Bill sponsor Erica Gilmore (left), with SEIU members Mary Miller and Joan Parmer.
SEIU Local 205 members stood together and applauded Nashville’s Metro Council action on RS2013-824, which calls on Congress to end the sequester and balance the federal budget in a way that will create jobs and strengthen our communities.
The resolution is another way citizens and elected officials are coming together to invest in vital services, like Head Start, which took a $400 million cut this year due to the sequester. The Chattanooga City Council approved a similar resolution a week earlier.
“Cuts to Head Start, Meals On Wheels, and job education programs are hurting our community,” said Linda Epps, an employee of Metro Action Commission working in the Head Start program. “These days, Congress doesn’t do anything unless we force them to. We thank the Nashville Metro Council for taking a stand for our children and seniors.”
In March of this year, $85 billion in across-the-board budget cuts went into effect. These cuts, known as “The Sequester”…
- Cut Head Start by $400 million in FY2013, which will result in 1,200 fewer Tennessee children served. Nationwide, tens of thousands of Head Start employees could either lose their jobs or rely on cash-strapped states and localities to pick up their salaries instead.
- Cut employment services, which connect job seekers with employment opportunities and job training. With cuts totaling more than $37 million, some 830,000 fewer job seekers will receive employment assistance.
- Threaten the loss of 750,000 American jobs according to the Congressional Budget Office, leaving many middle class Americans vulnerable.
- Cuts 2 percent from Medicare, which would cost 212,000 jobs in the healthcare industry alone, according to the Congressional Research Service.
“Congress needs to do more to make sure the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share of taxes,” said Doug Collier, president of SEIU Local 205. “A fair budget agreement should raise more revenue from wealthy Americans and big corporations. There are hundreds of billions in tax loopholes used by big business and the wealthy to allow them to avoid taxes that could give us more revenue and prevent cuts to the vital services our communities need.”
This story got media attention from NBC News and from The Nashville Scene.
At the Metro Action Commission in Nashville, SEIU members showed solidarity when administrators tried to force workers to use emergency leave during inclement weather, even though the agency’s own policy said otherwise. When the MAC employees took action and posted copies of the policy up on bulletin boards all across the city’s Head Start centers, administrators backed off.