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The American Federation Of Government Employees ‘Applauds’ Biden Plan To Fill Worker Vacancies At the Veterans Administration, As Well As ‘Bump Pay’ For VA Employees & Make Investments In The Overall System

Published Monday, September 28, 2020
by AFGE News
The American Federation Of Government Employees ‘Applauds’ Biden Plan To Fill Worker Vacancies At the Veterans Administration, As Well As ‘Bump Pay’ For VA Employees & Make Investments In The Overall System

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Former Vice President Joe Biden told reporters that, if elected President, he plans to fill vacancies at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and increase wages for Employees to be competitive with the Private Sector.

The VA now has more than 50,000 vacancies, up from 49,000 last year. 

Biden told the Military Newspaper Stars and Stripes that the VA’s biggest challenge is filling tens of thousands of job vacancies.

If elected President, he would increase the VA’s budget and boost Employees’ pay. 

Here’s an excerpt: “We can’t compete economically,” Biden told Stars and Stripes, saying it’s difficult for the VA to recruit Health Care Workers when they can earn more money elsewhere.

“The VA ‘shortage is the canary in the coal mine of the whole medical system,” the Democratic Presidential Candidate said. 

Biden also said even though some private care is still needed in rural areas, investing in the VA System will be a priority because the VA is better equipped to take care of veterans’ special needs: “I ‘do not - under any circumstance support moving to total privatization.’  There are ‘unique problems’ the military ‘encounters as a consequence of war and pressure - everything from orthopedics to prostheses to mental health issues.’” 

Biden’s position is in sharp contrast with that of the Republican Trump Administration, which has pushed to outsource care for Veterans as much as possible and has refused to fill the vacancies and invest in VA Facilities. 

Even though the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) has consistently raised the issue on behalf of its Members, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie has told Congress that filling the vacancies just isn’t a priority for the Trump administration. 

AFGE is applauding Biden for supporting the work VA Employees do serving Veterans. 

“We are ‘very encouraged’ by Vice President Biden’s plan ‘to address chronic short staffing at the Department of Veterans Affairs.’  The vacancies at the VA ‘keep climbing.’  It is ‘unacceptable and a disservice to our Nation’s Veterans that the VA Health Care System currently has over (50,000) vacancies,’” AFGE President Everett Kelley said. 

“(The) AFGE ‘is proud to represent dedicated’ VA Employees ‘in every critical position’ at VA Medical Centers ‘and we stand ready to work with the Biden Administration to ensure that Physicians, Nurses and all Front Line VA Health Care Employees - including Housekeepers who keep patient rooms and ICUs germ free and police officers who de-escalate dangerous situations - earn adequate wages to bring this world-class Veteran-Centric Health Care System to full staffing levels,’” he added. 

The vast majority of front line VA Health Care Employees who risked their lives to care for Veterans during the Coronavirus Pandemic received no pandemic pay from VA Secretary Wilkie and were denied adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). 

“We ‘welcome the opportunity to work with a new’ VA Secretary ‘who values every’ VA Employee ‘and is committed to strengthening’ the VA Health Care System ‘rather than dismantling it through privatization and intentional staffing shortages,’” Kelley said.   

To Directly Access This Labor News Story, Go To: www.afge.org/article/biden-plans-to-fill-va-vacancies-bump-pay-for-workers-invest-in-va/?fbclid=IwAR2lptg2F_3Sm1xGb-C4mAvHcXhv_n19WWM6zhE4u_v686XMMFegehTQEOM

 

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