VA Invites AFGE Locals Back to VA Facilities, Won’t Charge Rent

Categories: VA, The Insider

A year ago, at the direction of the Trump White House, the Department of Veterans Affairs told AFGE locals to either pay rent for union office space at VA facilities or move out. It was part of the previous administration’s plan to destroy unions and weaken workplace rights and protections. 

Now that President Biden has rescinded Trump’s executive order that kicked unions out of VA facilities, the VA announced Feb. 16 that they are inviting AFGE locals back. The change came shortly after Biden’s pick for VA Secretary, Denis McDonough, was confirmed by the Senate. 

“In light of President Biden’s revocation of Executive Oder 13837, VA will no longer charge rent for union office space,” the VA said in a letter to the AFGE National VA Council. “The union office space leases VA executed in 2020 will not be renewed when they expire. Those union officials who are currently occupying VA space will continue to be provided rent-free space consistent with the relevant provisions of their collective bargaining agreements.” 

Since several VA locals moved out, the agency said the locals may choose to remain offsite or move back to VA office space. 

“Facility managers shall endeavor to find those union officials suitable office space, consistent with applicable provisions of the unions’ collective bargaining agreements and with the facilities’ patient care demands and other mission-critical needs,” they added. 

This new development is the direct result of AFGE members’ hard work. We engaged in the election, made it clear that we demand a presence at the worksite, and our new President heard our cry. After President Biden revoked Trump’s 2018 executive orders, the AFGE National VA Council followed up with the VA demanding that the agency comply with Biden’s directive. 

Our union welcomes the change. We are hopeful that the VA will work with the union to rebuild the VA and its workforce so that the agency can provide the best possible care to our country’s veterans.

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