- improve DVA's retention and recruitment of nursing staff;
- require DVA to create a policy on safe staffing standards that takes into consideration the numbers and skill mix of required staff;
- call for the Secretary of the DVA to report on the use of mandatory overtime, its effects on patient care and recommend ways to prevent excessive use of mandatory overtime; and
- provide for Saturday premium pay for Licensed Practical Nurses, pharmacists, occupational therapists, physical therapists and respiratory therapists.
"AFGE thanks Senator John D. Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) for his introduction of S. 1188 and Senator Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) for his support of this legislation," Harnage added, "and for listening and responding to AFGE's concerns."
"Addressing these adverse working conditions will relieve the extraordinary burdens currently being placed on DVA's direct patient care staff and enhance their ability to advocate for improved quality of care and patient protection," Harnage concluded.
AFGE will continue to seek legislation to provide Title 5 workers with Saturday premium pay.
The American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, is the largest union for government employees, representing 600,000 federal workers in the United States and overseas. AFGE represents some 135,000 DVA employees nationwide.