(September 20th, 2017) — SEIU Healthcare Illinois’ President, Greg Kelley, rallied with fellow union leaders with the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), veterans and hospital workers at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center today.
Our nation’s veterans deserve access to the highest quality care. But right now there are more than 49,000 vacancies nationwide at the VA. In Chicago at Jesse Brown VA there are an estimated 546 vacancies alone. Our veterans, families and communities are being deprived of the healthcare they’ve earned and prefer.
To raise awareness of the dangerously low staffing levels, AFGE organized a rally to demand the Department of Veterans’ Affairs fill all vacancies immediately.
The coalition called for the passage of legislation, Senate Bill 1723 and House Resolution 3459, to give the VA the resources it needs to fully staff the VA.
Greg Kelley, President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana said, “The larger threat is that these [job] vacancies are pushing veterans into private hospital care and clinics that likely don’t understand the unique health challenges that veterans face. It’s also a step towards privatizing the VA which no one, especially vets, support.
“This hollowing out of the VA workforce and the Trump administration and Congress’ inability to act quickly enough, is undermining one of the core institutions that veterans rely on.”
Anne Lindgren, AFGE Local 789 President: job Vacancies Are a Crisis For Veterans
Dorothy James, Nat’l VP AFGE: Staff the VA to Keep Our Promise to Our Vets
Walter McKinley, Vietnam Vet: “I get excellent care at VA – Congress, don’t let vets down!”
Reggie Wells, Jesse Brown VA EMS Worker: “Our workforce is stressed out and stretched thin!”
Greg Kelley, President of SEIU Healthcare IL: “Vacancies at VA Are Inexcusable, Congress Must Act”