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President Donald Trump, through executive orders, rolled out a series of attacks against unions and bureaucratic bloat to reform the federal government of “waste, fraud and abuse.” The three executives orders take dramatic steps to reduce federal union footprints in the government and are based on VA union busting accountability laws passed in 2017.

One order limits federal employees to spending no more than one-quarter of their workday on “official time” meaning they can do union business on paid time for only part of the day. This order is said to reduce the federal budget by $100 million per year.

Agencies will need to negotiate union contracts in less than one year. Managers are directed to proactively fire poor performers or those engaged in misconduct. Those under the equivalent of a performance improvement plan will be limited to one month to improve rather than 120 days. Agencies will also be required to disclose details of an employee’s employment record to other federal offices considering the hire for those who were fired or disciplined.

Unions will now be charged for office space in federal buildings rather than receive their office space for free.

RELATED: The Swamp Giveth And The Swamp Taketh Away

When addressing reporters, a White House policy expert Andrew Bremberg said surveys with federal employees repeatedly found managers were not trusted to address poor performers appropriately. However, the White House reached the wrong conclusion on how to ensure poor performers are fired.

Often, at least within VA, poor performers are retained as a result of nepotism or other favors related to cronyism – – not an inability to fire. Instead, laws like these that make firing easier tend to allow untrustworthy managers to fire whistleblowers while they build up a legion of cronies to insulate their fiefdom.

“These executive orders make it easier for agencies to remove poor-performing employees and ensure that taxpayer dollars are more efficiently used,” Bremberg said. The president, he noted, called on Congress during his State of the Union address “to empower every Cabinet secretary with the authority to reward good workers and to remove those that undermine the public trust or fail the American people.”

RELATED: VA Employees Indicted For Bribery

Again, if you look at VA as an example, few corrupt leaders are being fired, which is precisely what led to problems of corruption in the agency under President Barack Obama. Trump seems to be fueling the fire by helping corrupt leaders more easily fire good employees who will not engage in illicit behavior.

Personally, I support unions so long as they are not corrupt and actually do right by their members. But lately, AFGE National has failed its membership by not reigning in the excesses and inefficiencies leading up to the wait list scandal and other problems inside VA.

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37 Comments

  1. I won’t be around any VA joint to report anything or hear about much. No going back to the attack and slaughter house for me. Obummer and all his activist trash talk plus corruption under him sure didn’t help matters either. Better stop there.

    I still have an older hospital news letter with an article in it asking union members and staff not to discuss hospital politics/issues or do much union business on their time. Which was a lot from what I over-heard. Along with some chatter among the medical students and others doing their little ego tantrums or arguing. Younger med students daring to ask questions or something from like a seven year med student. Such things must be a pecking order or bully thing inside the med school pyramid scheme of life. Inside or outside… it was fun and very enlightening to listen to. Same with listening to some around town in restaurants or gathering of some activist group in the big city. Ya know if I over hear something interesting I’d have to try to attend or go to the same eating joint or gathering to poke around like with the MoveOn club or Obummers organizers. College towns.

    Never known of a union not being corrupt in some way, never. Or minus the nepotism or playing poly-ticks.

    We will see.

  2. There should NEVER have been a law passed allowing federal employees to unionize. Their union for protection against corrupt management is The People. There is no union in existence today that has done anything but bilk their members, screw the people their members work for, and laugh all the way to contract negotiations for more work done at 30% speed. Unions are a racket organized, staffed, and maintained by thugs and thug tactic.

    Good lord! We have to pass a union busting law just to reduce the time they spend not working at VA down to just 25% of the workday??? What a SHAM! One quarter of the time at work doing union business while on the payroll to heal vets is considered union busting??? America got bent ove, ridden hard, and now we are passing tough new rules to make them use a condom?

    Why not this? Effective June 1, 2018, by Executive Order, organized labor unions established for federal employees are now illegal and banned from all federal facilities. Only this will stop the ongoing carnage.

    • I totally agree! No governmental agency, including teachers, should be able to unionize in my opinion. I have no problem with union’s organizing private employees as long as it is not a requirement to get the job. Competition is diluted under unionization.

      • I worked for the Federal Government for many years and this is going to allow supervisors and managers (they are not leaders) to get rid of people they don’t like and keep the ones they don’t regardless of job performance. They will get rid of good employees that perform and keep their friends or loyal supporters of their inane management style. I think managers should have been the ones being fired easier, not just the employees. Besides, executive orders do not carry the force of law and I think they might be ruled wrong to do what the President wants to do. This is an obama style EO and I don’t think it is right to do it this way. A lot of good people, who do the right thing, work hard and want to do the best they can for others are going to be fired. This could have been done another way and instead of the managers and supervisors spending the time counseling employees and making them do their jobs, the management will just get rid of them. This affects more than just the VA and I know for a fact that many in the fed gov don’t like Veterans and would get rid of them. Someone gave the president bad advice.

    • I agree Dennis,

      Not strict enough and does not have enough boundaries addressed as well as lacking limitations on things like bonuses which should not exist at all in the first place. Denying veterans over $300,000,000.00 worth of care annually is deplorable.

      If the potus would create a toll-free number for us disabled veterans to call to report abuse would be the best avenue to getting at the bottom (or is it the top, heehee) of the afge swamp and scrubbing clean the scum that lies there.

      Nuf sed.

    • Its ridiculous and the real world managers get fired. Who in their right mind goes up to the president of the United States and says, oh shucks Mr Trump no one’s listening to me and they spend too much time doing union crap. And every time I try to fire someone they say no. It’s not fair Mr President and no one likes me. Don’t worry kinda slow around here and have some free time since not going to Korea, I’ll just whip up an executive order for you to help do your job. Go out for lunch and you can pick up from Nancy when back. Wtf

    • cj ¯¯̿̿¯̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿̿)͇̿̿)̿̿̿̿ ‘̿̿̿̿̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=(•̪̀●́)=o/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿̿

      Agreed!!!

  3. Like I’ve said before,
    Wouldn’t it be something IF ALL of the “fairly good or decent” rank and file employees, the ones getting screwed, were to walk out on “strike”!
    Can y’all imagine what all the VA’s (especially the healthcare buildings) would end up looking like!
    I’m not sure how that would be taken by those “crooks” in their “fiefdoms”! Only, It sure wouldn’t look good on a résumé!
    It seems to me, the main problems are coming from those in upper managements! If those reprobates were to be “exposed”, maybe the whole “house of cards” would crumble!

    • Exactly right. The problem is managers and supervisors are not leaders and only take promotions to get more money and don’t want to do their jobs by spending time with their employees. Everyone knows that Commander that craps on their Soldiers and makes really stupid and sometimes dangerous decisions, yet they continue on their way getting promoted and getting awards like they did a great job when they didn’t. This is what is happening here…

  4. “[…One order limits federal employees to spending no more than one-quarter of their workday on “official time” meaning they can do union business on paid time for only part of the day. This order is said to reduce the federal budget by $100 million per year….]”

    *IMAGINE* if that $100 MILLION$$$$$$$$$$ were only utilized for VETERAN SUICIDE PREVENTION instead of daily donuts in the conference rooms and whatever the pharmacy is serving that day in pill, powder, or syringe variety on the menu???????!!!!!!

    Again, sorry to be the cynic, but if they are not chopping the head off the lamprey (kind of a snake/parasitic eel), about $100 Million worth of them will pop-up elsewhere and do it ALL AGAIN…parasites and infestations are like that.

    My HOPE is that the AFGE Pres. David ‘little’ Cox will collect his minions and STRIKE or at least threaten to STRIKE then POTUS can drown all the rats with one pen strike in a POTUS Reagan air traffic controllers kind of way…only then, will I be jumping for joy…this is only another wet bandaid on a festering wound…

    • Funny, but they say it could be $$$ dollars saved, but Congress spends it on something else. Saying that will save money is them saying, hey, we are going to rip you off and use the savings to find out why goldfish make left turns…Don’t believe them when they tell you the check is in the mail…

  5. I’m thinking that all AFGE Employees now will have “Official Time” and “Working Hours Serving Vets” copletely back-assward….wait for it….

  6. I for one am glad that they are busting this union. These members seem to ignore the fact that we Veterans are the reason they have a damn job and we Veterans should be their number one priority from the time they clock in till they go home at night. Until they get that through their heads, these workers dont “deserve” anything

  7. “AFGE Leads All American Unions in Criminal Misconduct by its Officials Since 2014”
    Bob Gilson, Fedsmith dot com, June 4th 2015
    “https://www.fedsmith.com/2015/06/04/afge-leads-all-american-unions-in-criminal-misconduct-by-its-officials-since-2014/”

    “American Federation of Government Employees Still the Most Corrupt Union in the U.S.A.”
    Bob Gilson, Fedsmith dot com, August 3rd, 2017
    “https://www.fedsmith.com/2017/08/03/american-federation-government-employees-still-most-corrupt-union-usa/”

    “AFGE Runs More Bad Internal Elections than Any Other US Union, DOL Finds”
    Bob Gilson, Fedsmith dot com, June 8th, 2015
    “https://www.fedsmith.com/2015/06/08/afge-runs-more-bad-internal-elections-than-any-other-us-union-dol-finds/”

    • The AFGE about us webpage for the AFGE in Tomah list the following information.

      “Join us for our monthly meeting the second Tuesday of every month at the American Legion Hall in Tomah, WI.”

      Let me guess the VA pays for the rental of the American Legion Hall for the monthly meetings.

      “https://afge-local-0007.com/about-us/”

  8. As I provided extensive information relating to a similar topic concerning yesterday’s post, I won’t presently bloviate about my subjective experience as a former VA employee. What I will add to this discussion, however, is a matter of contention regarding the VA’s actions by using the Socratic Method.

    “Managers are directed to proactively fire poor performers or those engaged in misconduct.”

    Is it not true that VA management personnel are also considered employees of the organization who by equal comparison are also capable of performing poorly? If so, who is impacted more, the solitary Program Support Assistant (PSA) with an attitude who may encounter 50 veterans per day or the poor-performing manager who oversees a program that impacts thousands of veterans within a Veterans Integrated Service Network? Is it more important to target the PSA when playing the blame game or the manager, given the overall influence to veteran lives? Taking a step back from the Veterans Health Administration and focusing on the Veterans Benefits Administration, what is being done with those members of management that oversee VA claims personnel who deliberately destroy or ignore objective evidence concerning a veteran’s case, who low-ball veterans rather than abide by policy in erring on the side of the veteran, who resolve claims far beyond the target timeframe of claim resolution, or who simply deny claims and push veterans towards the Board of Veterans Appeals? What about those managers? Are they also remaining subject to the “poor performers” category?

    “When addressing reporters, a White House policy expert Andrew Bremberg said surveys with federal employees repeatedly found managers were not trusted to address poor performers appropriately.”

    Is it possible that this could be true, perhaps due to the notion that VA managers aren’t included in the “poor performers” category? They work at the same facilities, are paid by the same organization, breathe the same air as union employees, use the same restrooms, and impact the lives of veterans through their actions, do they not? Or, is it that VA managers are simply considered above the law, so to speak? Are they regarded as infallible or worthy of consideration for extenuating and mitigating circumstantial matters, whereas hourly employees are not? Could it be a reasonable suggestion that federal employees do not trust managers to address poor performers, because these managers do not include themselves in the observed collective when deciding who is and is not adequately and properly carrying out their duties? Is it unreasonable to conclude that even when VA management officials are at the center of a national scandal (i.e., Arizona wait list, Aurora facility construction, taking an over $100,000 European vacation on the taxpayer’s dime, etc.) they are simply moved to another facility or offered a sizable compensation when being allowed to resign, and this preferential treatment is not worthy of non-management employee trust?

    “Instead, laws like these that make firing easier tend to allow untrustworthy managers to fire whistleblowers while they build up a legion of cronies to insulate their fiefdom.”

    Is it unfathomable that such a statement can be true? Is anecdotal evidence from presumably the majority of people who will read this article, and who have personally witnessed this sort of behavior from managing officials, to be discounted on the basis of subjectivity? Do the easily-reviewable Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) cases available for review on the EEOC website (www [dot] eeoc [dot] gov) not challenge the argument of subjectivity by providing objective evidence of mass corruption within the federal government employment sector?

    “The president, he noted, called on Congress during his State of the Union address ‘to empower every Cabinet secretary with the authority to reward good workers and to remove those that undermine the public trust or fail the American people.”

    Wait, are we discussing the VA Secretary who during his watch was unable to achieve his promise to end veteran homelessness by 2015 (admittedly, a daunting goal), the one who succeeded him and who was at the center of a wait list scandal, the one who then took over and was accused of an improper gift and travel scandal, or perhaps the under-qualified nominee after him who was accused of intoxicative impairment while on duty, or maybe the current nominee who has yet to prove his mettle at the helm? Which VA Secretary are we discussing? With consideration of the aforementioned Secretary scandals—given that these individuals are the tip of the spear regarding VA management—is it wise to continue forth with the notion that only lower level union employees are the actual problem within the VA? Again, who impacts more people on a macro level, the lowly PSA or a VA Secretary?

    I realize my reductionist approach to this matter doesn’t consider nuance. Things aren’t always as easy as this-or-that, either-or, management-or-union. Still, I believe at the most fundamental level the questions I’ve provided retain merit when examining this issue from a critical perspective. Ben’s second-to-last paragraph sums up the matter precisely as I see it. Despite the numerous people I’ve witnessed responding to various posts in this forum who tend to view ALL employees of the VA as contemptuous, deplorable, unhelpful, and dare I say demonic cogs in a corrupt machine that continually fails to achieve its own mission statement (“To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise ‘To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan’ by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s Veterans.”), I realize—from an emic perspective—that there are SOME of these employees who actually do try their very best to serve veterans. After all, I was once one of them. As such, I challenge use of the VA Accountability Act as it is currently utilized.

    • @ just passing through……..Very well said!!!
      Although I am not the wordsmith you are and probably not as learned, it has been apparent to me for many decades that one axiom always is true; “shit rolls downhill”. Whether you are military, or commercial, bad management breeds bad employees. Unions do not breed bad employees and believe it or not, if management wasn’t so amenable to fucking rank and file workers for problems caused by management dysfunction there probably would never be a need for any union… ever.
      Unions, of all genre, are a necessary protection for workers from dysfunctional or selfish management.

      • @#29
        Thank you.

        I agree with your take on unions, yet that wasn’t always the case. There were no unions associated with my first significant employment source–the United States Marine Corps. We simply did what we were told and as enlisted members we had very little say in matters. Thereafter, I worked with or for a number of cabinet-level agencies either directly or as a subcontractor. Too often, I was reminded why unions were needed. Perhaps if we lived in a utopian world there wouldn’t been a need for worker protection. Until we reach that mythical existence, I see the need for unions, as well.

      • Who is there to protect us from labor unions then? The NLRB, OSHA and others sure won’t. Using words or semantic games like ‘shall’ or must doesn’t fly either.

        Who protects us from the conjoined twins unions of the corrupt Demoncrat party who controls towns and supports all the corruption or censoring going on. Who they gonna serve while costs, wages, and charges have went sky high. The betterment of the community as a whole be damned. Unions and Dems must stay on top and in total control of everything including health care to media… and all the retaliations that comes with it.

        Who, especially those affiliated with the AFL/CIO publically announced, Trumpka, want open borders or to unionize the world? Supporting the illegals, the VA or SEIU garbage, some of the worse in the country, and corrupt, violent. Who protested with illegals when flag burning or illegals, La Raza, Azteca, others, claiming ‘going to chase Americans off their continent.’ Or cops FOPs and others that claim no politics are involved when all they are about is putting those in office who will give them what they want to stopping any ‘right to work’ legislation… with their last breath. Or in communities like mine that used to proclaim being either the “Union, socialist, Democrat stronghold in Indiana?”

        This X union officer/worker seen it both ways and fought both sides, many more battles actually. Seen the payoffs and various forms of corruption up close and personal and still do. And unions, some members/thugs are and can be just as ruthless, corrupt, evil as any corporate head or party line lefty hit man out there. That is why the VA can threaten, along with other local thugs, and seemingly the local professionals to unions, hospital staff can easily continue on with them or make threats a reality plus never-ending. Using the same tactics. Especially bad when the phony divide between towns, cities, Chambers of Commerce and other ilk come together to support the happy happy unions to keep control over the works and employment or just WHO can get local employment. Non Democrats or non ass kissers/yes men/people…. need not apply.

        Pass the ‘right to work’ legislation, stop people being forced to join communist and corrupt to have a life and work. But no, unions and the corrupt don’t want to give the peeps any choices in life. I think instead of self-service and me, me, big I stuff deeper thinking and broader situational awareness and truth needs to be had or told.

        Back to the circus and the many two edged sword cuts of life. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    • Most excellent soliloquy. Why are they not firing the managers of the poor performing employees and get someone in that can get the poor performers up to a proficient and higher level? If the manager/supervisor can fire those that they don’t like or do a great job, but because they buck the system, they get fired. Why??? When I was a Commander, if my Soldiers didn’t perform and couldn’t do their jobs, I would be the one being relieved. Why can’t this be the same for managers/supervisors? The only reason that they want to be managers or supervisors is to get a promotion and more money in addition to boosting their retirement income. I have worked in 4 Federal Agencies and I know that there are managers/supervisors that are put in positions where they have no clue what they are doing and don’t want to be bothered with the people they manage and just expect everyone to do their jobs without them doing anything. It was pathetic the way they did things. When I tried to help them, I got punished. They tried to get rid of me several times, but since I was smarter than they were and did a great job, I managed to make them look stupid by trying to do so. They used to tell me they could do something and I challenged it and they said I was wrong, but I read the regulations and yes, they were wrong and tried to blame it on me, when they were the morons in charge. They didn’t want help. They wanted the people they liked working for them, even though they were only average employees at best. They didn’t like me so they thought I would just stay a GS-12 the rest of my career, but I left for a promotion. When I left, a couple of other people that did a good job like me either left or retired. There are just so many bad examples and good employees left because of the lousy leadership. Instead of putting someone in to be a leader, they just put someone mediocre and because they liked them. Sucks, but it is that way in the Fed Gov. There are great employees, hardest working people I ever saw, but they could not compete with the morons they continually put in charge. Sad, just sad…this decision by the President is not a good thing because they won’t fire the incompetent managers…it’s all the employees fault right???

    • @T

      Answering your questions (i.e., “Who is there to protect us from labor unions then?” et al.) isn’t a simple matter. I agree that legal jargon (e.g., “shall,” “must,” etc.) isn’t an effective strategy to the approach, given the fact that even a cursory review of legal cases from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alone will prove that governmental policy isn’t always—or perhaps often—adhered to. I’m not one to avoid direct questions, so I will attempt to provide a sufficient answer to your posed questions while keeping in mind that I don’t have all the answers. I can only speak from my subjective view, and I’ve been wrong more times than not throughout my life. With that said, here goes…

      “Who is there to protect us from labor unions then?” This seems like a loaded question. It intrinsically implies that there is an adversarial relationship between unions and veterans, where the VA is considered. As a veteran, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) union member, and former VA employee, I admit my bias. I not only receive treatment from the VA, I was part of the system as an employee and AFGE member. Honestly, I didn’t then nor do I now believe my role as a union member was adversarial to veterans. I can’t speak on behalf of all VA employees or union members. I’m only one person. I tried to help as many veterans and caregivers as I could, given the fact that the system I worked under was one with intersecting and overlapping methods of oppression and corruption. Still, each day I tried to improve the quality of lives concerning people I served. Did the veterans I work for require protection from my status as a union member? Absolutely not. Therefore, I can’t adequately answer a question I believe is inherently biased and accusatory to a degree I had no experience with.

      “Who protects us from the conjoined twins unions of the corrupt Demoncrat party who controls towns and supports all the corruption or censoring going on[?] Who they gonna serve while costs, wages, and charges have went sky high[?]” I do not now and have never pledged allegiance to the Democratic Party. In fact, I care very little about corrupt politics as a whole. Your question automatically implies that unions are synonymous with the Left. While this may be true of SOME union members or MOST unions, it certainly isn’t true of ALL union members. There’s no need to be hyperbolic regarding this issue. Again, you question protection and I refer to my answer regarding your initial question that is somewhat duplicative in nature to your second question. Pertaining to the issue of who unions serve, I served veterans and caregivers. As a former Marine, I was ultimately subject to the Department of the Navy. They signed my checks, treated my wounds, and provided transport for Jarheads. I was, however, a Marine, not a sailor. My job was to complete missions, not represent the Navy. As a former VA employee, the VA provided an office space, training, and signed my checks. I wasn’t the VA, I was an employee—a cog—of the overall machine. My job was to serve veterans, not represent the VA. Yes, my Navy and VA employment membership could be viewed as directly representative of these organizations. From a personal standpoint, I wasn’t the macro-level entity; I was a micro-level employee of each. Who did I serve as a VA employee? Veterans and Caregivers, regardless of how the organization as a whole functioned.

      “Who, especially those affiliated with the AFL/CIO publically announced, Trumpka, want open borders or to unionize the world?” This is where your argument breaks down and bias begins to cloud your stance. As previously mentioned, I care very little about politics. Your question may retain relevance to those who care to engage in political discussion. There isn’t much I can offer you, because debating ideologies is rarely an effective strategy for growth. People intertwine themselves in subjective views by which they aren’t likely to part (i.e., religion, the topic of abortion, the issue of capital punishment, etc.). It’s an arbitrary endeavor to debate political matters with you, especially since I’m largely apathetic to the issue. “Or in communities like mine that used to proclaim being either the ‘Union, socialist[‘], Democrat stronghold in Indiana?” I cannot speak about matters relating to your area in an intellectually honest manner. While I am a union member, I’m not a socialist. If you refuse to believe this and choose to engage me on this matter, such is your choice. I’m uninterested in debating politics, however. Again, I can only speak for myself. I’m not a socialist, nor am I a communist—as mentioned in your reply. Union membership is not necessarily synonymous with political affiliation.

      That sums up the direct question portion of your response. The rest of your reply is heavily biased, uses ad hominem fallacy (i.e., “evil,” “ass kissers,” “thugs,” etc.), and branches into a direction unrelated to my post—which you replied to directly. Perhaps you accidentally replied directly to me rather than posting your unrelated response to the board as a whole, or there is another explanation. It’s as though I mentioned apples in my discussion and you began talking about apple seeds, ending by discussing the price of tea in China. At any rate, I believe my response is sufficient.

      • Just Passing Through,
        Thanks for the reply and thoughts on the subject. Always glad to hear others thoughts, experiences, or feelings about issues. Whether or not I agree with them. As we all know life experiences and living environments may vary greatly. Also not intended as personal attacks on anyone. I can’t be held responsible for what may offend some people in some way. I do tend to step on toes with some words I use to agitating some good folks out here, and real life. Like across the board union bashing I do, but haven’t experienced much good from them. Ethics, no honesty, and integrity included. Just politics. If not I need proof due to what I have endured or seen. I don’t know all peoples minds, hearts or intentions. So for some if the shoe fits they can wear it, if not throw it away or back-shelf it for personal meditations. Each know exactly where they stand and/or are. Others may feel the need to boast while doing nothing for some of us out here going the limits to expose one hell-u-vah lot of deep seated corruption on all *connected levels.

        Difficult to be “objective” when one for all their lives have been immersed in unionism, or corporatism, to what today is considered hard left politics, whatever. I’ve been company and union. There used to be more obvious dividing lines many years back or to me there was. Not so much in the past approximately 35 years, to me, or some of my experiences.

        I am also older school than my real age. As a pup working at a shaft mine (company) I got to see how unions and companies should be or act, IMHO. Those old boys miles down threw their water out the day was over with all coming top-side to find resolutions to any issues. If severe enough the truckers would also stand by the miner’s union and shut down until some issue was corrected. One union member would get out of line, dangerous, mistreat other miners, play rat for the company? They were corrected. If some nutty company owner, co-owner, or person did wrong or against a targeted miner or worker over some issue, they’d threaten to pitch their water out or all of them would be calling in ill. Sacrifice, self-correcting, and unity. Hard found today. They would vote according to who best served the local union and mining industry, supposedly or stated so. Of course if need be the union, men, would scratch the company’s back if need be. The old quid pro quo. I think the AFGE, VA staff, managers, SES, all those connected, and many more should be the same way to bring about some serious changes but won’t happen in the contemporary age or culture of things. Kinda like what Elf mentioned. Let the good workers walk out of the VA establishments with full immunity then turn around and point the fingers at those at the top and others who are problematic or destructive. Top down. Again, not going to happen.

        Loaded questions? I guess and I was writing of unions across the board because of my own experiences. Maybe general accusations or complaining with the needs for some more explaining/clarification than I may not be able to do at times. Or particular points not coming in my mind to do figuring others probably know or been through what I have. That is why I threw in costs of living, high prices of daily living, labor costs, food, services, possibles (goods) etc. The whole sheebang. Not so much so for those living outside of my geographical area that is not accustomed to my intentions maybe, my colloquialism, local mind-sets, attitudes, “community” expectations, common politics found locally, etc.

        It’s good to hear that some out here or around kept their priorities straight. However sad to say was not the norm for me. I had severe issues with the union people, various kinds of activist – lefties, CBOC contractor, and the “professional” staff. Including the college kiddies and students to their Federal Law Enforcement jokers having a bad day. Some issues going the way towards Marx-feminism and other speical interest activist that could not separate or compartmentalize their personal lives from the so-called ‘professional.’ The hosptial did them no favors allowing them to put up union posters around the joint, to us being told to “vote Democrat for better care.” And much more. Disclaimer: Experiences for any individual at any VA or civvy health care may vary. Or to what other staff may be noticing or aware of.

        Who has brought in out-side issues and distractions to the VA or civvy care? The managers (government/contractors) must be allowing it and for sure support some things locally by admin. The staff, unions, activist to foreigners that simply cannot understand basic English, difficult to understand, offended if not, or our American or hick/townie ways.

        The AFL/CIO and affiliated? My point was he and the supporters publically did not seem to care about the quality of performance or people under their umbrella of protections or activism. Local unions claim they aren’t about poltics but push the Democratic side of things. Locally is what it’s all about, the party and self-service, control. Politics encompasses everything. My state is supposed to be red state but is not in reality. Yet my town is blue in more than one way. Three major universities… very very far left politics. The home of Eugene V. Debbs the hero of unions, local socialist, progressives, the college crowd, with the majority of town and county offices plus appointed all Dems. So pardon my so-called fallacies. I call em as I see them and have always seen them. You must judge swiftly not knowing the realities of some “Marcos or Micros.” concerning me. You are far far far away experiencing what I have, far from it apparently. Each of us out here are still individuals with individual issues and thought processes. Sorry if you don’t like mine or my “fallacies.” If you don’t call death threats, daily countless phone calls, inability to get health care, the entire town seemingly out to do harm, or ruin, no privacy with private phone numbers to med file info, chased off from a major local hospital (Dem & unionized – connected to local councils and those who hate me over mere politics and daring to disagree on some things like nepotism and censoring, due to ‘politics’ and VA connections, protected and supported by ‘the party’ and much much more… biased, wrong, or a mere fallacy, not evil, not thuggery, not about VA threats perpetuated and have come from every angle, then some cogs are heavily biased even though they claim to be good cogs. Apples and apple seeds are all connected. And like birds of a feather the fruit of that corrupted apple tree doesn’t fall far from it.

        You:
        “Too often, I was reminded why unions were needed. Perhaps if we lived in a utopian world there wouldn’t been a need for worker protection. Until we reach that mythical existence, I see the need for unions, as well.”

        That said my post was more directed to #29:
        “Unions, of all genre, are a necessary protection for workers from dysfunctional or selfish management.”

        Thus with my life experience I had to ask then who will protect us from the corrupt unions??? We need solid protections from everything including unions, etc. Then we can go from apples to seeds and I have to ask if cogs in the unions and content actually know or care about what they support behind the scenes or curtains (politics/agendas/attacks on people) and what it may mean to others under such attacks by various union types and the connections (seeds) (networks) of evil that can easy affect and destroy others, or non-conformist or non ass kissers. Especially after being threatened at the VA we’d never find health care here again, then for all hell to break loose with anything connected to the VA, concerned state agencies, boards, et al. I am supposed to lay down and be silent, support those doing the censoring and attacks? Think good of all of them? When ALL are part of things or allowing for things to continue on or maybe acting innocent. ***Like their silence doesn’t do damage too. Roger?? My ‘enemies’ or those thinking I am enemy enough or not of the same politics, who will not jump on every local bandwagon, totally support the left, (or right), ALL of their agendas, or not in the local elite scene or country club, butt buddies with the local rulers and politicians? Who dares ask about term limits, corruption, hard censoring, silencing many other vets in the past, hounding them too. Daring to bring up all the corruption issues. To finding loved ones in a ICU with DNR laying in their own filth and such things and I am blocked from complaining or bitching? I am the enemy? Of every damn union here apparently plus the AFGE, SEIU, Trumpka loyalist, the open border crowd, Antifa and on it goes. Seeds? Christ, it was bad enough around here then to add the VA, their unions, Marx Feminist, VA butt kissing and protecting state agencies, VSOs, attorney general et al, etc., to the local mix of retaliation and retribution.

        With staff or pros supporting the unions and vice versa when needed to support some gross misconduct or total incompetence. Back to the old days of having to battle every son-or daughter-of a bitch out there. Marcro and micro levels, full circle, four squared, all encompassing and evil as hell. Apples/seeds/grapes/Pears… rooted together. Who will protect us from the unions? Corrupt cops, judges, hospital staff, professionals, state agencies, corrupt med boards, who lost their integrity and ethics, etc. All the corrupt and those pretending such evils are needful things? It’s all FUBAR. Cough, no unity, no or little integrity, no self monitoring or correcting, no sacrificing, no throwing the water out for change. Just silence, going along, assimilating into the shit circus.

        So pardon me but I’ve earned the right to use ‘ad hominems.’ You want to bash about how I write or throw in at the times I can sit and try to do so… then have fun. Feed that ego and fallacy finder. Evil is freaking evil and wrong is wrong. I am no MugWump and my ass is not sitting on the fence, my sides have been chosen and battles picked out for me. I personally know who does the attacking, who my real enemies are and why. I am also not hiding behind some handle out here and have gone totally public with issues and why. Why don’t some of those good cogs in the VA and many other places do the damn same and expose the freaks doing the damage? Locally in VA or no all I seen, endure, are the silent majority, the fearful, those fitting in, clique and party line/activist unity and not in any good ways. Including media.

        You must be new or not reading my posts and what I am trying to share and expose. Like you’d care. Don’t expect total silence, or no simple questions from me when dealing with or reading about VA political party’s or claims of no politicking involvement, or union cheerleading.

      • @T

        I, too, appreciate that we’re able to have a back and forth dialogue, even with our differences, and despite the fact that my interest in this conversation is rapidly dwindling. What you’ve hinted at by asserting your difficulty with objectivity is a common, and dare I say natural, phenomenon. A person who has endured experiences that allude to a biased outcome will often search for further information to solidify predetermined beliefs. This is known as confirmation bias. I can’t possibly begin to dissect your layers of experience, challenging you to endure discomfort while presenting an alternative narrative, and help you to achieve a different belief in a limited capacity such as this forum. As well, I simply do not have the time or desire to do so. Nonetheless, I believe it is meaningful to discuss our differences, if for nothing more than to hone our arguments. After all, one method by which humans think is through written form. It allows us the ability to clarify our thoughts. Alas, after having read your response in its verbose entirety, this will be my last response to you concerning this post. I can chew the same piece of jerky for only so long until I grow weary of the monotony of doing the same thing over and over and over and over and over (you see where I’m going with this?) and over and over…

        Therefore, since I won’t be checking on this discussion past the point where I respond to you this last time, allow me to highlight where I agree with you. One element I can agree with you on is your suggestion for good workers—union members in specific—needing to take a stance, even if it means sacrificing a career. I believe you suggested a “walk out” concerning this matter. I did something similar as an AFGE, VA employee. I walked out after I was handed termination papers. I took a stand, challenged discrimination, and my employment was terminated. You see sometimes when people stand against tyranny the only option they have available to them is to perform a left-right-left out the door—whether voluntarily or involuntarily. Rather than conducting business as usual, I opted to take a stand. On this matter, I believe we agree that the moral and ethical responsibility of standing against a corrupt system may inevitably lead to a walk out. Interestingly, and perhaps others may not be aware, when accepting VA employment each employee—to include AFGE members—is required to sign a statement disallowing them from striking. This measure removes a significant bargaining tool for union members, so an actual walk-out in the traditional union sense (strike) is unlikely.

        Another element we can agree upon is the neo-Marxist, postmodern feminist, special interest aspect of bureaucratic operation within the government—specifically the VA. Perhaps my subjective experience cannot hold true for all employees of the VA, and I admit that. What I did encounter when employed was a hive mentality driven by particular interests that when confronted could have dire consequences—career suicide. This level of operation is counterintuitive to the work I was trying to do. I was there to serve veterans and caregivers, not the agency. As you suggest, some union members and perhaps even the AFGE as a whole (though I cannot possibly speak on behalf of an entire organization) functioned from a Leftist-leaning position. Towing the line of a sociopolitical party automatically creates problems for a person who doesn’t subscribe to similar values. I believe much of your frustration concerning the many variables you mention in your response align more with my sociopolitical values, even though I denounce politics altogether and try to function more as a human than a robot programed to perform specific functions. Again, I believe we agree on this matter, though I suspect you may not acknowledge it.

        Now where we part in agreement is the “we need solid protections” aspect of your stance. The VA is one of the largest federal government agencies. I think we would agree that it isn’t known for its high level of functionality. To demand more oversight, bigger government, and more protections from the same government that currently runs the VA is to demand bigger and more of the same old same. If you have a leaky pipe that is causing water damage, the idea isn’t to turn the water on full blast so that more of the same problem creates a substantially greater problem. Perhaps my view relates more to fiscal conservatism or libertarianism and isn’t a perspective easily embraced by all. I simply don’t believe increasing the size of the government in order for the government to provide oversight concerning the government makes much sense. If, on the other hand, you are suggesting “protections” from a non-governmental organization (NGO), I struggle with contemplating how such oversight would operate. Jurisdiction, authority, financing, and many other issues would come into play. It’s unlikely that an NGO would function as the solution. Alas, I’m not a know-it-all and I don’t have all the solutions.

        Aside from this, you use either the tactic of circumlocution or vociferation, frequently venturing off topic and fortifying your point with plenty of anecdotal evidence. Stating, “So pardon me but I’ve earned the right to use ‘ad hominems,” which alludes to the notion that you care little about engaging in pragmatic discussion. Maybe you’re a skeptic or provocateur at heart. You seem to maintain the stance that you’re offended by the VA, you will therefore offend others when discussing the VA, objectivity doesn’t matter, subjectivity reigns supreme, and rather than addressing the topic at hand you will use character attacks in place of a logical point. You even employ the use of straw man fallacies to embolden your argument. I have no interest in fighting windmills that appear as dragons. My point was succinct: No…all…union…members…are…bad (period) You may argue otherwise, and that is your right. By stating, “You want to bash about how I write or throw in at the times I can sit and try to do so… then have fun,” you play the role of victim while not having been victimized by me. This is a discussion, or at least I thought it was. I haven’t the desire to discuss much further when it remains clear that your grandstanding is serving a self-fulfilling purpose rather than your ability to stay on topic.

        In closing, and to round this shit sandwich off properly, I appreciate your contribution to the discussion, even if I’m discussing oranges and your written diatribe goes in the direction of what is the worst hotel to stay in on a Wednesday evening in Shanghai. My infancy status among board discussions and my use of an anonymous pseudonym have very little to do with the content of my contribution. Again, my original point was that not all union members are bad. Some of us actually did our jobs and experienced significant pushback from VA management. I don’t’ have assigned AFGE pompoms, I’m not towing the VA line, I’m not affiliated with any sociopolitical party, and (here’s the kicker) I can’t resolve your personal issues concerning the VA. I can, however, contribute my opinions just as you can. You don’t agree, fine. This isn’t a personal matter to me. I’m content with agreeing to disagree.

        I’ve said just about everything I have to say. There’s not much more I could contribute that would provide meaning to the discussion. I suspect you may continue your fulmination, believing you have a captive audience member in me, and expound upon the world according to you—explaining how things are and how they should be. I’m disinterested in such rhetoric, yet I respect your ability to freely express yourself. I’ve agreed and disagreed with portions of your stance. And now for my next trick, I’m going over here and you can stay over there. It was a pleasure to chat with you and I wish you more of what you already have by continuing to do what you’ve already done. Ooh rah.

    • @lambda5555m

      As I stated to @T, I don’t have all the answers. I do, however, try to reply to direct questions when possible. As such, here goes…
      “Why are they not firing the managers of the poor performing employees and get someone in that can get the poor performers up to a proficient and higher level?” My personal experience leads me to believe this is possibly because people tend to look out for their own kind. Management protects management. When my VA supervisor received mostly negative feedback on a supposedly anonymous electronic survey from the employees she supervised, there was no action taken. When she discriminated against me and I filed an official complaint with the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC), I was fired and she remained employed. She was protected while her subordinates weren’t.

      “If the manager/supervisor can fire those that they don’t like or do a great job, but because they buck the system, they get fired. Why???” It is vital to understand—at least concerning my anecdotal experience—that it wasn’t only VA management that was to blame. VA Human Resources, the Office of Resolution Management, and EEOC limitations were problematic. I’ll give you an example. When I filed an official complaint, per federal regulation the VA was tasked with investigation of the matter. The organization was in charge of investigating whether or not it violated federal law. See a problem here? The investigation is meant only to serve as a fact-finding endeavor. Once the investigation was complete, it was then up to an EEOC judge (federal) to decide whether wrongdoing occurred. It took two-and-one-half years just to see a judge. The judge didn’t issue a bench decision, though when such an outcome is eventually reached the case will then be referred back to the VA who will have the final say in the matter. This is called a Final Agency Decision (FDA). Essentially, the VA was tasked with investigating its wrongdoing and will have the ultimate say as to whether or not it actually committed any violation of federal policy. The judge’s opinion is simply a suggestion in the matter, and the FDA determines the fate of the case. See the problem here now? This is partially why whistleblowers are fired. This is reasonably the answer as to why only an alleged one-percent of EEOC cases are in favor of the complainant.

      “When I was a Commander, if my Soldiers didn’t perform and couldn’t do their jobs, I would be the one being relieved. Why can’t this be the same for managers/supervisors?” It’s a different system with civil versus military service. It’s like comparing a donkey to a horse. They make look alike and can be crossbred; they are, however, different in many ways.

      “Sad, just sad…this decision by the President is not a good thing because they won’t fire the incompetent managers…it’s all the employees fault right???” Even to a novice critical thinker it would appear as though this is the case. The lower level employee vice members of management will take the fall. I have to admit, the information you provided in your response was eerily similar to my experience, having worked with or for five government entities. It was the same game, though different players. There remains a myth of federal protection for workers. There is an equivalent myth of unions being able to absorb most of the impact from corrupt employers. The problem is that once a person becomes immersed in these environments it is exceedingly difficult not to be affected when targeted. I may wear the best wetsuit on the market and if you throw me into a pool of water, chances are I’m going to get wet one way or another.

  9. Best way would be to hold the Union accountable for performance. If the Union doesn’t hold up form a competing Union for the labor Contract.

  10. The problem with the Accountability Act of 2017 and now these Executive Orders, Veterans have NO Voice and there is no mechanism for Veterans to file legitimate complaints for misconduct, malpractice and/or wrong doing. So how does a veteran hold these corrupt and wrong doers accountable and responsible? Until Veterans can hold these people accountable and responsible in some way, we have nothing and no say or voice.

  11. Have a safe Memorial Day weekend, thank all of you for serving and those of us who survived our active duty, let’s first be thankful that our name isn’t on some wall ——- let’s remember that although we gave some, some gave all. If you survived your military tribulations, you certainly could handle the VA

  12. President Trump is attempting to remove the “snake’s head”! It is those corrupt leaders at the top that fire the whistleblowers, insulating themselves in their comfy jobs, and continuing to screw the veteran. Besides, there is an investigation when anyone is fired, and it the management that needs its clock cleaned. Overpaid abusive authorities have reigned long enough and it’s about time we have a leader looking out for the veterans, the good VA leaders, the good VA employees, and removing the takers, the slugs and parasites of the DVA. Veterans AND Employees deserve better and President Trump is here to deliver, and is fighting the corrupt ones, regardless of who they are. Go Mr. President, and remove the cancerous scum that’s destroying veterans lives.

  13. @Victor S
    If you believe that trump is going to deliver, I. believe that you are going to be disappointed, not unless one of his family or cronies can make some money from it. Remember you are putting your faith in a man who didn’t have the balls to answer his draft notice.
    Management is the problem in the VA, not the grunts that actually do the work

  14. @just passing through
    Thank you for your succinct reply to ‘T’, you have a very good message that is not rampant with generalizations and ideologically driven statements. I hope you become a regular contributor to this site.

    • @#29

      Thank you. I try to remain as objective as possible and respond when able to do so. I genuinely appreciate the feedback.

  15. “https://federalnewsradio.com/management/2018/05/trump-to-sign-executive-orders-making-it-easier-to-fire-feds-overhaul-official-time/”

    ““These executive orders strive to make the federal government more efficient, not only for the taxpayer, but for our great federal workers. We have thousands of federal employees who work very hard for the nation; it’s important that their work is not frustrated by the poor performance of a small few,” Lankford said.”

    Ahem … ‘by a small few?’ What a laugh, small few. BS

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