Hundreds of Veteran Affairs workers from across the country will be gathering in front of the White House Wednesday. They’re protesting demotions and layoffs within the Veterans’ Affairs administration that they say are negatively affecting care for vets.
The protesters are members of the American Federation of Government Employees, and hold various positions such as patient support assistants and medical clerks. Arkansas is among the states that are most affected, as many VA employees have been let go as a result of the changes.
Barbara Whitson-Casanova, who serves as Little Rock’s representative for the AFGE, is in Washington for the protest and believes these downgrades target people of particular incomes and occupations.
“We have seen an egregious attack on a series of lower paid employees that also consists of a large population of veterans and disabled veterans, women, and minorities,” said Whitson-Casanova. “If the trend continues, we're worried that these actions are becoming a way to balance budgets.”
Whitson-Casanova hopes to bring this issue to the forefront by demanding the Department of Veteran Affairs provide evidence of progress resulting from the policy change. Those affected, which includes veterans, are also calling for compensation for their lost time and money.