In a written testimony submitted to the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs during a hearing this week on pending legislation, AFGE raised serious concerns over a bill that would require employees of all levels who received bonuses in 2011 through 2014 to repay the awards if the employees “contributed to the purposeful omission of the name of one or more veterans waiting for health care from an electronic wait list for a medical facility.”
AFGE remains committed to helping VA provide the best possible care to veterans and exposing all issues involving illegal scheduling practices that harm veterans. However, the union is seriously concerned about the bill as it would punish rank-and-file low wage employees who make no decisions regarding scheduling policies and practices and regularly fear for their jobs through intimidation and retaliation by their supervisors. Focusing on low wage scheduling clerks would reduce actually accountability efforts at the VA.
“Medical Support Assistants (MSAs) work at the direction and within the complete control of their immediate and higher level supervisors. Furthermore, MSAs regularly fear for their jobs. Over the past year, Congress has heard extensive testimony regarding VA’s culture of fear and retaliation against rank and file employees at the VA,” AFGE said in the statement.
The bill, S. 627, was introduced by Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.