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AFSCME’s Saunders applauds return to merit staffing in Employment Service programs

WASHINGTON — WASHINGTON — AFSCME President Lee Saunders released the following statement responding to the U.S. Department of Labor’s final rule on Wagner-Peyser Employment Service staffing:  

“Qualified, nonpartisan public service workers are the lifeblood of strong communities, and recent history proves it. The COVID-19 pandemic, for example, triggered widespread unemployment, but dedicated public service professionals – many of whom are AFSCME members – were there to help pick up the pieces. They helped countless laid-off workers find new jobs, get through the crisis and keep food on the table for their families.

“As the past few years have clearly demonstrated, we need well-trained and unbiased individuals to work in employment services. With this final rule, the Biden-Harris administration will ensure those carrying out this critical function are there solely because of their abilities – not because of whom they know or whom they voted for. The rule restores the state merit staffing requirement that had stood for nearly 90 years, until it was overturned in 2020 by the previous administration to open up federally funded jobs to patronage hires or outsource them to private corporations. 

“AFSCME was founded on the belief that political cronyism has no place in public service. These essential jobs should be performed by qualified, civic-minded people who believe their work is a calling. The new Biden-Harris rule reaffirms that principle.” 

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