate-health-care-bill Tue, 18 Jul 2017 16:45:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-failure-of-latest-senate-health-care-bill AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the failure of the Better Care Reconciliation Act to get majority support in the Senate:

“When you write legislation that would take health insurance away from tens of millions of people, when you try to gut Medicaid and eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and when you try to do this without public hearings or robust debate, it’s no surprise that you can’t get 50 senators on board.

“The only thing more reckless than the Senate health care bill is President Trump’s declaration that he wants to see the Affordable Care Act fail or ‘explode.’ He has also refused to guarantee the payments that reduce out-of-pocket costs for low-income people buying ACA coverage. Sabotaging the health care system and putting politics over people’s lives is not what makes America great.

“Even bad public policy isn’t defeated strictly on the merits. It takes unrelenting grassroots pressure on our elected representatives, which is exactly what we have seen from thousands upon thousands of Americans during the last six months.

“Now we have to keep it up, because this struggle is far from over. President Trump and his congressional allies will continue to look for ways to dismantle Obamacare, destroy Medicaid and strip access to care from millions of people. It’s time to turn up the heat even higher and the volume even louder.”

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Medicare and Social Security Trustee Reports http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-medicare-and-social-security-trustee-reports Thu, 13 Jul 2017 18:02:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-medicare-and-social-security-trustee-reports AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the Medicare and Social Security Trustee Reports:

“Medicare and Social Security represent a sacred promise – if you work hard your whole life, you can retire with dignity. Today’s trustee reports show that both programs are stable and solvent, with the ability to continue providing older Americans and people with disabilities with the benefits they need. The Affordable Care Act further strengthened these programs, Medicare in particular, and our elected officials should not get in the way of this success.

“Unfortunately, the current Senate bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would weaken Medicare solvency. When it comes to Social Security and Medicare, Congress should learn from the ethos of dedicated health care professionals across the country: First, do no harm.”

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Senate Health Care Bill’s Delayed Vote http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-senate-health-care-bill-delayed-vote Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-senate-health-care-bill-delayed-vote AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the postponement of a vote on the Senate health care bill:

“Senate leaders are delaying a vote on their health care bill because there isn’t enough support to pass it. And there isn’t enough support to pass it because the bill is a disaster, a cruel and callous plan that will cost 22 million people their health insurance and cut Medicaid by $772 billion. It will make the sick sicker and the poor poorer, squeezing working families while lavishing millionaires with yet another tax giveaway.

“Around the country, Americans are making themselves heard loud and clear – with calls to their senators’ offices, participation in town hall meetings and more. With members returning to their home states next week for Congressional recess, it’s time to raise the volume even higher, to let our elected representatives know that this legislation is an assault on our values. Regardless of party or ideology, we should be able to agree that this is not a game, and it’s not about scoring political points; health care is a matter of life and death. This struggle isn’t over yet, but with strong grassroots energy and continued resistance, we can defeat this bill once and for all.”

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on the Senate Health Care Bill’s CBO Score http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-the-senate-health-care-bill-cbo-score Mon, 26 Jun 2017 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-the-senate-health-care-bill-cbo-score AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the Congressional Budget Office’s score of the Senate health care bill:

“They say bad things come in threes. This is the third Congressional Budget Office score of health care legislation this year and just like the two that came before, it demonstrates a blueprint to decimate the health care system, to punish the sick, the elderly, the poor and middle-income people. If the Senate bill were to become law, 22 million fewer people would have health insurance, while Medicaid would be cut by $772 billion. The evidence is mounting: this bill is a bouquet of flowers for the wealthiest Americans but a punch in the gut for working families.

“It’s no wonder the authors of this bill are struggling to cobble together 50 votes. It’s no wonder doctors, nurses and patient advocates – people on the front lines of our health care system – oppose this legislation and the House version as well. It’s no wonder Americans nationwide are standing up and speaking out against a plan that will make them, their families and their neighbors more vulnerable. This bill needs and deserves to go down in defeat.”

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on FAA Privatization Bill http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-faa-privatization-bill Fri, 23 Jun 2017 17:25:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-faa-privatization-bill AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the FAA privatization bill released Thursday:

“AFSCME is strongly opposed to inefficient and risky efforts to privatize the nation’s air traffic control operations. Air traffic safety must be our chief concern and that requires responsible governmental control and continued strong oversight. AFSCME cannot support the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization legislation now pending in the House of Representatives.

“The bill, as introduced, has the potential to threaten safe and efficient air travel for many Americans, to significantly weaken the economy, and to harm the committed federal workforce that is dedicated to the safe and efficient aviation all Americans deserve and expect. Congress must reject this risky plan.”

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Draft Senate Health Care Repeal Bill http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-draft-senate-health-care-repeal-bill Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-draft-senate-health-care-repeal-bill AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the draft version of the Senate health care repeal bill released Thursday:

“The Senate health care bill was drafted in secret behind closed doors to avoid public scrutiny – and it shows.

“President Trump himself called the House version of this bill ‘mean’ and the Senate’s proposal is just as heartless. This bill takes away health care from millions of people. Medicaid will be gutted. Americans who have health insurance through their employers could face soaring out-of-pocket costs for essential medical care. And the bill puts the insurance industry back in charge by letting them cap coverage and weakening protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

“Senators who want to improve health care for American families – and not just give tax handouts to CEOs and the super-wealthy – must vote NO on this bill.”

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Trump Infrastructure Plan http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-trump-infrastructure-plan Mon, 05 Jun 2017 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-trump-infrastructure-plan AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on President Trump’s infrastructure proposal:

“The Trump infrastructure plan isn't an infrastructure plan at all. It’s a colossal $200 billion corporate handout, which will outsource good jobs to private interests at the expense of safety and accountability. The move to privatize the Federal Aviation Administration is one of the worst aspects of this scheme to cede control of our nation’s vital infrastructure to corporations and take power away from taxpayers. To be more effective, the FAA doesn’t need to be controlled by a private entity; what it needs is stable, secure, long-term funding.

“America’s communities need a plan that will create good jobs that can sustain working families, one that invests in quality public services, and that will require those who can afford it to pay their fair share of the cost of improvements that benefit everyone. Congressional Democrats have put forward plans that accomplish these goals. There is no reason to consider any plan which fails to put good jobs, accountability, public safety and strong infrastructure ahead of corporate profits.”

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on the AHCA’s New CBO Score http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-the-ahcas-new-cbo-score Wed, 24 May 2017 17:40:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-the-ahcas-new-cbo-score AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the new Congressional Budget Office analysis of the American Health Care Act, which passed the U.S. House:

“The new Congressional Budget Office analysis confirms what we already knew — and then some. The health care bill currently before Congress is getting worse, not better. The CBO score concludes that the American Health Care Act would cause 23 million people to lose their health coverage; and on average, those with coverage would have skimpier benefits and higher out-of-pocket costs. The changes made to secure more House Republican votes earlier this month have made the bill more draconian and would make the health care system more cruel and chaotic.

“If this bill became law, it would exact a devastating human cost and cause untold suffering. In addition to throwing 23 million off the insurance rolls, it would strip protections for those with pre-existing conditions; re-impose annual and lifetime limits; and squeeze state budgets, leading to cuts in public services – all while gift-wrapping a tax giveaway for millionaires and big corporations.

“The legislation also makes staggering cuts to Medicaid — more than $800 billion over 10 years. Half of all Medicaid recipients are children, and one in five Americans, including seniors, pregnant mothers, and people with disabilities, depend on this program for everything from immunizations to in-home and nursing home care. Any legislation that degrades the health care of our most vulnerable people in order to give more handouts to the wealthy fails the moral decency test.

“The ball remains in the Senate’s court. They have a chance — and an obligation — to act on the wishes of an overwhelming majority of Americans by stopping this dangerous legislation.”

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Trump Budget http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-trump-budget Tue, 23 May 2017 08:22:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-trump-budget AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on President Trump’s budget proposal:

“President Trump’s budget is a moral and economic disaster. The cuts proposed in this plan will not only hurt children and the elderly, but also diminish the quality of life for millions of families nationwide, all to give massive tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy.

“President Trump campaigned on a promise to lift up the forgotten man and woman. But his budget does nothing to support job-creating investments to help working people who are struggling to get by. Instead, it eliminates or slashes funding for dozens and dozens of programs and services, including infrastructure, transportation, health care, education, and even Social Security. It even punishes those who want to give back to their communities by eliminating a student loan forgiveness program that thousands of public service workers have already planned their household budgets around, and that encourages more young people to pursue careers in public service.

“The cuts laid out in this budget — everything from Medicaid to affordable housing to afterschool programs — weaken the communities that AFSCME members work daily to strengthen. If Trump were serious about empowering working people, he would invest in growth that raises wages and creates jobs, not cut vital programs to give tax cuts to the wealthiest 0.8 percent of Americans who are already doing just fine.”

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on the American Health Care Act http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-american-health-care-act-passage Thu, 04 May 2017 14:31:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-american-health-care-act-passage AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the passage of the American Health Care Act through the U.S. House of Representatives:

“The political fig leaves that were added behind closed doors to garner votes do nothing to change the facts of this bill. It will still leave at least 24 million Americans uninsured, still cut Medicaid in exchange for tax handouts for corporations and millionaires, still cause costs to skyrocket for older Americans and still eviscerate the protections for people with pre-existing conditions that are guaranteed under the Affordable Care Act.

“Patient groups, healthcare providers, and voters in blue states, red states, and purple states alike have already spoken out repeatedly against this cruel and dangerous legislation. But the House of Representatives and the Trump administration chose to ignore their pleas. It now falls to the U.S. Senate to finally listen to the American people and stop this bill in its tracks.”

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Trump’s First 100 Days in Office http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-trumps-first-100-days-in-office Sat, 29 Apr 2017 10:15:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-trumps-first-100-days-in-office AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on President Trump’s first 100 days in office:

“After 100 days in office, the only thing President Trump has really accomplished is naming a pro-corporate justice to a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court, and stacking his cabinet with Wall Street bankers and billionaires.

“While President Trump ran on a promise to lift up the forgotten man and woman and ‘drain the swamp’ of the corrupting influence of Wall Street and special interests, his actions in the first 100 days of his presidency prove where his real priorities lie: with the interests of corporations and a handful of the most privileged and powerful.

“Nearly every one of his executive orders – the ones that have passed constitutional muster – and every piece of draft legislation he has supported benefit corporations and the super wealthy, while hardworking families continue to see the rules manipulated against them. He has overturned rules aimed at making workplaces safer, helping workers save for retirement and requiring federal contractors to comply with workplace laws. 

“His proposed tax package would just continue to line the pockets of the corporations and wealthy who have gamed our economic system for years. Even the president’s attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act are centered on a massive tax handout to corporations and billionaires at the expense of health care for 24 million working people.

“Working people nationwide are pushing back against this administration’s unprecedented attacks on their jobs, their wages and their economic security. We will continue to organize in our communities and work together for a fair economy that benefits every American, even if the president of the United States will not.”

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Trump Executive Order on the Role of Federal Government in Education http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-trump-executive-order-on-the-role-of-federal-government-in-education Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:19:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-trump-executive-order-on-the-role-of-federal-government-in-education AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on President Trump’s executive order directing the Department of Education to conduct a study into the role of the federal government in education:

“President Trump’s executive order represents a gross abdication of the federal government’s vital role in ensuring that all students get the education they deserve, regardless of who they are and where they live.

“The President’s executive order will do nothing to strengthen our public schools or empower the children that depend on them. Instead, it turns a blind eye toward existing inequalities and opportunity gaps that keep students from realizing their potential.

“AFSCME has a proud history of leadership in the civil rights movement. Going back to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case more than six decades ago, it has been federal oversight and enforcement that has helped keep the promise of equal opportunity in education. We need a Department of Education that will continue that tradition and that will fight every day for all our nation’s children to get the education they need to succeed in life.”

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Trump Tax Plan http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-trump-tax-plan Wed, 26 Apr 2017 16:41:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2017/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-trump-tax-plan AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on President Trump’s proposed tax plan:

“People voted for Donald Trump because they hoped he’d do things differently, putting the concerns of working people first. But the only thing different about his tax plan is the enormous handouts to corporations, the wealthy and the well-connected.

“Compared to the windfall for millionaires, billionaires and corporations, this plan offers precious little to those who have been forgotten, to the working families who are the backbone of our economy. It is time for the President to walk the walk and make good on his promises to the American people. Enough of the same old recycled trickle-down schemes that voters have consistently rejected.

“We need a tax policy where everyone pays their share, closing loopholes and raising the revenues necessary to invest in communities and create jobs. We need a tax policy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.”

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