The Department of Veterans Affairs last week presented its proposals to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with a federal employee union —which quickly denounced the effort, calling it a “sham proposal.”
VA said the proposals would improve medical care, customer service and staff accountability, by cutting taxpayer-funded union time for VA/American Federation of Government Employees workers from over 1 million hours annually to 10,000 hours yearly and streamlining the hiring and job classification process, among other issues.
AFGE, on the other hand, said the proposal “would eviscerate the existing labor contract covering 250,000 employees in the Department of Veterans Affairs and strip workers of their rights and protections.” The proposal removes 42 articles from the contract that covered issues such as employee training, workplace health and safety, and protection from whistleblower retaliation, the union said.
“Secretary [Robert] Wilkie is making a mockery of the collective bargaining process to do the bidding of President Trump,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said in a May 3 statement. “This is all part of the Trump administration’s strategy to force the VA to fail, thereby paving the road to privatization.”