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VA workers union rally for fair contract will be postponed

Published: Jun. 5, 2019 at 6:40 PM EDT
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A rally organized by union workers who disapprove of the way negotiations are going in regards to a new labor contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs didn't go as planned.

Employees at the Malcom Randall Medical Center were hoping to rally in support of contract negotiations between the American Federation of Government Employees and the VA. But the rally didn't happen.

One AFGE representative says that employees were threatened with discipline if they were to attend the rally at noon and therefore they did not attend. But despite the upset, she had a few of her peers join her in solidarity

"We're looking for management in the VA to sit down and negotiate like they're supposed to in good faith under the statue and come up with a reasonable veteran friendly employee working contract. We understand that management has the right but how they implement stuff we need to have a say," stated Muriel Newman, president of AFGE Local #229

"Here in Gainesville, we have over 400 vacancies and those vacancies are here specifically because the VA refuses to hire people. There are well-qualified people that want these jobs that want to provide care to veterans," stated Jeremiah Tattersall, field director for NCFL Central Labor Council.

Newman says even though the rally did not take place she'll be planning a demonstration in the upcoming weeks with hopes that those interested will be able to come out and show support.

TV20 received a statement from a VA representative stating that the v-a is working to negotiate its contract with AFGE in order to improve medical care, customer service, and staff accountability while maximizing value for veterans and taxpayers.