Press Release

Statement by AFT President Randi Weingarten on Jobs Report

For Release: 

Friday, June 5, 2020

Contact:

Andrew Crook
o: 202-393-8637 | c: 607-280-6603
acrook@aft.org

WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement after the U.S. jobs report showed the loss of more than half a million additional public sector layoffs amid a rebound in private sector jobs:

“The jobs report out today confirms what we already know: The CARES Act is working, but if we don’t act now on a new round of stimulus for states, communities and schools, then millions more Americans will be out of work.

“We are in the midst of three crises: a pandemic, an economic crisis and a crisis of systemic racism. The news that private sector jobs grew was a step in the right direction, but these crises are far from over.

“An additional 585,000 public sector jobs were lost, following a drop of 963,000 in April. That includes another 375,000 educators, for a total of 750,000 so far during the COVID-19 pandemic, double the carnage of the Great Recession.

“The numbers are an argument for state and local aid, not against it. Business wants to come back, but we can’t halt stimulus now, particularly for states and schools, otherwise we’ll be confronting a fresh slump that will wreak havoc for years.

“The president’s comments today about George Floyd were tone-deaf. Floyd was murdered by police, and racial inequalities remain unaddressed. The report showed that Black unemployment rose, as African Americans continue to feel the disproportionate effects of the downturn.

“There are no magic fixes for this economy—only a path to recovery if we keep up the stimulus and investments to fund, rather than forfeit, the future. We urgently need the federal funding included in the HEROES Act that helps states, cities, towns and schools weather this rolling storm. If we fail to act, essential services will be gutted, schools won't be able to reopen and public employees will stay laid off.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.