Scroll below to watch videos from our rally and speak out!
(August 21st, 2018, Hines, Illinois) — Stewards at Hines VA hospital organized a rally and speak out with workers and coalition partners from AFGE Local 781 and the “Right to Heal” campaign to fight back against the Trump administration’s executive orders aimed as a direct attack against federal unions and workers.
The executive orders include eliminating “official time” which allows union stewards to address labor grievances and enforce collective bargaining contracts while on the job. The use of official time, especially in a sprawling and complex agency like the VA, allows stewards to be advocates for veterans, families and co-workers alike to hold management and the VA’s leadership accountable.
The Trump administration’s executive orders are being challenged in federal court by SEIU and AFGE and other unions which called their actions “illegal.” The orders are meant to undermine workers and their federal unions from exercising our rights and voices. The court is expected to issuing a ruling on Friday, August 24th.
Melody Young, an SEIU HCII steward and an LPN at Hines VA said: “Taking away our ‘official time’ from federal union stewards will only create more inefficiency, risk keeping workers from blowing the whistle on potential abuses or mismanagement, and ultimately weaken the VA’s overall effectiveness. Addressing issues with management, improving processes and demanding accountability shouldn’t be a “volunteer” activity after hours.”
“Our frontline hospital workers need to know that if and when we see issues within the VA that need to be addressed, or poor management, that workers won’t be retaliated against or marginalized if we report a concern,” said Jeanne Harris, a 15-year SEIU steward and a healthcare tech in the nursing department at Hines. “That is how we improve patient care within the VA, when everyone works together, and that the VA leadership and management are held accountable.”
Melody Young, LPN Hines VA & Steward: Trump Administration’s Attacks on Federal Workers Must End
Jeanne Harris, nursing dept Hines VA: Official Time for Stewards is Essential
Germaine Clarno, President, AFGE 781: Pres. Trump’s Exec Orders Against Federal Unions Is Illegal
Barry Romo, Vietnam War Veteran: “We should expand the VA, not attack its workforce!”