VA Moves Over 400 Medical Professionals Serving Unions Back to Veterans

December 21, 2018

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has announced it will move roughly 430 medical professionals from taxpayer-funded union work back to health care jobs that serve veterans.

According to the VA, the move will improve the VA’s ability to deliver health care to Veteran patients. The VA said this transfer was to take place on November 15, 2018 when the VA repudiates certain provisions of master collective bargaining agreements that the VA accepted during the Obama administration with the following unions: American Federation of Government Employees, National Federation of Federal Employees, National Association of Government Employees, and National Nurses United.

The VA noted that the repudiation will apply to all of the VA’s nearly 104,000 title 38 employees. Further, it will eliminate all forms of taxpayer-funded union work for the following professions:

•  Physician;

•  Dentist;

•  Podiatrist;

•  Chiropractor;

•  Optometrist;

•  Registered nurse;

•  Physician assistant; and,

•  Expanded-duty dental auxiliary.

“Allowing health care workers to do taxpayer-funded union work instead of serving veterans impacts patient care negatively,” VA Acting Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration Jacquelyn Hayes-Byrd said in a statement. “President Trump has made it clear—VA employees should always put Veterans first. And when we hire medical professionals to take care of veterans, that’s what they should do at all times. No excuses, no exceptions.”

The VA noted that in fiscal year 2016, VA employees spent more than a million hours doing taxpayer-funded union work at a total cost of more than $49 million. Notably, however, the VA said they are in the process of renegotiating several national collective bargaining agreements to ensure official time allocations are putting veterans first. —Julie Gould