Congress Should Move Bill to Limit Union Activity at VA
Arlington, VA – Today the House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC) will consider the Veterans, Employees and Taxpayer (VET) Protection Act, legislation that would put the needs of veterans ahead of union interests at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
If passed, the VET Protection Act would require the VA to track the use of their employees’ time and prohibit employees involved with direct patient care from spending more than 25% of their time on union activities. This legislation would also prohibit the VA from forcing employees to pay union dues.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Executive Director Mark Lucas issued the following comment:
“During work hours, VA employees should be focused solely on taking care of veterans – not doing the bidding of unions. Unions are often directly responsible for blocking the same measures that will help the VA hold bad employees accountable and fix the toxic culture at the department. The VA exists to protect the lives of veterans, not to keep unions operational. We urge Congress to give this important legislation the consideration it deserves. Making sure VA employees are doing VA work on the VA’s dime should be a no-brainer.”
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the primary union for VA employees, has consistently opposed commonsense and bipartisan bills which would introduce more accountability to the VA, such as the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act and the new VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. The Senate will meet to consider the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act later today.
The introduction of the VET Protection Act came just months after a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report revealed that employees at the VA have spent millions of hours on union work instead of doing their actual jobs. In 2015 alone, the VA employed 346 taxpayer-paid workers who did nothing but union activities, according to the report.