AFSCME Urges Congress to Restore Needed Funding to Fight the Ebola Crisis

As a U.S. Senate Committee hearing on Ebola began Thursday, AFSCME urged Congress to support President Obama’s emergency request for funding to support the fight against the spread of Ebola in the United States and abroad. 


AFSCME represents workers who are on the front lines of America’s domestic response to Ebola, from the New York City EMT crew that transported an infected physician to Bellevue Hospital, to laboratory technicians at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, to state and county public health staff monitoring travelers from West Africa to hospital staff across the nation.

The President’s emergency request would shore up funding to hospitals, which dropped from $515 million to $225 million in the past decade. Restoring this vital funding will ensure that hospitals meet their obligations to patients, providers, other workers and the community, and to help prepare for a future health care crises.

“The budget sequesters and other funding cuts to state and local governments harmed our public health infrastructure and years of cuts meant losses in experienced and trained public health staff,” noted AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders.

Workers across the nation who are at high risk deserve training and practice on necessary personal protective equipment (PPE).  Americans will be less alarmed when they know workers are being protected from exposure and less likely to become transmitters of disease.

In partnership with AFSCME Local 2507 of District Council 37, the Bureau of Emergency Medical Service of New York City’s Fire Department developed protocols for transporting potential Ebola patients to the hospital. Only specially protected and trained EMS workers will treat and transport suspected Ebola virus patients.

AFSCME also urged Congress and the administration to hold accountable those entities that receive federal taxpayer dollars to address Ebola. Uniform compliance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and existing required worker health and safety procedures are needed to prevent the spread of Ebola and to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used properly.