WASHINGTON, DC - More than 100 members and leaders of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) from 24 states, as well as dozens of other union members from across the country, came to Capitol Hill today to deliver a message to their Members of Congress - we want jobs, not cuts. The National Lobby Day was held in coordination with SEIU, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO and the National Education Association (NEA).
"I'm here today because I want to tell my Members of Congress that I believe the wealthy should pay their fair share in taxes and that we can't cut our way to prosperity," said Mitch Azarcon, a member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.
The 2012 election is over and the American people have spoken. They voted for strengthening the middle class and putting people back to work--not for job-killing budget cuts and attacks on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Voters rejected cutting healthcare and education to pay for tax breaks for the rich.
"I think the deficit is important, but why are we not talking about jobs?" said Lewis Edward Dishmon, a SEIU/Workers United member from North Carolina and a registered Republican. "Members of Congress need to put jobs first if we are going to get our economy moving again."
As the President and Congressional leaders try to negotiate a deal to prevent middle class taxes from going up and across-the-board spending cuts from taking effect in January, rank and file union members are concerned. At stake in these negotiations is the potential for hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other vital services, and a process that could affect the federal budget picture for the next decade.
In these negotiations, Congress can either focus on the deficit as the number one problem, or get to work on the issues voters told us they care about: rebuilding a vibrant middle class, creating more good jobs and ensuring our policies reflect the core American value that we are all in this together.
SEIU believes that any agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff must protect middle class taxes cuts now, ask all Americans to pay their fair share, put job creation first, protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and end the across-the-board cuts to vital services.