Houston’s AFSCME HOPE Local 123 has taken the lead in encouraging the city’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, and the City Council to support an appeal to the federal congress for state and local aid, as well as to scrap a planned 3,000 municipal worker layoff.

The initiative, led by HOPE’s member leaders Roy Sanchez, an electrical inspector, and Sandra Otoya, an administrative supervisor for the Houston Fire Department, successfully convinced the major and the council to use existing COVID-19 relief funding to reinstate three furloughed employees and eliminate plans to furlough thousands more.

Otoya, in a meeting with the city’s leadership, noted “The city has done the best it could under the circumstances, but how the city reacts to the pandemic will be the key to reopening us and we need help as soon as possible.”

“I ask you, mayor, to tell the senators to fund the front lines,” Sanchez added.

HOPE 123’s request for support in lobbying congress comes as the state is facing a nearly $170 million budget gap as it prepares to launch the new fiscal year.

Read more about HOPE 123’s successful efforts to lobby local support for federal funding for states, cities, and towns – and how this funding is vital to Houston and other cities across the country – here.