AFSCME Launches ‘Staff The Front Lines’ Bus Tour, In New York, Aimed At Solving Understaffing Crisis In Public Service

Photos: AFSCME

WASHINGTON – States, cities, towns and schools are facing an unprecedented staffing crisis, as hiring for public sector jobs has not kept pace with the private sector. In April, there were 833,000 job openings in state and local governments nationwide. In response, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is kicking off a national bus tour this summer to recruit talented, diverse and dedicated people to staff the front lines.


The bus tour starts in Rochester, New York on Monday, July 17, at 11 a.m., AFSCME Council 66 members will join Mayor Malik Evans, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and New York Assemblymember Harry Bronson to hold a press conference on the urgent need to fill public service jobs. In front of City Hall, speakers will discuss how these are good union jobs and the importance of hiring dedicated people to fill them.

From nurses to sanitation workers to corrections officers, chronic short staffing is undermining the effective delivery of public services that New Yorkers across the state rely on. That’s why AFSCME launched the Staff the Front Lines initiative this year, to partner with elected officials on recruiting and retaining the essential workers who keep our communities running. The Staff the Front Lines bus will stop and hold recruitment events in more than 20 major cities across the country this summer.

We all deserve to live in thriving communities with clean drinking water, safe roads, strong public schools, and good health care. But right now, our nurses, school bus drivers, 911 dispatchers, corrections officers and other public service workers are on the front lines of a staffing crisis that is threatening their ability to do their jobs,”said AFSCME President Lee Saunders (below). “AFSCME members know our communities best, and that’s why we’re launching the ‘Staff the Front Lines’ bus tour. By working together, we can fix this problem.”

The bus tour is part of AFSCME’s Staff the Front Lines initiative, a comprehensive effort that includes hiring events, legislative advocacy, extensive partnership building and a robust digital marketing strategy. The initiative also establishes a national Job Training and Development Center to build a sustainable talent pipeline into public service and address structural barriers to entry and advancement. The bus will make stops in communities across the country, where community leaders will host job fairs to recruit new talent, listening sessions with public service workers and professional development events.

“There isn’t going to be a one-size-fits-all solution to solve this crisis, but we can start by prioritizing and listening to the public service workers who have dedicated their careers to serving their communities,”said Saunders.“Public service jobs are often good union jobs, providing better wages, benefits, retirement security and safer working conditions. It is also rewarding work where people can make a difference.”

The bus tour will stop in New York, Michigan, Minnesota, Washington, California, Arizona, New Mexico, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Virginia.

To learn more about the Staff the Front Lines initiative, visit


AFSCME’s 1.4 million members provide the vital services that make America happen. With members in communities across the nation, serving in hundreds of different occupations — from nurses to corrections officers, childcare providers to sanitation workers — AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and freedom and opportunity for all working families.


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