NFFE Wins Favorable Settlement with the Department of Veterans Affairs Reversing Dangerous Policies that Limited Employee Input
Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) claimed another victory in reaching a favorable settlement with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regarding its implementation of Trump administration Executive Orders and litigation concerning restrictions on representation rights for Title 38 employees. This settlement comes in the wake of NFFE’s recent success in compelling the VA to reinstate the agency’s previous Labor Master Agreement, first ratified in 2011, effective now through the next two years.
“NFFE is pleased with the result of this settlement, as it restores critical rights to union workers at the VA and allows them to operate under their previously negotiated labor contract, which pre-dated the last administration,” said NFFE National President Randy Erwin. “After the last presidential administration imposed a fiercely anti-labor collective bargaining agreement, this settlement brings to a definitive end the unjust and dangerous policies at the VA.”
The settlement ensures that the NFFE-represented VA workers’ collective bargaining agreement is now in effect until July 6, 2023. Various agreements associated with the contract are in effect is well. Separately, today’s agreement settles all litigation cases stemming from multiple Trump Executive Orders, resulting in several favorable outcomes. This includes restitution to unions for time and expenses lost while working on Official Time on behalf of the VA. The settlement also restores Official Time for Title 38 employees, which is provided under law to allow medical professionals and clinicians with the right to provide input over working conditions and other matters.
“Nurses weren’t permitted to have representation and now they are getting that back. They have the right again to say, ‘this is what I need to be safe while I work’ or ‘this is how I think patient care can be better’ based on their lived experience,” said NFFE VA Council President Jeff Shapiro. “Having all the rights and protections of a union is more important than ever during a pandemic. With this global deal, Secretary McDonough is showing he respects our absolutely critical workforce, values their input, and wants to help VA be the best it can be.”
“When Official Time was taken away from Title 38 nurses and other practitioners, morale for healthcare practitioners at the VA suffered, and transparency was lost,” Erwin continued. “Over the past several years, VA medical professionals and staff endured a trampling of their workplace protections as they carried on and provided outstanding care for our nation’s veterans. With this settlement, VA caregivers again have input over their ability to treat their patients effectively and efficiently, bringing VA patients closer to those who care for them. This is a huge victory today, especially our nation’s veterans.”