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VA won’t succeed in trying to silence union

I write today with an urgent message for our community as a member of AFGE Local 1631 which represents employees of the VA Medical Center, Chillicothe, Ohio, and the VA employees that serve the veterans at the Marietta CBOC. AFGE represents all bargaining unit employees, nurses, doctors and other medical professionals.

On Feb. 7, the Department of Veteran Affairs has said it will evict employee union space we have held for decades at the VA facilities across the nation, including our VA here in Chillicothe. We could have leased our space at the VA but at a price that was so high that they knew we could not pay.

Let’s be clear: This is union busting by the political appointees who are running the VA, plain and simple. This discriminatory treatment of its own employees shows the VA under this administration will stop at nothing to strip away the rights of front-line caregivers.

All this is in spite of the fact that our union helps resolve workplace disputes inside the VA, holds rogue managers accountable, brings life-or-death issues that affect veterans’ care to the public attention, and performs other vital tasks that make the VA the best place for veterans to receive comprehensive care.

Make no mistake: Our union will still be here, fighting for VA employees and the veterans we care for every day. But the VA’s actions in trying to silence the voice of its employees will make that work immeasurably harder. And all of us will pay the price for their error.

Brenda Martin, Secretary/Treasurer

AFGE Local 1631