The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the second largest teachers' union in the U.S., is launching a $1 million ad campaign encouraging audiences to support additional coronavirus relief.
The 30-second ad, titled "Essential", shows teachers in front of their laptop screens working to explain their at-home lessons, first responders helping to bring patients in ambulances to the hospital and community service workers delivering food.
"Ask yourself, in these challenging times, who is essential? Where are the front lines? How can we reopen without teachers?... And caregivers?" the narrator in the ad says.
"We must fund our public schools and community services. We can't afford to forfeit our future," continues the ad, which ends by urging viewers to call their senators to pass the HEROES Act.
The HEROES Act, a $3 trillion piece of legislation, seeks to allocate federal funding to help floundering state budgets. It would also increase pay for front-line workers, extend unemployment measures and provide another round of $1,200 stimulus checks for Americans.
However, Senate Republicans have pumped the brakes on new coronavirus legislation, arguing that Congress needs to assess the impact of other stimulus bills on the country. Members of GOP leadership said Monday that they do not expect to pass another round of relief legislation until later in July, after Independence Day.
The ad will run for two weeks on Facebook and television networks such as MSNBC, Fox News and CNN in 10 states, according to NBC.
The buy also includes a 15-second version of the ad, according to NBC.
The push from the AFT comes as more than 12 states across the country are experiencing an uptick in coronavirus cases. The average case count over a two-week period has doubled in states like Arizona, Arkansas, Oregon and Utah. Other states such as Nevada, North Carolina and Florida have set new highs in a 7-day rolling average.
Public health officials have pointed to reopening efforts, a lack of social distancing and Memorial Day gatherings as reasons for the recent spike in these places.
The coronavirus has also taken a severe toll on state budgets, which is likely to impact funding for public schools and their ability to reopen safely.
“If the HEROES Act fails to pass, and states and schools don’t get the support they need to reopen safely, then they’ll stay shut and the economy will stall — it’s that simple,” AFT President Randi Weingarten said in a statement, according to NBC.