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AFGE, veterans rally in D.C. against VA’s job downgrades

The following is a crosspost from Mike Hall at AFL-CIO Now:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 12) — Thousands of hardworking Veterans Health Administration employees — including many veterans — have seen their job classifications arbitrarily downgraded over the past two years. Today, VHA workers from health care facilities in 20 states will march from Veterans Affairs headquarters in Washington, D.C., to the White House.

The workers, most of whom are in modest-paying jobs, include patient support assistants, medical record clerks, transportation assistants and others providing vital support services within the agency. AFGE National VA Council President Alma Lee says:

VA employees have a target on their back. The agency has spent the past two years devastating the lives of modest wage earners who play a crucial role in supporting medical center functions within the VA.

By VHA’s own admission, medical center directors have been ordered to impose downgrades across the board on different positions, sometimes without speaking with any of the impacted employees. These employees are disproportionately veterans, disabled veterans, women and minorities.

The workers want the VA to put a moratorium on the downgrades. The agency, says Lee, has not been able to show any evidence this “discriminatory assault on veterans and other VA employees at the bottom of the pay scale,” has or will improve the functioning of the agency or its ability to serve veterans.

This nation’s public servants and veterans deserve better.

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