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On June 20th, the historic Poor People’s Campaign (PPC), founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., will host a digital march on Washington. Now more than ever, we must confront the inequities our country was built on. In the tradition of the civil rights movement, the Poor People’s Campaign is back to unite us in fighting for every American’s right to live. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, a quarter of the U.S. labor force, close to 43 million people, have filed for unemployment benefits.

Washington state has been the hardest hit. Between a surge of fraudulent claims originating overseas as well as a record number of legitimate claims, the equivalent of 30 percent of the workforce has filed for unemployment insurance.

Employees at the Washington state Employment Security Department (ESD) like Beth Toms, an Intake Specialist in the Spokane office who serves as the Secretary Treasurer of WFSE Local 1221, have been working around the clock to process unemployment claims.

Economists of diverse backgrounds, who might otherwise disagree on a range of policy issues, spoke with a single voice on Monday on the need for Congress to provide robust aid to states, cities and towns.

Such aid, they said, is crucial in the midst of an economic crisis that is decimating state and local budgets and threatening essential public services that are critical to beating the pandemic and jumpstarting the economy.

AFSCME member Kong Yeung, a 61-year-old maintenance custodian at the University of Washington, died in late March after contracting COVID-19. Two months later, his co-workers are still calling on the UW to follow public health guidance and take precautions to keep them safe from the coronavirus.

Olympia, Wash.—The Washington Federation of State Employees (AFSCME Council 28) Executive Committee released the following statement condemning the recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd:

Even in the best of times, organizing can be tough work. Add in a global pandemic, and growing your local union can seem impossible. Yet over the last few months, a group of interpreters in Washington state hasn't let the COVID-19 crisis slow them down.