Press Release Feed Press Releases Tue, 3 May 2011 05:00:00 +0000 AMPS en hourly 1 AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on FAA Privatization Bill Fri, 23 Jun 2017 17:25:00 -0500 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.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Draft Senate Health Care Repeal Bill Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:00:00 -0500 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.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Trump Infrastructure Plan Mon, 05 Jun 2017 14:00:00 -0500 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.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on the AHCA’s New CBO Score Wed, 24 May 2017 17:40:00 -0500 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.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Trump Budget Tue, 23 May 2017 08:22:00 -0500 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.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on the American Health Care Act Thu, 04 May 2017 14:31:00 -0500 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.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Trump’s First 100 Days in Office Sat, 29 Apr 2017 10:15:00 -0500 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.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Trump Executive Order on the Role of Federal Government in Education Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:19:00 -0500 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.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Trump Tax Plan Wed, 26 Apr 2017 16:41:00 -0500 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.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Renewed Attempts to Repeal and Replace the Affordable Care Act Thu, 20 Apr 2017 17:31:00 -0500 AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement regarding the Affordable Care Act repeal amendment from Reps. Meadows and MacArthur.

“For weeks, tens of thousands of Americans spoke up with passion and outrage about the cruelty of robbing 24 million Americans of their health coverage. Unbelievably, the response from congressional leaders was to make their bill worse than the one they couldn’t pass a month ago.

“Repeal-and-replace 2.0 includes all of the same deeply unpopular elements of their previous bill, plus it adds provisions stripping away some of the most universally popular and important elements of the Affordable Care Act. It still will lead to skyrocketing costs for older Americans. It still defunds Medicaid in order to give tax handouts to corporations and millionaires. Now, their plan also guts protections for pre-existing conditions and allows insurers to drop vital coverage like maternity care. This plan will take us back to the days when those with health conditions won’t be able to afford coverage at all or won’t be able to get a plan that includes the very coverage they need.

“The American people have already made themselves heard loud and clear. Congress should show that they are accountable to their constituents, not party leadership or the White House, and drop their nakedly partisan attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on New OMB Directive to Reduce the Federal Workforce Wed, 12 Apr 2017 14:37:00 -0500 AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement about the Trump Administration’s announcement of a “Comprehensive Plan for Reforming the Federal Government and Reducing the Federal Civilian Workforce.”

“It’s beyond insulting to hear OMB Director Mulvaney’s characterization of this proposal as ‘the coolest thing nobody’s talking about.’ There’s nothing cool about firing hard-working people who’ve devoted themselves to government service, or about hurting communities that depend on the services they provide.

“From protecting our neighborhoods to building community infrastructure to ensuring that our skies are safe for travel, public service workers never quit finding ways to make the American people stronger and healthier. This new directive, made necessary by an administration budget proposal that is unprecedented in its austerity and cruelty, doesn’t trim fat; it cuts right into bone.

“Federal employees and all public service workers didn’t choose their careers expecting to get rich. But they deserve basic respect. They deserve better than this attack on their livelihoods from the Trump administration.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on the Confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court Fri, 07 Apr 2017 14:40:00 -0500 AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, following an unprecedented move to invoke the “nuclear option”:

“Today the American people were once again cheated by a system rigged against them. The Senate’s action to ram through the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch without strong bipartisan support sets a troubling precedent and sheds further light on the politicization of the Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court must not be used as a political tool to satisfy a ruthless corporate agenda. Justice Gorsuch must take his responsibility to the country and to the Constitution seriously by standing up for everyone, not just the privileged and the powerful.

“AFSCME is committed to standing up for the rights and protections of public service workers who make their communities stronger and for all working people, regardless of who is in office or serving on the judiciary. We maintain our resolve to organize and to work with our allies to fight for economic justice and equal rights under the law for all working families.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on the Use of the “Nuclear Option” to Force the Confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court Thu, 06 Apr 2017 12:30:00 -0500 AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement in response to the unprecedented use of the “Nuclear Option” to force through the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court:

“The Senate’s decision to rig the rules to ram through an extremist Supreme Court Justice is a stain on our nation’s democracy and a kick in the teeth to working people who will continue to be second-class citizens to corporations. Anyone nominated for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be able to earn strong bipartisan support.

“Judge Gorsuch failed to obtain this support because of his troubling record of ruling in favor of corporations at the expense of everyday working people. His belief that corporations are people and his refusal to answer fundamental questions about his past rulings and judicial philosophy cast serious doubt that he would use the Constitution to protect the rights of everyone, not just the wealthy and privileged.

“During his campaign, President Trump promised to lift up the forgotten man and woman, yet at every turn he has reneged on that promise. He has attacked vital public services and institutions designed to protect working people, including an independent judiciary. His pick for a new Supreme Court Justice proves once again he didn’t mean a word of it.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on the Failure of AHCA in the House of Representatives Fri, 24 Mar 2017 16:42:00 -0500 AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement regarding the inability of the House to move forward on the American Health Care Act:

“It was obvious to the tens of thousands of Americans who flooded town halls and phone lines, and the majority of American voters who opposed the American Health Care Act, that this abomination of a bill was nothing more than tax giveaways for corporations and millionaires disguised as health care legislation. 

“Working families, medical professionals, seniors and child advocates, and voters of all political stripes made themselves heard loud and clear: anything that dismantles the progress made under the Affordable Care Act is unacceptable.

“We must continue to hold our leaders accountable to President Trump’s repeated promises to working families on health care: nobody loses their coverage, and no cuts to Medicaid or Medicare.”

AFSCME Opposes Neil Gorsuch for Appointment to Supreme Court Thu, 23 Mar 2017 10:38:00 -0500 AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement opposing Judge Neil Gorsuch for appointment to the United States Supreme Court.

“Before receiving a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch needed to answer fundamental questions, both about his past record and about how he would apply the law as a Justice on the highest court in the land. On both accounts, Judge Gorsuch has come up short.

“Judge Gorsuch has failed to demonstrate and give fundamental assurances that he would be an independent voice on the Court who will use the Constitution to protect the rights of everyone, not just the wealthy and powerful. He failed to adequately address a troubling record of ruling against everyday working people, instead siding with employers, corporations and Wall Street despite often blatant and draconian violations of basic worker rights, safety and consumer protections. It is clear that he believes corporations are people and his judicial philosophy would likely further tilt the scales of justice against working families.

“At a time when the country is facing deep divisions, the American people cannot afford to confirm a nominee to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court if that nominee’s commitment to the Constitution’s guarantee of equality under the law is shrouded in doubt. We urge the U.S. Senate to oppose the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court.”

Elissa McBride Elected AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Wed, 22 Mar 2017 12:55:00 -0500 The International Executive Board of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees today by acclamation elected Elissa McBride as its new secretary-treasurer. McBride, who will assume office effective immediately, has served as AFSCME’s director of Education and Leadership Training since 2001.

“AFSCME members are the backbone of our communities,” McBride said. “Members of our union staff our libraries, maintain our roads, care for us in times of medical crisis, ensure the safety of our children and much more. I am honored to serve as their secretary-treasurer, and I pledge to serve with passion, integrity and commitment as we continue to organize for workers’ rights and fight for public services.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders added: “Elissa McBride has been a dynamic force in our union for more than 15 years. As a superb educator and organizer, she has helped lead us through a period of growth and change. She never quits fighting for our members, and for all working people, to get the respect they deserve. At this critical moment in AFSCME’s history, she has the energy and expertise we need to put us on the right course for the future.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on the Trump “Skinny Budget” Thu, 16 Mar 2017 15:32:00 -0500 AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement regarding the “skinny budget” released by the White House:

“The budget presented today by President Trump is even worse than we could have imagined. His proposed cuts are so large, so dangerous, and so harmful to the basic well-being of American families that they may prove too extreme even for the extremists in Congress.

"This budget cuts nearly everything that matters to working families. It would make it harder for them to send their kids to college or a quality public school, to find good jobs, even to heat their homes or live and work in safe and healthy environments.

"Combined with the proposed changes to Medicaid contained in the health care plan the president has endorsed, this budget will prove devastating to state budgets and the vital public services our communities depend on. 

"Once again, President Trump's actions aren’t living up to the populist rhetoric of his campaign. He is breaking promises to the struggling families who feel left behind in today's economy. This budget does not just neglect these families and communities; it goes out of its way to hurt them."

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Puerto Rico Fiscal Plan Mon, 13 Mar 2017 18:12:00 -0500 AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the oversight board’s approval of a fiscal plan for Puerto Rico:

“The plan approved by the Oversight Board will have devastating consequences for the people of Puerto Rico, especially its most vulnerable citizens. The plan adopts an austerity approach that will slash services, cut pensions and create yet more economic hardship for Puerto Ricans. The winners are wealthy investors who stand to gain from the mass privatization of the services that remain. These actions are the foreseeable result of an anti-democratic law adopted by the last Congress. The people of Puerto Rico have been forgotten; we call on the federal government to act quickly to restore services and pensions.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on CBO Analysis of the American Health Care Act Mon, 13 Mar 2017 18:05:00 -0500 AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement regarding the Congressional Budget Office’s score for the American Health Care Act:

“As if the pleas of doctors, nurses, retirees, hospitals and lawmakers from both parties weren’t enough, now we have 24 million additional reasons to protect the Affordable Care Act. The health care legislation congressional leaders are rushing through to a vote will cause 24 million Americans to lose their coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office, while burdening millions more with dramatic cost increases and weakening the Medicare Trust Fund.

“The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office’s assessment further crystallizes the priorities of House leaders: to take away health care for millions of vulnerable Americans and use the savings to cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations. Their plans to gut Medicaid and shift its costs to the states will prove particularly dangerous, not only threatening health services for children, seniors and people with disabilities, but also destabilizing state budgets.

“The CBO score is not up for negotiation, argument, or interpretation. If congressional leaders choose to continue rushing this legislation forward, they do so knowing full well that their plan will cause real pain and exact a devastating human cost for millions of Americans.

“Let’s keep the pressure up on members of Congress by flooding their phone lines, writing them letters and attending town halls. We can and must protect health care for 24 million fellow Americans.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on the Passing of Deputy Kevin Haverly Tue, 07 Mar 2017 17:22:00 -0500 AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement about the passing of Kevin M. Haverly, a sheriff’s deputy in Greene County, New York, and member of AFSCME Council 82:

“The AFSCME family is mourning the loss of Brother Kevin Haverly, who died in the line of duty from injuries sustained in a car accident during his overnight shift on February 28.

“Deputy Haverly exemplified the courage and sacrifice that is the hallmark of all law enforcement professionals. Despite the risks, women and men like Deputy Haverly don’t hesitate to put the safety of their neighbors ahead of their own. They put their lives on the line, so that others can stay out of harm’s way. Because of their character and commitment — because they never quit — our communities thrive.

“AFSCME, representing nearly 100,000 public safety officers nationwide, fights for those officers to have the tools and resources they need to do difficult jobs. That includes not just salary, pension and other benefits, but the best possible training, equipment and safety measures.

“We are heartbroken for Deputy Haverly’s fiancée, Dawn, their three children, and all of his family and friends. We send them love and strength as they cope with this shocking and devastating loss. For more information on how to provide financial assistance to the Haverly family, please click here.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on the American Health Care Act Tue, 07 Mar 2017 16:04:00 -0500 AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement regarding the upcoming committee markup of the American Health Care Act:

“The replacement plan put forward by congressional leadership is no replacement at all for the tens of millions of Americans who rely on the Affordable Care Act to keep their families healthy without fear of bankruptcy. It is simply a tax cut for corporations and the wealthy, funded by gutting Medicaid and shifting health care costs onto states and working families.

“This so-called replacement plan strips women of access to vital preventive care services by defunding Planned Parenthood. It endangers Medicare solvency and allows insurance rates for older Americans to skyrocket. Millions of working people, children and people with disabilities will be put at risk. In fact, some of the only interests who stand to gain from this plan are the health insurance and pharmaceutical corporations that will receive massive tax breaks, paid for by increasing out-of-pocket costs for patients.

“Though this bill has been kept secret, and congressional leadership has failed to provide lawmakers and the public with a CBO score for their legislation, we already know that it will leave millions without coverage. But the questions remain – how many will lose their coverage, and at what cost to jobs, local economies and state budgets? No vote should occur on this legislation until those questions are sufficiently answered.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on New Administration Travel Ban Mon, 06 Mar 2017 12:00:00 -0500 AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on President Trump’s revised executive order travel ban targeting six majority-Muslim countries:

“Despite attempts to make it seem less draconian, the administration’s new travel ban is just as troubling as the first. What makes our country strong is what makes our union strong: our unwavering belief in core values of diversity, inclusion and justice, no matter what adversity we might face.

“AFSCME members and working people across the nation are looking for solutions to fix an out-of-balance economy that favors the wealthy few. This ban does nothing to move our country in the right direction; it only serves to divide us based on bigotry and fear.

“AFSCME members come from all backgrounds, races, religions and ethnicities. We know that no matter where we come from, what we look like, or how we worship, what is most important is how we lift up each other, and how we lift up our communities.”

AFSCME Statement on Oral Arguments before 7th Circuit Court in Janus Case Wed, 01 Mar 2017 16:00:00 -0500 AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement about oral arguments today before the United States 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The court is hearing arguments in Janus v. AFSCME, a case out of Illinois that represents a renewed effort by corporate and special interest groups to upend the longstanding rights of people who work in public service – people like teachers, firefighters, nurses, and social workers – to come together, speak up for their communities, and get ahead:

“It is clear that the corporate CEOs and wealthy special interests behind this case will stop at nothing to make it harder for public service workers like teachers, firefighters, nurses, and public safety workers to speak up together for better public services, stronger communities, and wages and protections that benefit all Americans. Our economy is out of balance, manipulated to benefit those who are already wealthy, and this case could make it even worse.

“From child-protection investigators to nurses to first responders, public service workers go neighborhood to neighborhood, working to keep their communities safe, healthy and strong. It is their ability to band together with their co-workers as a union to speak up for better staff levels, training, and safety procedures that enable them to keep their communities running smoothly. It would be shameful to see the Circuit Court of Appeals decide the case in favor of wealthy special interests and put the working families and communities at risk.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders Responds to Presidential Address Tue, 28 Feb 2017 22:57:00 -0500 AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement responding to President Trump’s speech to a joint session of Congress:

“President Trump offered no specific, tangible solutions to assure working families that he's sincere about fighting for them. There is no evidence that his actual governing agenda is anything besides a handout for the wealthy and austerity for the rest of us.

“Repealing the Affordable Care Act will throw the health care system into disarray and millions of people off the insurance rolls. The president is still teeing up a tax cut that will line the pockets of the very wealthiest Americans. His preliminary budget would leave the safety net in tatters and eviscerate public services.

“And he didn't mention Social Security or Medicare even once, providing no guarantee at all that he would protect these benefits that our retirees have been promised, these programs they depend on.

“President Trump has forgotten about the ‘forgotten man and woman’ whom he said his campaign was about. Working people deserve better than lip service and empty promises. They deserve a president who walks the walk, who will create jobs and lift wages, who will ease our economic anxiety and bolster our economic security, who will improve our lives and give our families hope for a brighter future.”

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Tonight’s Presidential Speech: “We’ll Be Listening Closely” Tue, 28 Feb 2017 17:43:00 -0500 AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement in advance of President Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress:

“It’s time to walk the walk. For going on two years now, President Trump has been promising to create economic opportunity and make life better for working people. Tonight, he addresses a joint session of Congress, and working families will be listening closely.

“They want to hear if he’s going to keep his word – and they want concrete plans, not vague promises or platitudes. They want to know specifically how he will create jobs, raise wages and help workers have a strong voice on the job. They want him to explain specifically how he’s going to lift up the middle class if he’s going to pursue tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, while calling for radical cuts to public schools, public safety and other public services.

“They want solid assurance that they can continue to depend on Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act to keep their families healthy. They want to know if the president, as he pledged, will protect the programs and benefits they need for a dignified retirement. He needs specifically and unequivocally to denounce plans, championed by some in Congress and embraced by his own Secretary of Health and Human Services, to undermine retirement security by cutting or privatizing Social Security or Medicare.

“Working people, both union members and non-union members, have been getting a raw deal. They’re working harder for less. They’re struggling to keep a roof over their heads and pay the bills every month. Donald Trump said he would be a president for them. Now is his chance to prove it. We’ll be listening closely tonight.”