WASHINGTON – Today, the American Federation of Government Employees, the largest union representing Department of Veterans Affairs workers, celebrated the introduction of the VA Correct Compensation Act (H.R. 6538), which ensures that VA healthcare providers receive the correct compensation by allowing federal unions to hold the agency accountable for routine payroll errors through the grievance process.
VA healthcare providers who are classified under Title 38, including physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, chiropractors, nurses, nurse anesthetists, physician assistants, and expanded-function dental auxiliaries, are currently prohibited by law from negotiating over several matters, including employee compensation adjustments. These workers are treated differently from other federal workers at the VA and across the government, and it has resulted in lost wages, low employee morale and increased staff attrition at a time when more veterans are choosing the VA for their healthcare. If enacted into law, this bill would change that.
AFGE National President Everett Kelley issued the following statement:
“For more than 30 years, hardworking Veterans Affairs healthcare providers including physicians, registered nurses, physician assistants, dentists, and more have lost out on wages due to the VA’s over-broad use of its legal authority, preventing federal unions from ensuring the accuracy of paychecks, by remedying routine payroll errors through the grievance process.
“During a time where fully staffing veteran healthcare facilities remains a top priority for both AFGE and VA, it is imperative that this technical correction is made to ensure that those who care for our veterans are compensated correctly.
“On behalf of the 304,000 VA workers represented by AFGE, a third of whom are veterans themselves, AFGE thanks Chairman Bost and Ranking Member Takano for their bipartisan leadership on this issue, and we call on Congress to pass the VA Correct Compensation Act.”
AFGE National VA Council President Alma Lee issued the following statement:
“Today is a joyous day for VA healthcare providers because we are one step closer to ensuring that we are paid correctly for the services we provide to our nation’s veterans.
“Far too often VA workers encounter problems with the accuracy of their paychecks, and the VA has refused the union the right to help workers challenge those pay inaccuracies. This has led to low morale to the frontline workers who care for our nation’s heroes.
“Our union, and the 75,000 Title 38 healthcare providers we represent, are thankful to Ranking Member Mark Takano and Chairman Mike Bost for their bipartisan leadership on this critical issue that impacts thousands of employees each year. We urge members of Congress to pass this legislation swiftly.”