SAN FRANCISCO – Activists at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health Care System are calling for congressional oversight into the operation of the system charged with caring for our nation’s veterans in the Bay Area. Chronic short staffing in direct patient care roles and staff support have led to a demoralized environment that undoubtedly impacts the veterans being served, says AFGE Local 1216.
"For nearly two years we have worked tirelessly to address the critical staffing shortages with agency managers," said AFGE Local 1216 President Michael Sanchez. “Through labor-management meetings and regular communication we have stressed the urgency of fully staffing our main hospital and community clinics in order to fully meet the needs of our veterans. Unfortunately, we’ve been met with broken promises and leadership decisions that have left our staffing levels down by 21 percent.”
Labor activists have met with congressional leaders in the past in an effort to motivate agency leaders to come to the table to develop and execute solutions surrounding understaffing. Following these meetings, AFGE Local 1216 found the agency to be responsive in addressing personnel concerns, only to leave their commitments unfulfilled.
“The advocacy I do each and every day is centered around our veterans getting the care they need and deserve,” said Sanchez. “The lack of serious movement on the part of management to effectively solve our staffing problems means that as a union we must turn to our legislators to ensure that the promises made to our nation’s heroes are kept by the agency designed to provide their care.”
AFGE Local 1216 looks forward to continued meetings with lawmakers in order to successfully address and eliminate the staffing shortages in the San Francisco VA Health Care System.