Arlington, VA – Today Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX) introduced the Veterans, Employees and Taxpayer (VET) Protection Act, a measure which would put the needs of veterans ahead of union interests.
The bill would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (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. The VET Protection Act would also prohibit the VA from forcing employees to pay union dues.
The introduction of the VET Protection Act comes on the heels of a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which 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.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Executive Director Mark Lucas issued the following statement:
“One obvious reason why the VA is failing to provide adequate health care is that many of its employees spend their time conducting union business instead of caring for veterans. We applaud Rep. Arrington for proposing bold legislation that would weaken the grip big labor has over the VA and ensure human resources are being used responsibly within the department. Veterans, who sacrificed for this country, deserve the full attention and commitment of the government employees who are tasked with caring for them by American taxpayers. It’s not the VA’s job to take care of unions.”
The VET Protection Act is supported by House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC) Chairman Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN). Rep. Roe recently introduced the VA Accountability First Act of 2017, a measure which would make it easier to fire bad VA employees and empower the VA Secretary with the ability to take back unearned bonuses.
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 Act and the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act.