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Arbitrator: VA wrongfully fired workers

An independent arbitrator has ruled that the Department of Veterans Affairs violated the terms of a union contract when it began firing employees based on provisions in the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act.

The bill—which allows the VA to fire problem employees and essentially eliminates the standard performance improvement period (PIP) for certain VA employees—was signed into in law June of last year.

However, the American Federation of Government Employees, filed a grievance in September of 2017, contending that the law contradicted the collective bargaining agreement it had signed with the agency in 2011.

Furthermore, AFGE reported that while the VA was firing, suspending and demoting employees without receiving a formal PIP, other employees had their standards for performance change with little or no explanation and were given no recourse to improve.

“We came to work at the VA because we believe in the mission of caring for the men and women who served this country,” AFGE National Veterans Affairs Council President Alma L. Lee, said in a news release, adding, “But instead of getting support for our work, we’ve been dealing with managers moving the goalposts and using these bogus standards to fire dedicated public servants. It’s disgraceful.”

The decision, once finalized, means that many of those employees fired over the last year will get their jobs back, and the agency will have to follow the 2011 contract with AFGE and the PIPs will be restored.

“As the president and his administration continue their heinous anti-worker attacks on unions and federal workers, it’s great to see momentum swinging in our direction,” AFGE President J. David Cox Sr., said about the decision.

The news release also states: "Veterans’ care or access to it is not improved by firing rank-and-file workers, and now, thanks to this ruling, our members can get back to work making the VA the best health care provider in the country."

Reader comments

Wed, Jul 10, 2019

The hole va system is broken. Not just management but ws and gs employees do not want to work. Shut the VA down and let each veteran use TRI-CARE.Congress and TRUMP aget off your butt and make this happen. Could save taxpayer a lot of money by getting the VA shut down and turn over too Tri Care. Stop worrying about the vet because I"m 100% from VA and use Tri-care not VA. Tried to use but no matter were you went the employees seem not too do much. Just *** about there job. Went back too my tri-care prime. It cost over 300.00 per year. Best doctor in area to use or they send me to a specialist some were else.

Wed, Jul 10, 2019 Hiram ABif

Middle management is, has been, and always will be the primary problem within the VA. There is a cultural attitude that has infected the system that is decades old. Depending on your race, Bad employees are promoted to Managers. Bad managers are promoted to higher positions, or detailed. If you're white or any other race but African American, you are under a microscope. Fact

Mon, Jul 8, 2019 Sam USA

The VA Health Care and Hospital system currently has over 49,000 open positions that Qualified medical personnel do NOT want to even apply for because of the terrible treatment of all federal employees by Trump and by his stooges. Any jerk can fire people, that takes zero skill. But far more intelligent people running the show are required to attract new skilled, qualified applicants to fill the 200,000+ current open federal positions than no one wants to even apply for.

Sun, Jun 23, 2019

The only people fired at the VA are those trying to do the right things for veterans. Good nurses are written up by lazy CNAs on bogus incidents... mobbing where they all gang up on the dedicated employee is common. They even file wrongful police reports on the target. To be successful you must look the other way. VA nurses are the real one playing card on tax payers dime.... doesn’t happen any other place. I was fired in my probationary period and have since won awards in private nursing practice. One RN I worked with would bring home narcotics and her husband would sell them on the streets of Peekskill. He’s been arrested more than once yet she still comes to work and diverts drugs. A horrible system of abuse! VA Hudson is among the most corrupt. Keep your loved ones away because the last thing anyone needs is to receive care from medical professionals in it for themselves and their own financial gain.

Thu, Jan 24, 2019

A big outfit in Bethesda MD surely has more than their fair share of back stabbing, self-promoting, morale breaking, gender biased (especially against both in age), rule breaking and fraudulent management who take credit for things they never accomplished, take bogus trips, and telecommute when actually they should be taking annual leave. The management minions feel that they deserve such perks and recognition.

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