Take action: Tell Congress to oppose misguided VA firing bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 28, 2023) — The American Federation of Government Employees is strongly opposing a bill before Congress that attempts to expedite the firing of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs employees and puts the burden of poor VA leadership on employees’ shoulders – at a time of critical understaffing at the agency. AFGE is calling on all union members and supporters to assist in this effort.

The 2023 Restore VA Accountability Act would jeopardize job security and workplace rights for hundreds of thousands of VA employees. Day in and day out, VA workers provide essential services to our nation’s heroes. Many of these workers are veterans themselves, which allows care providers to build a strong sense of trust with patients and comprehend their unique needs.

TAKE A STAND — Please take a moment to send a letter to your congressional representatives urging them to protect the job security and workplace rights of existing VA employees, and uphold the quality of care our veterans receive.

We’ve been here before. In 2017, Congress passed the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act following a scandal that exposed the malfeasance of several VA officials, which resulted in many veterans paying the ultimate price. The law was intended to hold managers accountable and give employees a safe space to blow the whistle. Unfortunately, the law has instead been used by the VA to attack collective bargaining rights and unjustly fire thousands of low-level employees, many of whom are not in direct patient care positions.

AFGE has fought several times against the usage of this law and federal courts and administrative agencies have consistently affirmed the union’s position that the VA violated worker civil service protections when firing employees using this law.

Now, Congress is considering adding insult to injury by expanding this law, threatening workers’ abilities to continue providing impeccable care to veterans, undermining AFGE’s new collective bargaining agreement, and placing an even larger target on the backs of underpaid, understaffed, and overworked VA employees, a third of whom are veterans themselves.

Please contact Congress today and urge opposition to this legislation. You can read more about the bill here.

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