Arlington, VA – Today the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity will hold a legislative hearing on the Veterans, Employees and Taxpayer (VET) Protection Act, a measure which would put the needs of veterans ahead of union interests.
Two weeks ago, Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX) introduced the bill to limit union activity 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.
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:
“There is no reason that VA employees should be allowed to spend their time doing union work when they are supposed to be taking care of veterans, who need and deserve the best care possible. Unions are often responsible for blocking the very measures that would help the VA hold bad employees accountable and fix the toxic culture at the department. We urge the House Veterans Affairs Committee to move the VET Protection Act to a vote without delay. It is not the VA’s job to work for unions – it’s the VA’s job to work for veterans.”
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.