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This Memorial Day, sign petition supporting veterans’ care

SEATTLE (May 27, 2022) — On Wednesday, members of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) VBA Local 1128, AFGE Local 3197, AFGE Local 498, plus union and community supporters rallied outside the Jackson Federal Building in Seattle to demand better workplace conditions at local VA facilities and condemning the Veteran Affairs Department’s recommended closure of dozens of facilities nationwide.

As we enter Memorial Day weekend, a time that we honor the ultimate sacrifice that members of our armed services made to protect our freedom, the workers who provide essential health services to our veterans are asking for your support to stop the closure of VA facilities and privatization of these services.

TAKE A STAND — Please join thousands of veterans and their supporters in signing this petition to #SaveMyVA from proposed AIR Commission closures.

BACKGROUND — On March 14, VA Secretary Denis McDonough issued recommendations destined for review by the Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission, a board created by the 2018 VA MISSION Act, a bill designed to promote vast privatization of VA health care. If approved, Secretary McDonough’s recommendations would:

●  Close large segments of the VA health care system, including at least 17 integrated VA medical centers around the country
●  Destroy tens of thousands of union jobs in communities across the country
●  Deny veterans their preferred choice in health care providers
●  Force our nation’s heroes to find their own care from a patchwork of for-profit providers

VA leadership in Washington, D.C. claims it has no choice but to follow the MISSION Act. This legislation dictates that they must close dozens of VA medical centers, clinics, treatment centers and nursing homes and drastically cut outpatient and inpatient services at hundreds of additional locations. It’s time for VA workers, veterans, and all Americans to demand that our local, state, and national leaders put a stop to this assault on veterans’ care. It’s time to let the air out of the AIR Commission, halt the Senate confirmation of AIR commissioners, and repeal Title 2 of the MISSION Act. Closing VA facilities must be entirely off the table. Our promise to veterans will not be broken and this closure commission must be stopped.

Here are the facts:

1. Over one-third of all veterans’ medical visits have already been sent outside of the VA system

2. And more than 25% of VA healthcare dollars have already been diverted to the private, for-profit sector as a result of the VA MISSION Act.

3. One-third of the union jobs at the VA that the AIR commission would destroy are held by veterans themselves.

If the closure recommendations take effect, millions of veterans needing surgery, intensive care, emergency care, substance abuse treatment, skilled nursing home care and inpatient mental health care will be forced to rely on private, for-profit hospitals that have little to no specialized experience in meeting the unique needs of America’s veterans.

Thank you for taking a moment to sign this important petition and support our veterans.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!