NFFE Applauds the Reintroduction of ‘VA Employee Fairness Act’ to Help Title 38 Medical Professionals
The National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) applauded the reintroduction of the VA Employee Fairness Act in Congress this week, making this the second Congress to introduce a NFFE-supported bill aimed at improving the participation of VA health and medical professionals in care and workplace policies at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The bill was introduced by House Veterans Committee Chairman Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) with a companion bill in the Senate introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
“This bill is partly about the right to collectively bargain over working conditions,” stated NFFE National President Randy Erwin, “but it also protects VA professionals when they report inefficiencies or potentially deadly policies or incidents up the chain or to oversight authorities. Right now, these professionals do not have these protections and as a result, many have been disciplined or terminated because of retaliation.”
Several bills signed into law by President Trump weakened union representational rights for VA professionals working under ‘Title 38’ positions and deteriorated whistleblower rights for all VA employees. Over the last two congresses, NFFE and its partner VA unions prompted inquiries into the impact of the misguided laws resulting in several congressional and inspector general investigations. These investigations exposed misinformation efforts by Trump VA officials regarding veteran care and program effectiveness. The investigations also proved that whistleblower activity plummeted under a new office controlled by Trump political appointees who adjudicated personnel disciplinary actions.
“VA healthcare professionals are the best in the business because they understand the complex and unique needs of our nation’s veterans,” Erwin continued. “The VA is not the place to suppress whistleblower laws or the professional opinions of those responsible for providing treatment and healthcare at the VA. NFFE is proud to be a vocal supporter of these bills, and we thank Chairman Takano, Senator Brown, and the many cosponsors who agree that backing VA professionals on the job is critical to veteran healthcare.”