NFFE Sends Letter to Congress Urging Reintroduction of VA Employee Fairness Act
March 14, 2023
Yesterday, the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) sent a letter to Congress urging the previous authors from last Congress to reintroduce the VA Employee Fairness Act of 2021. The bipartisan legislation had passed in the House last Congress with 218 cosponsors. The bill would guarantee full collective bargaining rights for all clinicians working in the VA, allowing them to improve the VA’s ability to provide the highest standards of care for our veterans.
“Currently, Section 7422 of Title 38 restricts the collective bargaining rights of select clinical professionals such as nurses, doctors, and dentists in the VA over matters concerning professional conduct or competence, compensation and patient care,” the letter reads. “These workers, classified as Title 38 employees, are seeking the same level of collective bargaining rights as other employees in the VA – rights that are also afforded to clinicians in the Department of Defense, other unionized federal employees and clinicians in the private sector.”
“Without the ability to bargain collectively over peer review, compensation, and patient care issues, clinicians are unable to speak up on issues related to patient safety and larger issues in VA healthcare facilities can potentially go unaddressed. The VA Employee Fairness Act would reduce turnover, increase staff levels and improve the care that veterans receive by repealing the provisions from Section 7422 that limit collective bargaining rights for VA clinicians. Expanded collective bargaining rights for VA employees would improve both the recruitment and retention of qualified clinical professionals working and seeking work in the VHA system.”
“NFFE has a commitment to its members to fight for their rights and benefits as civil servants, and we are doing that by urging Congress to pass this critical law that grants Title 38 employees the rights that they deserve,” said NFFE National President Randy Erwin. “I look forward to working with Representative Takano and Senator Brown and both chambers’ VA Committees to see this bill pass through Congress and signed into law by President Biden.”