Chairman Takano Praises Settlement Agreement between VA and AFGE
Jenni Geurink| 202.819.4684
WASHINGTON, D.C —Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) praised the settlement agreement between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the labor union representing the largest number of the agency’s employees, in the following statement.
“This agreement is a major step toward re-establishing stronger worker rights and protections for all VA employees. I applaud AFGE and VA for finding common ground during their negotiations, and I thank President Biden for reversing course from the Trump Administration and making good on his promise to support union workers.
“The previous Secretary was outright hostile to worker rights, and, worse, ended useful communication with labor unions. This approach proved unnecessary and harmful to morale across the Department. I am acutely aware of the service and sacrifice VA employees have made for our nation’s veterans throughout this pandemic. Even with the risk and chronic staff shortages, they continued to show up every day to carry out VA’s mission. Despite baseless predictions, absenteeism, as a result of the pandemic, never materialized. Instead, VA employees proved just how essential they are in ensuring all veterans can access the care and benefits they’ve earned.
“With much better management-labor relations now on track, it is my hope that VA leadership, unions, and Congress can turn our collective energy toward solving the ongoing problems facing the agency, such as filling vacancies at our hospitals and hiring the next generation of care providers. In so doing, we can continue to build back veterans’ and VA employees’ trust in VA and ensure the delivery of high-quality and timely care and benefits.”
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