(WASHINGTON) –The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) applauds Rep. Timothy Walz of Minnesota for introducing H.R. 2785, the Military Reserve Jobs Act. The bill, whose original cosponsors include Reps. Jackie Speier, Kerry Bentivolio and Jeff Denham, would extend veterans’ preference rights under the Veterans Employment Opportunity Act (VEOA) to applicants for VA medical professional jobs.
Currently, veterans applying for Title 38 positions with the Veterans Affairs (VA) medical system have no recourse if the agency fails to take into account their preference points. This inequality impacts the vast majority of VA healthcare positions involving patient care including doctors, registered nurses, physician assistants, social workers, psychologists, physical therapist, chiropractors and pharmacists.
“AFGE and its National Veterans Affairs Council have fought for 10 years to have this gross oversight in the law corrected,” said AFGE NVAC President Alma Lee. “Employees covered by the Title 38 personnel system are short-changed when it comes to many of the rights afforded to their Title 5 counterparts. We are vigorously working with lawmakers to get these issues corrected. H.R. 2785 represents a critical first step in addressing this unfair situation.”
Rep. Walz’s Military Reserve Jobs Act would also extend veterans’ preference to military reservists who seek federal employment.
“Under the current law our nation’s veterans who return from military service and join the civilian workforce to care for their fellow veterans at VA healthcare facilitates are subjected to disparate treatment when it comes to hiring and promotions,” said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. “It is a terrible injustice to those who’ve served this country and we are pleased that Rep. Walz has introduced legislation to correct this matter. It is our duty to ensure that when veterans come to work for the federal government that their status is respected and honored in all terms of employment.”
AFGE will begin reaching out to other lawmakers for their support on this important legislation.