Arlington, VA — A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reveals that employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs (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. The report also confirmed that the VA does not have an effective way to monitor how much time their own employees spend on union work.
As a result of the report, next week the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs’ Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Government Operations will hold a joint hearing to examine ongoing union activities at the VA.
Concerned Veterans for America Policy Director Dan Caldwell issued the following statement:
“While veterans are dying waiting for care, there are hundreds of employees at the VA who are spending their time working for big-government unions that fight any attempt to fix the VA. There are virtually no accountability mechanisms in place for these employees, in part because VA unions are so intertwined with department leadership. For far too long, big-government unions have stood in the way of veterans getting quality care and helped to perpetuate the toxic culture at the VA. We applaud the House Veterans Affairs Committee and the House Oversight Committee for investigating this clear waste of taxpayer dollars at the hands of American veterans, who deserve much better than this.”
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 like the VA Accountability Act and the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act.
The HVAC hearing, “The Use of Official Time for Union Activities at the Department of Veterans Affairs,” will take place next Thursday, February 16, at 2:00 p.m. at the Rayburn House Office Building.