The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Ali Jost, 202-730-7159,Mark McCullough, 202-730-7283,Kawana Lloyd, 202-730-7087

SEIU to Conferees on Recovery Bill: Don't Shortchange Working People


Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger today sent a letter to House-Senate conferees that thanks members of Congress for their "urgent and necessary" efforts so far to create jobs that will stem the economic crisis and that urges them to complete work quickly on a comprehensive plan.

"Now is not the time to allow further job losses or cuts in vital public services, and now is not the time to draw arbitrary limits on the overall size of this legislation," Burger said, referring to differences between the House and Senate versions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that could mean an estimated 600,000 in additional job losses.

Thousands of SEIU members this week are making calls, sending emails, and making visits to Capitol Hill to urge Congress to act as swiftly on real economic recovery for working people in America as they did to bail out Wall Street.

"SEIU members see first-hand what it means when crucial public services - health care, senior services, and public safety - are cut back at the very time people need them most," Burger said. "We call on Congress not to shortchange people on Main Street."

SEIU President Andy Stern and Burger have called on Congress and the administration to include in the economic recovery plan:

* significant relief to state and local governments to preserve and rebuild crucial services and good jobs, including the FMAP increase, state stabilization and education funding contained in the House bill;

* major spending on infrastructure projects that are ready to go and others that with help create jobs and bolster local communities in the long-term; and

* spending on innovations in training for health care and energy workers, sectors of our economy that are growing and sustainable and will lead to high-paying careers for workers competing in a global economy.

SEIU also called upon conferees to scale back tax provisions that add to the overall cost of the package but do not provide sufficient stimulus and do not provide targeted relief to working and middle-class families.

SEIU members are pressing for the economic recovery package as the first part of a wider campaign, Change That Works, designed to bring economic solutions to Main Street, including efforts to fix the nation's healthcare system and ensure workers have a voice on the job.

With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers--not just corporations and CEOs--benefit from today's global economy.