Our veterans deserve the best care that this country can provide them, and that can only happen if the Department of Veteran Affairs holds up their end of the bargain and provides VA staff, one-third of whom are veterans, with a fair contract.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie’s handling of the VA contract negotiations has made it painfully clear he’s not there to negotiate but rather take away the collective voice of workers. The current contract being offered to VA employees makes it easier for employee requests for leave to be denied, allows management to change workers' schedules without notice, and makes it more difficult to file workplace grievances while easing the ability to change disciplinary policies in order to more easily terminate their positions.
These conditions are not conducive to a healthy work environment. Caring for veterans comes with many difficulties; those who provide that care deserve a contract that protects their benefits while fostering a positive work environment. Our veterans have already given this country so much; they deserve a functioning VA staffed with employees who are appreciated and valued for the work they perform.
I was honored to stand with the American Federation of Government Employees as they protested these acts. I will continue to stand with them throughout their year of action. I hope you will join me in supporting our veterans and those who serve them.
Rep. Moffie Funk, D-Helena, represents House District 82 in the Montana Legislature.