1.6 million public service workers have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus, with a disproportionate number of those workers being African-American, according to a recent AFSCME-sponsored discussion.

They key to recovering those jobs is immediate and robust federal funding for states, cities, and towns. Federal aid will not only assist in recovering lost jobs, but in preventing the elimination of millions more.

“With the economy in a state of collapse and the tax base crumbling, the same everyday heroes who have risked their lives to fight this pandemic are being thanked with pink slips,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders, who participated in the call.

“For any leaders listening right now, I ask that you act NOW to pass funding for state and local aid,” said Sandra Herbert, a certified nursing assistant in New Jersey who was also on the call. “Our governor has made it clear, without your help essential workers that we need to beat this pandemic and safely reopen the economy will suffer.”

“This is not a red or blue state issue,” said Saunders. “It’s a nonpartisan issue, and providing this aid is the right thing to do.

Mayors, governors and legislators from both political parties overwhelmingly back federal support for public services – as does 84% of the public.

Read more about the conversation and the importance of federal aid for states, cities, and towns here.