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Work That Matters Campaign


“My work matters because it makes a real difference in human lives.”

—Gwendolyn Brunson
Administrative and Residual Employees Union


The 30-year erosion of the public’s faith and trust in government is the result of orchestrated efforts by the anti-tax and limited-government movement, and politicians who run on platforms to privatize public services, downsize government and eliminate public services. Media reports about fraud, waste and abuse, simply reinforce negative notions of government. It is no wonder that the American public has lost sight of the role of government as the not-for-profit great equalizer that promotes the common good through programs, services and regulation, not to mention government-supported research ranging from technological developments to prescription drugs, which paves the way for private businesses both large and small.

Research shows that when people think of government, they tend to think either of bickering politicians or of massive bureaucracy. Clearly, the negative rhetoric about government has overshadowed the voice of front line government employees who are the best representatives of government. Government employees, unlike politicians and movements that are ideologically driven, are mission driven. And the mission of government is the common good, including building and sustaining public structures ranging from roads and bridges to judicial and regulatory systems that all Americans rely upon.

Work That Matters programs humanize the work of government. Work That Matters programs put a face on public services and serve to inform the public about the dedicated professionals who make up the government workforce.

Work That Matters is an outgrowth of the AFT Public Employees department’s Quality Services from Quality People program. Montana’s MEA-MFT launched the first Work That Matters program (and coined the slogan) in 2003 in response to legislative initiatives that would erode quality public services through a variety of means, including inadequate funding for both physical and programmatic public structures to privatization of public services to the private sector.

Related Articles:

"Work That Matters campaign introduces lawmakers to public employees"

Thanks to a new AFT Connecticut initiative, state lawmakers are getting the chance to meet a range of public employees—and learn about the work they do on behalf of the state's residents. Read more.

"Turning this moment into a movement"

The insidious attacks on the affordability of government programs and services, combined with the assault on public employees' collective bargaining rights and compensation, dominated the agenda at the joint conference of AFT Public Employees and AFT Healthcare. Read more.