August 01, 2003
Diane Witiak
(202) 639-6419

AFGE Tells VA to Cease and Desist

Letter to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Anthony J. Principi

WASHINGTON, D.C.-"The VA must cease and desist in continuing its outsourcing studies to contract out laundry services," said AFGE National President Bobby L. Harnage, Sr., in a recent letter to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Anthony J. Principi.

The letter, dated July 30, 2003, points out that Secretary Principi's own general counsel concluded in late April that it is a violation of law [38 U.S.C. 8110(a)(5)] to use Veterans Health Administration (VHA) funds to conduct competitive-sourcing studies.

"Instead of continuing to disregard their own legal opinion, they should be looking for a way to undo what they have already done rather than doing more," Harnage added.

AFGE has given Secretary Principi 10 days to immediately cease and desist any contracting out of government services; agree, in writing, that the VA will engage in no further violations of the law; and agree, in writing, to disallow use of any studies which have previously been conducted with the use of VHA funds.

"If the VA does not immediately cease, AFGE will be forced to take further legal action to stop any irreparable harm to our members and to hold those responsible accountable to the taxpayers," Harnage warned in the conclusion of his letter.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest union for government employees, representing 600,000 federal workers in the United States and overseas, as well as employees of the District of Columbia. AFGE represents approximately 125,000 VA employees.

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