July 06, 2020
Thanks to our hard work and persistence, AFGE scored several major wins in the House version of the fiscal 2021 NDAA.
Doctors, nurses, physician assistants, and other healthcare professionals continue to demand Congress fully fund the Department of Veterans Affairs and fill the 49,000 vacancies at VA hospitals nationwide. Understaffing these facilities denies veterans the critical care they deserve and were promised when they signed up to serve our country.
On Nov. 15, a group of AFGE members held signs in front of the Bath VA hospital in New York saying: “No Vet Should Wait in Line,” “Don’t Dismantle My VA,” and “49,000 Vacancies Is a Disgrace.”
"How do we properly care for our veterans?" asked Richard Howard, a veteran and president of AFGE Local 491. "They talk about timely care. They're setting us up for failure and it's not against the local leadership at this VA. They're very good, but their hands are tied. They're tied by Congress and the administration."
Similar demonstrations were held across the country including at the VA hospital in Austin, Texas, on Nov. 14. AFGE Local 1745 President Terry Lendo said most of the 49,000 unfilled jobs are for doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.
“We want Congress to staff the VA properly,” Lendo said. “We all feel that if the VA is staffed properly it will succeed, thus negating the (need) of privatization.”
VA employees in Temple, Texas, and Winston-Salem, Virginia, also held rallies last week.
Even though the United States has the world’s highest numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths, the federal government has remained open throughout the outbreak.
More than 13,000 employees at the USCIS have received their furlough notices, but they have not given up on saving their jobs and their agency.