VA Secretary Clarifies Collective Bargaining Authority for Patient Care

August 29, 2018

Robert Wilkie, Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) secretary, recently clarified that unions can no longer use collective bargaining rights when it comes to professional conduct and patient care by VA providers.

According to Secretary Wilkie, rights that were given away by the VA under the previous Administration to preclude collective bargaining on issues indirectly related to VA providers’ professional conduct or patient care have been taken back. Secretary Wilkie plans to refocus VA providers’ commitment to Veterans’ care and VA’s ability to deliver that care.

The VA Secretary has also announced he has rescinded a Memorandum of Understanding that the VA entered into in 2010 with National Nurses United, Service Employees International Union, National Federation of Federal Employees, and National Association of Government Employees on VA’s application of 38 U.S.C. § 7422. As a result, collective bargaining can no longer be used by unions when it comes to VA providers on issues indirectly related to their professional conduct or the care that they provide patients at the VA.

“President Trump has made it clear that we want our providers laser-focused on caring for Veterans and that’s exactly what we’re doing here,” Secretary Wilkie said in a statement. “This move today ensures that unions can’t bargain on issues related to our providers’ professional conduct or competence, essentially patient care.  Our nation’s heroes deserve no less.”

Roughly 1,700 VA employees using taxpayer-funded union time—including two doctors, 65 nurses and 405 other employees who spent 100% of their taxpayer-funded time working on nothing but union business—will be affected by these executive orders.

Julie Gould

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