Skip to comments.Big Labor's VA Choke Hold
Posted on 05/30/2014 6:03:59 AM PDT by KeyLargo
Big Labor's VA Choke Hold How Democrats put their union allies before the well-being of veterans. By Kimberley A. Strassel May 29, 2014
We know with certainty that there is at least one person the Department of Veterans Affairs is serving well. That would be the president of local lodge 1798 of the National Federation of Federal Employees.
The Federal Labor Relations Authority, the agency that mediates federal labor disputes, earlier this month ruled in favor of this union president, in a dispute over whether she need bother to show up at her workplacethe Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, W.Va. According to FLRA documents, this particular VA employee is 100% "official time"D.C. parlance for federal employees who work every hour of every work day for their union, at the taxpayer's expense.
In April 2012, this, ahem, VA "employee" broke her ankle and declared that she now wanted to do her nonwork for the VA entirely from the comfort of her home. Veterans Affairs attempted a compromise: Perhaps she could, pretty please, come in two days a week? She refused, and complained to the FLRA that the VA was interfering with her right to act as a union official. The VA failed to respond to the complaint in the required time (perhaps too busy caring for actual veterans) and so the union boss summarily won her case.
The VA battle is only just starting, but any real reform inevitably ends with a fight over organized labor. Think of it as the federal version of Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and other states where elected officials have attempted to rein in the public-sector unions that have hijacked government agencies for their own purpose. Fixing the VA requires first breaking labor's grip, and the unions are already girding for that fight.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
A rally of VA workers, members of the American Federation of Government Employees, near the White House, June 13, 2012. Getty Images/The Washington Post
Dayna Smith/For The Washington Post - AFGE Union members J. David Cox, left, and Bob Nicklas strategize in an Arlington neighborhood as they campaign Saturday for President Obama. By Joe Davidson, Published: October 31, 2012 E-mail the writers
“Stop Destroying Good Federal Jobs”! ROTFL!. Frickin’ union thugs.
One of the signs says “Stop Destroying Good Federal Jobs”.
And for whom are they good? The employees - not the free citizens who work to those ends.
May 29, 2014
While Vets Wait, VA Employees Do Union Work
Millions of dollars are spent on paying health professionals to do full-time work for their unions.
By Jillian Kay Melchior
In 2012, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs paid at least $11.4 million to 174 nurses, mental-health specialists, therapists, and other health-care professionals who, instead of caring for veterans, worked full-time doing union business.
The list of these taxpayer-funded union representatives at VA offices around the nation and their salaries was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by Georgia representative Phil Gingreys staff and provided to National Review Online.
So many health-care providers were on that list nurses or physical therapists or whatever they may be when so many veterans are falling through the cracks, a Gingrey aide tells me. Its kind of shocking that these paid employees wouldnt be fully dedicated to patient care.
In total, the VA spent at least $13.77 million on 251 salaried employees performing full-time union work. Others, who were not included on the list provided by the VA, work part-time for unions at the taxpayer expense. In fiscal year 2011, the latest on record, the VA used 998,483 hours of this official time, costing taxpayers more than $42 million.
The newly released records show that in Baltimore, which has the nations longest wait times for veterans claims, taxpayers covered $372,674 in salary costs in 2012 for a clinical dietetic technician, a patient-services assistant, a health technician, a medical-support assistant, and two nurses to spend all their time at work on union issues and none of it working with veterans.
In Columbia, S.C., the VA pays one health technician a $40,706 salary to work for the American Federation of Government Employees.
How unions share blame for VA deaths
By Betsy McCaughey
May 28, 2014
How unions share blame for VA deaths
Encouraging vets on Medicare to use civilian care instead of the Veterans Administration could cut the VAs patient backlog by as much as half, solving a national crisis.
Almost half of vets are 65 or over, and nearly all vets using the VA have Medicare coverage.
Often theyd be better off getting their bypass surgery and cancer operations at civilian hospitals that do higher volumes of these age-related procedures and have better survival rates, instead of sticking with the VA. But the VA fails to tell them.
The culprit is the American Federation of Government Employees, or AFGE, the union that dominates the VA. For AFGE, the VA is a jobs program: The union wants more patients, bigger VA budgets and more staff never mind what ailing vets need.
Nine months ago, the VA rolled out a $9.3 billion program to refer vets needing specialists to civilian medical centers, if the wait at their local VA facility is too long or they live too far away. AFGE is fighting the program, even accusing VA executives of deliberately causing the backlog. Create a Crisis and then outsource the work.