If you showed up to work and spent all your time doing something other than your daily duties, you’d expect to get fired, right? Not at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reveals that employees at the VA have spent more than a million hours on union work instead of doing their actual jobs.
The GAO found that in 2015 alone, the VA employed 346 taxpayer-paid workers who performed nothing but union activities. The GAO also reported that the VA doesn’t have an effective way to monitor how much time employees spend on union work. No wonder nearly half a million veterans still wait more than 30 days for an appoint.
CVA policy director Dan Caldwell said in a statement, “While veterans are dying waiting for care, there are hundreds of employees at the VA who are spending their time working for big-government unions that fight any attempt to fix the VA.” He’s referring to the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the primary union for VA workers. The AFGE has consistently opposed common sense, bipartisan bills which would introduce more accountability to the VA.
The VA Accountability Act? AFGE Opposes.
The VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act? AFGE Opposes.
Thankfully, the GAO’s report has caused lawmakers to take notice of the situation. Two House committees are holding a joint hearing to examine ongoing union activities at the VA which will take place on Thursday, February 16th. Caldwell acknowledged the House’s efforts on behalf of veterans, saying, “For far too long, big-government unions have stood in the way of veterans getting quality care and helped to perpetuate the toxic culture at the VA. We applaud the House Veterans Affairs Committee and the House Oversight Committee for investigating this clear waste of taxpayer dollars at the hands of American veterans, who deserve much better.”
Hopefully this hearing is only the beginning of measures taken to ensure taxpayer money is spent on what it’s meant for at the VA.