AFGE filed its lawsuit against President Trump May 30 after he signed new Executive Orders that erode the rights of bargaining union employees who have been targeted by agency senior leadership for quicker firing over the past year.

The lawsuit correctly pushes back against the President for using his executive branch authority to legislate against certain statutes created by Congress. As far as I can tell, the President cannot legislate much less use Executive Orders to trump statutes created by Congress. Presidents traditionally must take conflicts of law to the courts.

I know a lot of you do not like what AFGE National has done over the past decades by putting union employees ahead of the veterans those employees are supposed to serve. And I agree.

That said, if Trump is allowed to legislation against statutes using Executive Orders, we will all be in big trouble the next time another President tries to do the same.

Generally speaking, the President is supposed to enforce the laws. Congress is supposed to make the laws. And the Judiciary is supposed to interpret the laws when there is a conflict.

What we have seen over the past few decades are a usurpation of authority by President after President swiftly growing the number of Executive Orders. The trend is toward the totalitarian model of leadership where the Executive holds all power for ease of ruling.

Now, do I like what AFGE is focusing on within the lawsuit? No.

They are not pushing back against some of the questionable practices VA is now using to illicitly terminate disabled veterans from the ranks. Instead, they are pushing back against the element of the EO that prohibits “official time” – – this is a program where taxpayers pay the salary of union officials – – For VA, this is where the agency pays a full-time employee to work for the union.

Trump’s move on this issue has the effect of reducing the federal union footprint that essentially has become a massive funding source for progressive political agendas during election cycles.

Here is the press release about the lawsuit in italics.

AFGE: White House directive illegally denies workers their right to representation

WASHINGTON – The largest union representing federal government workers, the American Federation of Government Employees, sued the Trump Administration Wednesday in response to an executive order President Trump issued to deny workers their legal right to representation at the worksite.

“This president seems to think he is above the law, and we are not going to stand by while he tries to shred workers’ rights,” AFGE said. “This is a democracy, not a dictatorship. No president should be able to undo a law he doesn’t like through administrative fiat.”

On Friday, May 25, President Trump signed executive orders that chip away at due process and collective bargaining rights for federal employees; a third executive order, which impedes employee representation at the job site, is the focus of the lawsuit.

AFGE filed the lawsuit May 30 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The lawsuit challenges the executive order as violating the right to freedom of association guaranteed by the First Amendment, and as exceeding the president’s authority under the Constitution of the United States.

“Congress passed these laws to guarantee workers a collective voice in resolving workplace issues and improving the services they deliver to the public every day – whether it’s caring for veterans, ensuring our air and water are safe, preventing illegal weapons and drugs from crossing our borders, or helping communities recover from hurricanes and other disasters,” AFGE said.

“We will not stand by and let this administration willfully violate the Constitution to score political points.” 

###

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82 COMMENTS

  1. “Generally speaking, the President is supposed to enforce the laws. Congress is supposed to make the laws. And the Judiciary is supposed to interpret the laws when there is a conflict.”

    Now there’s a novel idea!
    I sure hope they get around to realizing their actual purpose in office and act accordingly… yesterday!

    • Really Ben? “As far as I can tell, the President cannot legislate much less use Executive Orders to trump statutes created by Congress.” Try telling that to Obama who was smacked down by the SCOTUS over 25 times for doing exactly that, the most times in the history of the US. And let them try and sue as they will lose. The Air Traffic Controllers tried the exact same thing when Reagan fired their asses when they walked off the job and left hundreds of thousands of people in the air, and the SCOTUS said the PRESIDENT has the right to restrict unionization or to fire union members enmass when it is shown that their actions are resulting in the harming of individuals or groups. Now when you have cockroaches running in supposed sanitary areas, and paint pealing from walls and roof tiles missing or water damaged, then they deserve to be fired. Heck I was at my local VA hospital and reported that the towel machines in the mens room were empty and the air blowers didnt work to one of the workers, and the worker told me “I’ll get to it when I get to it” and kept on shooting the shit with a woman he was trying to get with. Its people like that that need to be removed as if the workers are doing this, you can say the same thing about some of the members of the medical staff.

    • Oh and Rosie, sorry but in Article 3 of the US Constitution (powers of the judiciary) it does NOT give them the authority or the power to interpret anything, they must by Constitution; go by what is there. The reason is that you can have way too many people saying that a specific part of the Constitution says what they want it to say instead of what it actually does say. Take for instance Trumps tweets and the judge who took it upon herself to say that Trump cant ban people from reading these even though this is a direct violation of his 1st Amendment rights. That Rosie is a prime example of why the judiciary can only rule on what is actually in the Constitution, not what they think is there.

      • Dan,
        Great comment! Many people, in my opinion, aren’t aware of what may actually occurring in Washington DC and across the country.
        These AFGE members are heading towards a cliff. Just like the air traffic controllers did.
        A few of us on here, and other vetcentric websites, have been asking for every afge member to “strike”! We want them to “walk off the job!”
        Hell, a majority of them need firing!

        I’ll bet one thing – I will guarantee you David [LITTLE]COX won’t be threatening President Trump over this! Remember how that fat little Turd said he’d “…kick [McDonald’s] ass…!”

      • @Crazy Elf
        I find that a lot of people who haven’t worked at the VA are unaware that when beginning employment each individual is required to sign a statement that reads:

        I ___________________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that—

        B. AFFIDAVIT AS TO STRIKING AGAINST THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
        I am not participating in any strike against the Government of the United States or any agency thereof, and I will not so participate while an employee of the Government of the United States or any agency thereof.

        As such, the full power of AFGE employees to strike is off the table from the moment they accept appointment. With further deterioration of union rights, AFGE employees have little recourse available when challenging VA management.

      • Just Passing Through,
        OK, good to know!
        You might want to let those “AFGE VA Employees/Members” up in Northern Ohio, I believe it was in Cleveland, know!
        Because, it was last year they were “picketing” out front of their own VHA! They “…wanted better conditions for [veterans AND themselves]!”
        Plus, it’s been reported a few other places had “walk-outs” as well!

        Just because someone “signs” something, doesn’t mean they’re going to abide by it. Especially when egregious acts occur against them or the persons they’re hired to HELP!

      • @Crazy Elf

        The suggestion for me to inform other AFGE employees outside of my region of something is similar to you maintaining responsibility for the actions of veterans who live a thousand miles from you. Nonetheless, your point is taken. What I suspect may have occurred with the AFGE members you mention is that they either took unpaid leave, used leave hours to picket, or by some odd chance actually performed “walk-outs” on official AFGE time. I wasn’t there and I have no idea. All I know for sure, and as a former VA employee, is that we all had to sign the waiver. One may picket if on leave, for instance, without disrupting the general productivity of daily operations. This essentially deteriorates the power of a union, because a mass exodus from the work area that would otherwise cripple an employer cannot be performed. As you suggest, the signing of a document doesn’t necessarily stop a person from performing an action. What it does do, however, is absolve the VA of any wrongdoing when an employee’s employment is terminated in breach of the written contract.

    • It’s about time they took some positive steps to help Drain-The-Swamp of the massive numbers of lazy and wasteful government workers.

  2. Look at the way things have been operating at VA hospitals over the past. Does it help or hurt Veterans? I say hurt. These unions put the welfare of their workers over the Veterans. They are all civil service employees and have the same protections as every civil servant. To have a third party represent them is extra special protections that I think are taking away from Veteran care.

  3. To ALL AFGE Minions: **PLEASE** threaten to and indeed go on strike….please? I will sacrifice my left testicle to hear POTUS’s infamous words…”YOU’RE FIRED”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Be GONE! BANISHED AFGE from *ever* haunting any VA hallway ever again.

    (In today’s “Bad VA Art”, a bit like “Find Waldo”…can you find the AFGE shezilla in photo that will take 7 times sticking you with a dirty needle while checking her social media with a mouthful of breakfast? Tricky question because at critical mass, gender identification becomes tricky….)

    • namnibor,
      I concur!
      Hey, to you “Shithead Union Members” –
      PLEASE, STRIKE!
      I, AND MANY OTHER VETERANS, WANT YOU TO STRIKE!
      Your worthless!

      • Hey moron.

        Some of us Vets like VA. There are some bad apples but the good outweighed the bad. Some are Union members. But like the other side who hates Unions no matter whom they are. Shove up your stinking GOP gutless ass. So get with your worthless Pete Hagaseth and go some artillery grease that is found in his hair. You both seem like big Koch suckers.

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

        Hey John, before calling someone a moron, learn how to put a fucking sentence together.

        Hillary lost bitch, deal with it.

        Look who’s calling anyone a Koch sucker, you Sorros loser!

        [email protected] Sorros loser AHhhhhhahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaa!

      • Now, now, little Johnny boy.

        What VSO are you working for little lying Johnny?

        Oh and little Johnny CJ is right. Hillary lost so go lay down by your dish and be a good little snowflake and melt quietly.

    • @Namnibor
      I find that a lot of people who haven’t worked at the VA are unaware that when beginning employment each individual is required to sign a statement that reads:

      I ___________________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that—

      B. AFFIDAVIT AS TO STRIKING AGAINST THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
      I am not participating in any strike against the Government of the United States or any agency thereof, and I will not so participate while an employee of the Government of the United States or any agency thereof.

      As such, the full power of AFGE employees to strike is off the table from the moment they accept appointment. With further deterioration of union rights, AFGE employees have little recourse available when challenging VA management.

  4. Federal whistle blower Devvy Kidd.
    “https://newswithviews.com/two-important-things-just-happened-did-you-miss-them/”

    Cerner:

    “Letter to the Editor: Let the record show I told you so about VA”..
    “https://federalnewsradio.com/commentary/2018/05/letter-to-the-editor-let-the-record-show-i-told-you-so-about-va/”

    “This decision to move to Cerner did not come from within the VA. It came through a convergence of the political and financial interests at the Department of Defense, the White House and private sector product and professional services organizations.”

    The entire health care system like DC varmints, et al, is a cluster F. Two weeks and a civvy hospital still hasn’t sent needed files to a new MD to be seen. Dare to ask ‘why’ or question any wrong doing or games from anyone and psychotic like treatment from those we are supposed to trust, including those who are supposed to protect us and serve us peeps. Beware, you may step on some real nutcases’ toes infecting all others. Three years since leaving the VA and seen nothing much but obvious retaliation, full circle of games, health staff harassment (unions, staff, professionals, government, activist, all connected.), cover-ups for the VA botched dentistry, censoring, along with much more. Fancy swift med file sharing and real care? Phony, not happening, no reasons given but that’s the way things are or totally ignored. Odd when gossip and covering-up, obvious attacks by the VA or civvy care health, whatever, can spread like wildfire, anything needful or revealing… not so much.

    Happy days in totally corrupt ‘murika.’

  5. TITLED;
    “VA: Choice Program Won’t Run Out of Money Before Trump Signs New Bill”
    From: “Military.com”
    Dated: 31 May 2018
    By “Richard Sisk”

    “The VA will not run out of money for the Veterans Choice program before President Donald Trump signs a bill to extend and reform it, a VA spokesman said Thursday.”

    “The Choice Program has sufficient funding to continue normal operations uninterrupted until the Mission Act is signed into law,” the spokesman said.”

    “Officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs earlier had said that funding for Choice, which serves an average of 30,000 veterans daily with appointments for private and community health care, could expire as early as May 31.”

    “Last week, the Senate by a vote of 92-5 passed the VA Mission Act, which will provide $5.2 billion to extend Choice for one year while overhauling how it operates. Under the Mission Act, seven separate programs under Choice would be consolidated into one system to improve efficiency.”

    “Trump pledged to sign the legislation quickly, but no date has been set for the expected White House ceremony that would mark one of the major achievements of his administration.”

    “The overall VA Mission Act, which Senate leaders said could cost $55 billion over five years, would also expand the VA’s caregiver stipend program for the families of disabled veterans. The caregiver program is now limited to post-9/11 veterans and would be extended to veterans of all eras.”

    “The VA Mission Act would eliminate restrictions under the current Choice program that mostly limit private and community care to veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility or have to wait more than 30 days for an appointment.”

    “Currently, about one-third of the health care needs of veterans are served in the private sector, and concerns were raised during debate over the Mission Act that more outsourcing of care would diminish the VA’s role as the primary provider.”

    “However, proponents of the bill from both sides of the aisle said that private care at government expense is an option only when it is in the best interests of the veteran.”
    *****************************************
    I’ve left the “comments section” on, to show what other veterans think!

    “Conrad Vonblankenburg9 hours ago OH Good! Now I can sleep at night!”

    “Tim V17 hours ago “Normal operations….” For whom? It doesn’t seem to be working very well out here in Oregon, by my reckoning. As a 100 percent and legitimate combat-disabled Marine, conditions resulting from those wounds worsen while the VA sits on them, going nowhere with a course of action. THAT is Veterans Choice? Not by my standards. Seems like the deal my country made with me that ended up with body parts laying in a pool of blood on a foreign battlefield hasn’t seen much headway lately, as those wounds and their consequences get worse with passage of time, and VA inertia. How about it, Mr. Trump – that promise you keep making… is it just that, or will it ever hit the ground where we wait for results?”

    © 2018 Military Advantage

  6. To me it seems that Trump’s Executive orders in the most part are legal given the actions and legislation written by Congress enabling the firing of worthless employees.

    Although this may only be the first of lawsuits filed by the AFGE regarding the Executive Orders signed by Trump. I find it funny that the Union is fighting first to still be able to collect a paycheck while doing Union business 100% of their day at work. While the VA has to hire additional people just to cover the work that the Union leaders where hired to do before becoming Union Officials.

    In 2016, over 470 full time Veterans Affairs employees spend 100 percent of their duty hours working for a labor union instead of serving veterans. This includes 74 full-time nurses at least one dentist and a physician’s assistant. Just with the 74 nurses, the dentist and the physician’s assistant that is more than $6.5 million in salary not including bonuses that are being paid for them to work full time for the Union.

    That $6.5 million in union salaries doesn’t even include the salaries of the other 394 union representatives at the VA alone. Nor did it include the cost paid by the VA for their lobbying of Congress and the VA for Nurses being able to take over as Veterans Primary Care providers. Nor did include the costs paid by the VA for their lobbying Members to support Clinton in the last election.

    Personally, I don’t believe that Congress has ever past legislation that has empowered the AFGE representatives to work full time on Union work while being paid full time salary for the position they were originally hired to do. I seriously believe that the President is being too generous with our tax payer dollars. Although his Executive orders make it mandatory for the Union Reps to only work 25% of their time doing union business instead of the current 100%. He should have also added the condition that the union should have to pay the Reps salary during the time they are working on Union Business.

    The truly sickening part of the AFGE lawsuit is that the Taxpayers not the Union will be paying all court cost and attorney fees. The union will not have to spend a dime on the lawsuit and in fact will make money off the suit even if they lose.

    • Seymore,
      In my opinion, could it be President Trump is forcing the union to do something, which would cause them to lose their jobs?
      Seems like I’ve seen something like this occur once or twice before!

    • Seymore, see my comment below. Trumps EO is little more than making it an official order to federal agency management that they need to follow existing law, and APPROVE time spent on union activities. If that is unapproved, then the union cannot just demand it.

      It sure as hell doesn’t mean 470 flunkies should be working full time for the union.

      The silver lining in this is that it should force the agency to look at bad managers that have so many grievances against them that the union thinks they need a full time flunky.

  7. Ben let me offer an opposing viewpoint directed at your concern that President Trump is using Executive authority this way. Executive Privilege exists like it or not and AFGE in this circumstance does not like it. Likely about four million veterans are standing up tall applauding now but that too is not how we make laws. Mob rule and kangaroo courts are forbidden, right?

    Your argument about the Presidents position within our government is based on your interpretation of the Constitution if I am not mistaken. As a rule I think you and I are on the same page that way.

    However, I have also received at least seven letters now on VA letterhead that openly violated federal law in what they expressed as their intent to do with me. Under a Constitutionally protected set of rights at letter number three I could easily have escalated the matter in a Constitutional manner to resolve the conflict. I personally attempted to resolve the conflict in a Constitutional manner before PRF letter number one was sent me by our federal government at VA by taking my grievance to District Court. Judge Cynthia Carlson, who is bound by our Constitution, issued a direct court order served on VA at their clinic forbidding them from further molestation of my case. All Constitutional, right?

    The very first PRF letter sent to me by VA cited the District Court Restraining Order as the causative reason for the letter and the new draconian restrictions involving armed men and to their credit this was the most honest thing Roseburg VAMC ever did with me. They were open and honest about terminating my rights as a patient as I had enjoyed previously with them. In the letter they flat stated it was owing to the fact that I had used the Constitution to attempt to correct a societal problem by going to court and asking for relief which was granted. Under our Constitution retaliation for doing this is forbidden as it was spelled out in the court order.

    The VA not only ignored the judge but retaliated full force not in spite of the judge but BECAUSE of the judge and her decision to issue a favorable decision in my case against them. So what is my point? My point is this; the Constitution exists because people do not get along well with each other no matter what your job is, background, or status. It is the rules we play by and you point out today that POTUS is taking a back door to the rules to effect the change that he as a citizen perceives is needed. You call this into question. My retort is simple, he is changing the rules for the people who are not legally obliged to play by the rules everyone else plays by and because of what? …. wait for it …. they get a get out of jail free card directly owing to Executive Privilege.

    It is that same Executive Privilege he is now excersizing to attempt to correct behavior in an agency protected by that same authority. The laws passed by Congress should reasonably be expected to apply to everyone but any law passed by Congress (there have been mountains) is simply bypassed or ignored by VA for one simple reason – they don’t have to play by the rules everyone else does. Do you disagree? it is because of Executive Privilege that people obviously within VA are not held accountable to our Constitution like everyone else.

    This means in fact that as a practical matter there simply is no other way to effect needed social change within the Executive Branch fold EXCEPT by Executive Order. Even elections can’t do it. My argument therefor is this; with VA a Presidential Order may not be the best means to reign in an out of control agency federal agency immune from accountability by the Constitution but ….. – it’s the only way.

  8. I also saw in that Executive Order where if you are fired from one government agency and apply at another one the manager of the agency you were fired from can tell the other agency head why you were fired and I believe that violates Fair Labor Standards Act.. I believe that as a manager you are only allowed to say that the person worked for you from this date to that date and his pay rate was xyz and That’s ALL. If I read Fair Labor Standards correctly a former employer is not allowed to say why you were fired.

    • Barbara,

      This is what is stated on the White House fact sheet regarding the Executive Order addressing the recording of negative information in personnel records with the Office of Personnel Management.

      “The order facilitates the efficient removal of bad employees and makes it hard for those employees to mask adverse employment information when seeking re-employment at another agency, while upholding Federal merit principles.

      Agencies will be required to report information on disciplinary actions and management of poor performers to the Office of Personnel Management for publication.”

      The Federal Government is a single employer with the Office of Personnel Management maintaining records for all federal employees. While former employees with good records do get a step up in consideration for openings at other agencies and their past and present time is considered for promotions and retirement. It seems only right that employees who have been fired have their negative records maintained as well. Given they are still afforded the preference in hiring, promotions and retirement.

      The Current AFGE suit does not contend that this is inappropriate. They are currently suing only that they want the Taxpayers to continue paying for all of their reps salaries to work 100%, instead of the 25% required by the Executive Order, of their time on Union business and not do the job they were hired to do.

      Fact Sheet At: “https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trump-reforming-civil-service-work-american-people/”

      • BS. It’s up to the supervisors to approve official time. If the time allows for it. Trumps EO,s are worthless. Most of the law must be changed by Congress. So the draft dodger coward running around like Ceaser, second rate too, issuing EOs is useless.

      • Seymore, your comment rings a bell with me. I recall a friend from California telling me about a person he worked with. He said this friend worked the union angle as much as possible to her benefit.

        I cannot point to any legal right to do so, but he said the union allowed employees to review their personnel records, and had the right to remove any history of adverse actions from their personnel record if they had two years of good behavior. So, this person got in trouble, would play nice for awhile, then at the two year point, she would have removed any history of punishment from her record.

      • Rick perhaps you are right in the fantasy realm of “rick and morty”, but here in reality their is now an legal Executive Order that says if you don’t work 75% of your paid time doing the job you were hired to do. It is likely that you will hear the words that President Donald Trump is famous for. “You’re fired!”

        So to you I offer the same advise I gave little Johnny boy! Hillary lost so go lay down by your dish and be a good little snowflake and melt quietly.

      • 91Veteran,

        I heard the same thing a number of times. Also I know that it has been reported in a number of articles where people being fired from the VA are having their records cleaned of any wrong doing as part of their severance agreements worked out by the AFGE.

        Just like it has repeatedly been done with Physicians who are fired from the VA.

  9. No Barbara, if you are fired from the position you have to explain why you left the position. A former employer is allowed to say that you were terminated, they just cant say why you were terminated.

  10. I was told by an HR person for a large department store chain that she could only tell a prospective employer when I was hired, when I left and my rate of pay nothing else and I know from my reading in Fair Labor Standards Act that an employer can’t say why you left.

    • Barbara,

      The Fair Labor Standards Act deals with records maintenance regarding payroll primarily having to do with overtime.

      While the person from the HR in the large department store chain may have been right about what she could say per State Law. But I assure you that is not the case in most states. It is determined by the States Laws and not by the federal Government.

      See: State Laws on References and Statements By Former Employers, By Barbara Kate Repa

      “https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/free-books/employee-rights-book/chapter9-6.html”

    • Nope. Look under Federal Employment Laws and regulations at the US Department of Labor. It clearly says that the employer CAN in fact say the person was terminated, they just cant say the reason for it. Thats because some person who may be pissed off at being fired, cannot come back and claim that the company said they were fired for the wrong reason. Hence it stops the employee from filing a “get even” lawsuit. So whoever told you that they cant say a former employee was fired, is not telling you the truth. I used to be an assist manager when I was in college at a local Dominos store. And the local attorneys as well as a former US Federal Judge who lived in the town, stated the exact same thing.

      • As a union safety and health officer I was fired under the word: “insubordination.” i was supposedly protected under laws and protections. Not so. When the company came out with their usual threats…’if you support this guy you will cause the plant to shut down and your families will go hungry,” etc. Zip no support, but plenty of union rats and old styled union thuggery attacks. Talk about some union and community shunning. There would be no phony plant shut down.

        When I fought for specifics years later and taking many people, union, state agencies, feds, etc., trying, into fed court I was given paper-work stating I had approx 14 charges or claims against me. That one word seems to cover a multitude of things. Odd about ‘all those people or businesses’ not being able to know your past, seemingly behind the scenes already have access to it, all. Think corrupt towns and being a “Union Strong-hold” anything is not easy found or investigated then spread around? All the employers have to do is keep quiet, not spill any ‘secretive’ or prohibitive past work or union history.

        Meanwhile back at the oasis the Arabs were eating their dates. Ops wrong story. Anywhere I went for employment my little birds and insiders were telling me how I had been black-balled by the Masons, told I’d never work in this town again, and tons of other gossip. I was called into one high office with some suits attending and politely told by millionaires, billionaires or their lawyers, Chambers scum, etc., I was defeated and nothing more than “a piss ant on an Elephants ass” you can’t fight us and law suits against me will be forthcoming. Told by some foremen on the jobs I was going for told that their bosses knew all about me and ALL the gossip and slandering going on. I stepped on the wrong toes and mafias, all the corrupt in protection mode.

        As explained years back here. My federal brief was lost while moving into another office by my attorney. All original evidence, everything, gone. Nothing to do about it. BAR, ABA, IN Supreme Court Disciplinary Action jesters, feds, Osha, NLRB, et al. Did nothing. That’s the way things are here and what we deal with today only better hidden, more dangerous, fully ingrained and fully protected. The old nicknames for my town in the past was, is, “Little Chi-town” meaning well known corruption in Chicago didn’t have anything over Indiana or my town. That and “Sin City” that was blamed on the red-light cat houses, or is claimed, but actually because of the corruption and mafias. “You wan’t to commit murder and crimes come here.” Not my words or labels. Imagine all the covering up and putting on the local facades to make living locally perfect, ethical, outstanding. Wrong.

        Disclaimer. Your town, state, community, officials, etc., may be different. Or may be just as accepted and public accepting of it all and turn heads not wanting to acknowledge any such wrong doings and vast corruption.

        Another oddity. Got a job but boss man claimed he didn’t know about me but I had to sign a contract in a union shop to not get involved in union affairs to be employed by them. Hmmm. Only one there requested to do such a thing.

  11. “We will not stand by and let this administration willfully violate the Constitution to score political points, that’s our job.”

    Fixed that for ya.

  12. Perusing the comment section, I was surprised not to discover what I suspected I’d find when reading this board post. The seemingly inevitable anti-union tropes were thought to be inescapable. Projection of one’s personal biases fueled by highly emotive and deficient critical thought employment could easily fuel an ideological, partisan political, unnecessarily emotional, and predictably irrational perspective. “I was treated poorly by VA employees. AFGE members are VA employees. That means I endured maltreatment at the hands of the AFGE,” is an expected response coming from a number of individuals who regularly contribute to VA board discussions, and activity I’ve observed by which people exercise the use of overgeneralizations, misplace frustration, and collectively echo the sentiments of others in a self-indulgent and unproductive written firestorm of infringed feelings. This of course doesn’t apply to all contributors and I make my statement while remaining cognizant of this fact.

    Challenging myself concerning what I think about AFGE action concerning the President’s latest behavior regarding the VA, I find myself conflicted. As a disabled veteran, I’ve endured questionable (at least) and damaging (at worst) treatment from VA employees—a number of whom undoubtedly are AFGE employees. As a former VA employee and current AFGE member, I’ve utilized the legal services of AFGE council when contacted attorneys either thumbed their noses at the idea of representing me or requested astronomical fees regarding my Equal Employment Opportunity case against the VA. From an emic perspective, I can relate to the frustration of veterans regarding subpar treatment at the VA. I can also relate to the exasperation of AFGE employees who indubitably foresee invaluable worker protections dissolving before their eyes.

    In all, I support the spirit of the lawsuit. Realistically, I wonder if the legal action will result in a desired outcome. Even if the AFGE is successful in this endeavor, the probability of reprehensible methods regarding the termination of AFGE member employment vice VA management officials has long remained a constant and I am doubtful when contemplating a potential change to the business-as-usual system. For those of you who recognize that not all AFGE members and VA employees are corrupt, and who support those of us who actually tried our best to serve veterans and caregivers, thank you for your understanding and backing. For the rest who want nothing more than to incinerate the entire system and who will unduly criticize all government employees in an excessively harsh manner, I suppose Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine) stated it best by asserting, “Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

    • Just Passing Through,

      Could only read several sentences of what you wrote.

      Think you can condense it so that it make any sense?

      I am curious as to what you have to say just the troll shit smeared all over your post get in the way.

      If what you have to say isn’t important any way don’t bother, but if there is anything meaningful could you condense it to make it clearer.

      • Perhaps you should read more than “several sentences” before you comment on this thoughtful post. The author is a veteran, former VA employee, and current AFGE member. He is in a position to offer first hand insight on a number of topics relevant to this site. Characterizing someone a “troll” just because you disagree with his view is hardly useful.

      • @Seymore Klearly

        Admittedly, my style of writing isn’t for everyone. The suggestion that it doesn’t make sense will be taken into consideration for my future responses. Thank you for the suggestion, even though I vehemently disagree with you. (Meaning we don’t see eye to eye…a lot.) The two dollar version of what I wrote: A lot of people express hate over unions. Not all union members are bad. I’m a member of the AFGE. I think the lawsuit is a good idea, although I doubt it will bring about the change AFGE members want. It is the system that needs changing, not solely an executive order. Thank you to those who support VA employees. To the rest who don’t, some people inevitably seek chaos.

        I hope that clears things up.

      • @D

        Thank you. I find it encouraging that at least one person understood what I was offering to the discussion. I appreciate the support.

      • Is it me or what. Seems like the text of Just Passing Through and D are similar. Are you two related or something? Come on now. Can we get a blood test to verify the difference or mirror image? Never mind, it’s just me, I know you’re not related or the same person.

      • Never mind, it’s just me again.

        Burp ~~~~~ vapor >>>>> smell of rotten but tasty fermented Kimchee. Hot kind.

    • alm it down a little bit JPT. Your talking to a bunch of grunts here. We just like it precise , straight forward and truthfull (if possible). If your have more education than us, fine. You don’t need BIG FUKEN WORDS to get your point across. Keep it simple so some of us with certain disabilaties can keep up with what your saying. I have an IQ of about 115? I can understand what your saying, but you make it confusing as hell (for me). I’m ranting I think. Finger hash will do that to you. Time to go to bed now and get my 6 hours of sleep.

      • Nex. I smelled JPT, female, male, unknown, out and why I posted to it. It’s anonymous and claims what cannot be proven. It writes like union activist antagonist, VA staff/union trained, well choreographed, well practiced/used, wordy, 50 cent word usage, flip-floppy, condescending, cocky, ambiguous, and attacking in cute coy ways pretending to take a higher worth and standing above us. Damn good at soft killing apparently. Don’t agree with it then we are the ‘provocateurs,’ wanting “chaos,” or wrong in some way of playing victim. Same attitudes, same type of writing, accusations, etc., that I had saved on my healthy E-vet site that was totally scrubbed of all communications that could have caused some major issues for those at the VA, contractors, PAs, ‘professionals,’ connecting cliques, etc. It supposedly offering some kind of new insights to the VA and it’s politics. With it still trying to convince us that we are all wrong. Then play the “I am not political” game. Horse shit. There is no trying to have discussion or communications with these kinds of union clowns or their cheerleaders, period. It loves it’s own game playing semantics, wasting our time to obviously loves doing what it does. If I am supposed to be impressed by it’s vociferating (ha ha) and all the others at the VA, attack dogs, fancy epistles, etc., not a bit. And why I did not or will not reply to it’s shit. Also in part why I stopped any and all communications with the VA. It is a prime example.

        For those cheerleaders of the VA and have great care. Then what about the rest of us? Like your VSOs, being members of probably, being fulfilled, what about those suicides and deaths trying to expose the goddamn VA and medical field BS? Don’t mean a thing to you ass-wipes do they? Sit and blow shit at your pubs, VSO clubs, play hero, no man left behind shit? What is the body count this week you happy self-serving, uncaring, content, non-oath keeping bags of pus? The silent majority, the cliques, herds, cowards that won’t help anyone else or too fearful to get involved or even have your names mentioned or associated with people trying to change or expose things. Sociopaths. Don’t care. But whine louder than any others when things hit too close to home then thinks since the worm has turned you may have connections for a fix while many others do not.

        JPT and other attack dogs or brain dead think the rest of us out here have zero street wisdom, no company or union activist experiences. That we just fell off the turnip truck and can’t cipher for ourselves. Wrong – O. Times of taking orders, pulling rank, or we have to keep playing stupid ‘chain of command’ games or the VA levels of such, to showing some respect, never getting any or the facade of it, should be over.

        Locally I’d be banned and censored, JPT and some others would be made heroes with full protections by the media, elected, the unions, and lefties here. Just fact. Come on the screen out here and don’t know shit about some of us or any of us. Or care what the terrorist VA and others have put us through.

      • @Nexdeceptus
        I realize the way I write isn’t something others may appreciate. I’ll take your criticism into account and respond appropriately. It’s difficult, because I speak the way I speak. If I were to tell you to start using terminology you’re either unfamiliar or uncomfortable with, you may kindly tell me where I could shove my suggestion. We do have, after all, the freedom of speech and we’re able to exercise this right. Now when you bring education and disability into the conversation, I wonder if you’re alluding to the idea that perhaps I’m coming across condescending. This isn’t my intent. Again, I speak the way I speak. I do have a certain degree of education that my MGIB paid for. As well, I have disabilities that impact my thinking and emotions. None of these elements are used by me as a tool against others. If you don’t like my contribution to the dialogue, no problem. Simply pass me by. I’ll think none the less of you. At any rate, thank you for the feedback. That stated, you may want to shield your eyes from my response to @T, because I’m going to use some non-grunt words.

      • @T
        You’ve gone after me elsewhere on this forum and at first I thought you were willing to engage in fruitful discussion. I quickly learned, however, that you’ve internalized my statements, have used subjective reasoning to interpret what you perhaps believe is the true meaning of my words, and have misrepresented me to a significant degree. You’ve then formulated a response to your imaginary narrative and have taken up the torch of proactivity in championing the cause of advocacy pertaining to a mythological blight upon what you may perceive as a threat to your personal faculties. If I were to defend myself by challenging your contentions it would only feed to delusion you’ve created. If I were to ignore your ranting it would appear to others that your claims against me may have some merit. If I were to stoop to your level and sling ad hominem attacks, use straw man fallacy, and satisfy a shameless need for personal gratification and self-serving validation I’d function in a manner not dissimilar to that of your own behavior.

        Alas, what to do?

        I’ll choose the latter by playing the role of Sancho Panza in my current reply, and then we shall part ways from this journey into oblivion. I’ve learned from correspondence with you elsewhere on this forum that trying to engage you in meaningful discussion is pointless. We could discuss matters associated with a current topic at hand and you’ll veer off into the direction of arbitrariness by introducing unrelated subject matter, espousing delusional misapprehensions, voicing highly subjective rhetoric, and saturating your drivel with ideological gibberish that has nothing to do with the majority of what I address. I simply haven’t the desire to engage in the Mad Hatter’s tea party, no matter how intriguing the host of nonsensical discussion may appear on a surface level. That stated, consider my current reply the only instance by which I will provide a response to you on this post—solely out of common decency for mutual discussion.

        Your response about me to @Nexdeceptus was an exemplary display of straw-manning that if left unacknowledged would serve as nothing less than an opportunity to express digital laughter in written form. I could address each of your irrational claims one by one, yet I’d rather respond to them collectively with a solitary quote from Christopher Hitchens that retains some degree of meaning to me. “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.” Your broad claims and spectacular-level of grandstanding trollery deserves precisely what Hitchens suggests, dismissal using the same evidence you’ve provided in regards to me—none. I imagine your life is filled to the brim with brief moments of unjustifiable outcries to deaf ears, leaving you with a void by which you garner a measure of self-worth from white-knighting from the anonymity of digital persona—a distinct and hypocritical critique you chastise me for using. You perceive the words of others who challenge your stance as direct threats to your fragile insecurities.

        Rather than becoming upset with your adolescent words, I rather pity you.

        In parting, specifically having ignored the hypergraphic display of written diarrhea you smeared in this comment section, I leave you with a quote from George Carlin that comes to mind while reading your blathering contribution to the discussion. “Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist.” I’m not the enemy you’ve created in your mind, Don Quixote de la Mancha. You may continue rebuking me in this and future posts. It matters not to me. Having stooped to your level and effectively trolled the troll, this is where our fork in the road divides us. Enjoy chasing after windmills along your path, for I will most assuredly find pleasure in continuing to contribute logical narratives to this forum despite your attempts to discredit me.

        Oh hell, why not use one more superfluous quote? You stated, “Nex[,] I smelled JPT.” I suppose the words of Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore from Apocalypse Now come to mind, “Smells like… victory.”

    • I understood what you were saying, and I didnt believe it. You CANT expect a person that works for the VA and is paid BY the VA to do Union work 100% of the time while they are working there. If the Union wants them to do union work then the UNION should be paying them, not the VA and in a round about way, the tax payer. The UAW tried this and was sued by the company and it went all the way up to the 6th US District Court (one step below the US Supreme Court) and the justices said in a unanimous decision that the Union could NOT have a VA employee work on Union business while being paid for that work by the VA. So this part of the lawsuit is going to be tossed out with prejudice, meaning it cant ever be filed anywhere ever again. And expecting a VA employee to work on VA business is NOT being anti union as you tried to imply. When you are hired by a person or company, you work for them, not for anyone else unless they give you permission to do so. And as for the “AFGE employees who see their worker protections dissolving before their eyes” May I suggest they look at their employment contract they willingly signed when they went to work for the VA? It clearly says that they work at the sufferance of the VA and can be terminated for any reason at any time. And ALL employment contracts say the exact same thing right above where you sign your name. You can clearly see that just by looking at a pack of employment contracts you can purchase on line or at your local office store. As such while the Employer cannot debase or degrade the employee or violate federal work rules, anything else is between the employee and the company/employer or business. When it gets to a point that an employee is not doing their job or is degrading a Veteran or thinks they can do whatever they please because they are a union member, then its time to take them down a peg or three or terminate them if they dont change their ways.

      That passing through, is why this lawsuit is going to fail. And if you need any further proof that it will fail and quite probably be tossed with prejudice, just look at the idiotic responses of Rick and John in this thread.

      • @Dan
        I presume your comment is in relation to me, as I will respond accordingly. You state a premise (“You CANT expect a person that works for the VA and is paid BY the VA to do Union work 100% of the time while they are working there. If the Union wants them to do union work then the UNION should be paying them, not the VA and in a round about way, the tax payer.”) based on a straw man fallacy, not regarding anything I said. Search this entire thread and demonstrate precisely where I (personally) stated union employees should be paid for conducting union business on the company’s—or tax payer’s—dime. I’ll wait as you search.

        Unable to find evidence of the false premise you attribute to me, allow me to recite exactly what I stated. (I know, I know. You stated, “I understood what you were saying,” yet it appears as though you misunderstand nonetheless.) I stated, “In all, I support the spirit of the lawsuit. Realistically, I wonder if the legal action will result in a desired outcome. Even if the AFGE is successful in this endeavor, the probability of reprehensible methods regarding the termination of AFGE member employment vice VA management officials has long remained a constant and I am doubtful when contemplating a potential change to the business-as-usual system.” This means that the portion of the AFGE lawsuit I support—as expressed in the aforementioned quote—relates to the VA’s misinterpretation of the VA Accountability Act concerning the termination of employment of lower-level employees vice VA management. It’s quite simple, actually.

        Regarding your second point (“May I suggest they look at their employment contract they willingly signed when they went to work for the VA? It clearly says that they work at the sufferance of the VA and can be terminated for any reason at any time.”), I do not disagree with your pragmatic suggestion on its face. Let’s examine your logic a bit further so that you may better understand my point, even if you disagree with it after reading the following scenario.

        Suppose a person who voluntarily gains VA employment is hired as a GS-05 program support assistant (PSA). This person is subject to a standard period of probation that other non-VA employees also have to go through. For the sake of example, let’s call this person Pat. Pat is taught at New Employee Orientation that it is a violation of federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) policy for an employee to remain subject to discrimination as defined by EEOC standards. Let’s say Pat is a disabled veteran who reported the condition of traumatic brain injury (TBI) which places Pat into the EEOC federal protected class category. With reasonable accommodations in place and Pat’s supervisor maintaining knowledge of the disability, Pat is able to perform expected work requirements. Pat decides to join the Union, because other VA lower-level employees tell of frightening tales related to VA management’s abuse of power and authority. Pat is somewhat skeptical about the rumors, though errs on the side of caution that AFGE representation affords in the vein of worker protections.

        After half a year, and still on probation, Pat’s supervisor calls a meeting and informs supervisees that productivity expectations aren’t being met. In order to increase the volume of veterans being served in the clinic, employees are told to cancel all standing appointments longer than 90 days. No calls to the veterans to inform them of this action will be necessary. Simply cancel the appointments electronically and list the cancellations as no-show appointments or cancellations by choice of the veteran. Now remember, Pat is a disabled veteran and suspects that the supervisor’s order is ethically unsound (at least) and potentially illegal (at best). Pat speaks up. “Excuse me, I think what you’re suggesting could harm veterans and may even be illegal.” Everyone in the conference room where the meeting is taking place quickly looks at Pat. The supervisor responds, “Well Pat, if you’re unable to follow my orders I think we’ll need to reevaluate your effectiveness on our team. We need employees who are willing to do what is necessary in order to increase our accountability statistics.”

        Pat knows that the productivity requirements drive funding. Funding drives budget requests. Without funding, VA employees wouldn’t have jobs. At the same time, Pat perceives the harm that could come to veterans by cancelled appointments. It’s a logical paradox. Freeing up that many appointments will appear as though the clinic has availability so that new appointments can be made. Having a lengthy waiting list on file is part of what landed the Arizona VHA in hot water. At the same time, canceling veteran appointments unexpectedly and without notice doesn’t seem appropriate. It seems categorically wrong. Pat makes the decision to advocate on behalf of veterans, especially since other employees have yet to do so.

        “I’m sorry but if my performance is dependent upon harming veterans, maybe this isn’t the team for me,” Pat boldly states. “Well,” the supervisor replies, “we can discuss this matter further in my office. Besides, your performance has hindered our progress since you’ve been here anyway. We don’t have time to hand-hold you through learning new procedures, taking up resources towards training you on how to perform a job that the rest of us who are normal can easily do.” Wait, what? Pat caught on to that last comment. Normal? Pat questions, “What do you mean by ‘normal?” The supervisor unapologetically replies, “Your reasonable accommodations are slowing down productivity, Pat. Let’s discuss this further in my office.” The supervisor’s comment violates statues of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehab Act), and the EEOC.

        Alas, Pat is, however, an at-will employee who is on probation. The AFGE can’t offer much assistance to a member who isn’t off probation yet. What is Pat to do? Well, Pat does the only thing possible in regards to redress. Pat files an EEOC formal complaint. One week after filing, Pat’s employment is terminated on the grounds of inability to adapt. The VA doesn’t need to list a reason for termination. The adaptability issue was addressed as a mere formality. Employing your logic, the contractual agreement Pat entered into “clearly says that [employees] work at the sufferance of the VA and can be terminated for any reason at any time.” What that contract does not state, however, is that an employee’s federal protections under the EEOC can be violated at will. There is, in fact, a breach of federal law to consider.

        Pat reaches out to a prominent veteran’s advocate and activist who just so happens to be an attorney and runs a popular blog. The attorney declines representation, which puzzles Pat. The AFGE later informs Pat that they are able to provide legal representation, because federal protections were violated and Pat has remained current monthly dues, which affords a union member the right to legal counsel. Had the VA Accountability Act been utilized properly, Pat’s supervisor would have received reprimand or even termination of employment for violating the aforementioned policies. Instead, Pat was fired and the supervisor remained in-place. Let’s bypass subjectivity. Let us disregard what is good or bad, right or wrong. Let us instead consider legality. What Pat’s supervisor did by violating ADA, Rehab Act, and EEOC policy was illegal. The VA Accountability Act affords the VA an ability to remove, demote, dismiss, or suspend VA employees on the grounds of performance or conduct. Open-and-shut case.

        Though Pat was fired, not the supervisor.

        Your logic maintains relevance under most circumstances. Pat’s case is an outlier and isn’t representative of most cases. THIS is my argument regarding my support for the AFGE’s current lawsuit relating to worker protections. The VA Accountability Act isn’t being utilized appropriately or in accordance with the spirit of the policy. One could make the astute argument that the aforementioned scenario is completely fabricated and serves as nothing more than union propaganda. After all, I’ve clearly identified myself as an AFGE member. Maybe my attempt to help you understand is nothing other than an elaborate straw man untruth against a governmental organization with a track record of suspicious employee terminations and an EEOC complaint record of infractions longer than one may imagine.

        What if, however, the provided scenario was true?

        In the interest of critical analysis and logical examination, suppose Pat’s story (or one very close to it) actually occurred. By your own expressed understanding (“As such while the Employer cannot debase or degrade the employee or violate federal work rules, anything else is between the employee and the company/employer or business.”), you verify that a scenario such as Pat’s could justify the need for a union to retain some level of protection for workers in the form of advocacy. Clearly, the VA isn’t abiding by its own policy (VA Accountability Act) in my hypothetical example. It is at that point that VA employees such as just [PA]ssing [T]hrough require representation.

        Finally, when you state that “is why this lawsuit is going to fail,” you are agreeing with my original point (“Realistically, I wonder if the legal action will result in a desired outcome.”). If by chance the long-shot suit is a success, I further preemptively stated, “Even if the AFGE is successful in this endeavor, the probability of reprehensible methods regarding the termination of AFGE member employment vice VA management officials has long remained a constant and I am doubtful when contemplating a potential change to the business-as-usual system.” Having read all of this, you may still disagree with me. No problem. As long as you understand me, that’s all I hope for. Otherwise, it seems as though we agree on other aspects and it’s pointless to argue similar sides of a stance.

  13. After reading the AFGE’s Brief filed in court it is truly a totally Frivolous Lawsuit designed to keep the VA bucks flowing into the AFGE.

    No where in the Executive Order does it impede any AFGE members first amendment rights. The Executive Order only requires that Union personal limit the time they work on Union Business to 25% and require that they spend 75% of their time performing the job they were hired by the VA to do.

    Although the Executive Order does put some additional limits on what kind of Union business the employee can perform while working the 25% Official Time. It in noway prevents the Union from using the dues collected to pay the Union personnel to perform the Union Work at some other time to complete their Union duties.

    Although if the Union personnel wish to work 100% of their time performing Union duties and not work the required 75% of the time they are required to work performing their job at the job they where hired to do.

    All of the Union personnel are freely able to quit or be fired from their employment at the VA if they are unable to work 75% of their time doing the job they are being paid for and have the Union hire them as a full time employee. That is if the Union feels their services are truly needed.

    Basically it is a case of do the job you were hired for or leave so that the VA can hire someone to fill the position that is willing to do the job.

  14. It’s a normal response to a system that has no justness, no fairness, that has left one with no legal recourse of action, in regard to your first paragraph.

  15. Ben, I agree Trump should not in any way try to avoid any law passed by congress using some Executive Order. We saw enough of that dictatorial crap from Obama. What I won’t agree with is taking the word of some fat union hack claiming Trump is breaking the law by issuing the order.

    If Trump were actually trying to use an EO to go around a law passed by congress, I imagine the media would have been screaming loudly about the hypocrisy of that, but I only see reporting on Little Cox and how butthurt he is. As it is, that reporting is stating the AFGE thugs are only suing over his order cutting back on the amount of “official time” union thugs can spend doing thug activities.

    Since Little Cox wants to play lawyer now, he should brush up on the Fair Labor Standards Act and other labor law, particularly the act he cites, or the specific statute section which does not specify a percentage of time.

    From Federal News Radio: “While the Civil Service Reform Act grants Federal Labor Relations Authority to determine the circumstances when agencies are required to pay official time, it limits the amount of time to “any amount the agency and the exclusive representative involved agree to be reasonable, necessary and in the public interest.””

    …in other words, agency leadership already has the right to approve of or restrict a union demanding official time.

    As it is, Little Cox can try judge-shopping and hope he gets some hack that issues an injunction. All it will do is delay the inevitable when appealed.

    What it certainly will do is get the attention of the public, which may force Congress to finally pass a law mandating the restriction…and likely others.

    Little Cox should have thought of this as his little thugs were abusing official time and the taxpayers. VA agency officials should not have been so damn lazy in allowing this abuse to go on for so long.

    • 91Veteran,
      This is from the article put on here by “Katterkat”!

      “Official time is a common occurrence across many government agencies. In fact, a report from the Office of Personnel Management found that in 2012, a total of $157 million in taxes were used so that federal workers could do union work as opposed to their actual job.”

      This goes along with what I say about ASSHOLE Union representatives doing union work during their REAL VA work hours!
      As I pointed out in my comment, where I worked on the railroad, our union rep did union work AFTER work hours! Nothing is so important it can’t wait a few hours!

      In my opinion, Any pay received from one’s regular job, should be docked IF the person is not performing their regular duties! IF they’re hired as a VHA employee, then decide to do union work, then their VA pay is docked!

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

    Once again, you guys are on a roll. Keep up the good work.

    Later Gators -!ii!-

  17. “http://dailycaller.com/2014/10/21/report-va-officials-did-union-work-during-scandal/”

  18. Years ago, I worked on the “B&O/C&O Railroad”!
    We were under the “AFL-CIO Union”! We had around 30 workers and ONE “union rep!”
    (The small clinic I use has half that. As does large VHA’s – large VHA’s are divided into sections. Each section may or may not have a union representative. Yet that does not give them the right to get paid as a rep and VA employee – at the same time!)
    IF anyone had a problem, the union rep would “deal with the situation AFTER work!”

    That said, what the Hell is wrong with the AFGE Union, believing they can do union work during working hours. They’re hired, and paid, to do work for veterans at the VA!
    That’s how I see what President Trump’s Executive Order is all about!

    • I can relate to that, worked for Conrail in the 80’s 90’s, member of BLE if we had a problem with a meal allowance or some other company denial or problem we dealt with it AFTER work, not on company time. Personally I think union’s are a essential part of a healthy capitalistic system, when they operate properly, the AFGE does not operate properly.

      • march hare,
        That’s the main problems with unions. IF they start breaking the rules, regulations and laws.
        I have NEVER seen where union reps get paid for something their not entitled to, until I saw what was occurring in the VA!
        In my opinion, this “Executive Order” is actually NOT taking care of the situation.
        In my opinion, VA Employees/Union Reps should NOT be allowed to do union work during their regular work hours!
        Think about this, not only are these VA Employees/Union Reps screwing “9 million veterans” – (by not working the job they were hired to do) – They’re also screwing over 250+ million taxpayers (by being paid through taxpayers monies)!
        (“Side note; I bet there’s actually more than 250+ million taxpayers. I use that number as a guess! The “9 million veterans” number comes from the VA’s website!)

  19. “VA CAUGHT SCAMMING WITH CONGRESSMAN…JUST LIKE WE SAID”

    “https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/71926928-d6e3-39fe-b4bd-bde0af27211a/ss_va-denied-stay-on-paying.html”

    EMAIL FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP’S VA SECRETARY NOMINEE ON OUR PLAN TO END THE VA……

    And, to “Just Passing Through”!
    Your VA Employees sure are taking that “signed oath” really seriously.
    Look at ALL those AFGE members “picketing” with ALL those signs at the beginning of Ben’s “Bad VA Art” today!

  20. @ just passing through

    I found it funny that Seymour Klearly (and others) would chastise you for your post, since his contributions(?) to this sight are often a lengthy diatribe of negativity and name calling, as you have learned. I hope that you don’t abandon your contributions to this blog. I find your comments helpful, knowledgeable and OBJECTIVE. Your experience as a disabled veteran, ex VA employee and AFGE member is a valuable perspective that we veterans should appreciate and, perhaps, even learn from.

    Since this last election, it seems that veterans fall into 3 camps: first, the trump lovers who dismiss his past business failings, draft dodging and amoral behavior, and revel in the fact that he is not Hillary; second, the trump lovers who don’t want to admit that they may have made a mistake voting for him, so they accept his immature behavior, his obvious lack of management skills and his too many lies to even categorize; and, the third, are those of us who didn’t vote for him because we realized that he is a liar, a cheat, an opportunist who preys on people’s weaknesses and a man child of privilege who rode his dad’s coat tails into wealth. We in the 3rd camp are chastised, name called (snow flake and troll the most popular) and made out to be Hillary lovers ……. I was a Bernie guy myself, but in comparison to Trump, Hillary was a huuuuuggggeeee step above, a veritable statesman compared to Trump. The point being, if you know your audience, you will understand why you are getting negative feedback from your posts.

    Good work and good use of the English language!!!!

    • #29,

      Thank you for the offer of a challenge but clearly your insults to me and all the other Disabled Veterans on this site are weak and not really worth my time.

      Wikipedia Defines Internet Troll as: “In Internet slang, a troll (/troʊl, trɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[2] or of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion,[3] often for the troll’s amusement.

      Thank you for the fine example of a troll’s comment that you have posted here #29. You were able to do it without mentioning one single word on topic. Just like you did when you used the name Rick and D. But you did slip up and almost said something on topic when you posted as John.

      One question though how much are they paying you to troll disabled Veterans at this site?

      Were most of your post while you were on Official time?

      • Sorry I forgot to add something and I don’t want you to feel neglected. I know how a little moronic trolls mind works. So here are the words you have been waiting for.

        Hillary lost so go lay down by your dish and be a good little snowflake and melt quietly.

      • @seymour
        What’s with this troll business?? You have been a long time contributer to this site and often you make great observations and persuasive arguments. But, too often you drift into petty-petty land.
        Goodnight. ❄️❄️

      • #29 LOL. Petty-petty land. Damn. You are a control freak. Drift not veterans else be chastised by a typical Hillary devotee. LOL. The same phony the VA staff told us to support like Obummer. “Vote Democrat for better health care.” Oh my, it’s never going to end or get better. The Obummer chant is coming back into my mind now from the VA herd… mmm mmm mmm Barack Hussein Obama – mmm mmm mmm sang the toddlers in his presence… mmm mmm mmm. barf barf barf. Wish the VA staff with their ear-buds in would have kept their big mouths shut and didn’t sing along with that crap in public… in a VA hospital.

    • @#29
      Thank you for the support. I don’t always understand the reactions of others, and maybe it’s not my responsibility to. I contribute what I think others may benefit from hearing. As you see, sometimes my words aren’t received well. I don’t anticipate this stopping me from adding to the discussion. Some people won’t appreciate what I have to say. My message isn’t intended for them. I maintain that I’m not a political participant. Simply stating that automatically makes me a target for reprimand. Still, I communicate because I find meaning in doing so. If my stance serves as ground on which others can stand, I’m in good company. If not, I at least hope they don’t litter while visiting my intellectual property.

  21. #29 lefty and Hillary lover.
    “I find your comments helpful, knowledgeable and OBJECTIVE” ???????? OGUR12IC.

    You must work at the VA too.

    Generalize, try to hit us all with a broad brush like Democrat/Marx/socialist do constantly. Think you like ‘it’ knows everyone and everything about us out here while pretending to be perfect in commie land? You fools think people like me are satisfied with war mongering, flip-flopping Trumpster and his nepotism? Then try to turn a board into solid politics and jam it up with leftist commie shit? Anonymously? Pussies. (no offense meant ladies.)

    This board can show and reveals many things and issues. A main one is politics and activism, special interest groups, then at the VA Antifa shit, BLM, LaRaza, Azteca, Marxism, “vote Democrat for better care,” etc., hate towards White people, ad infinitum…does not belong in the VA but is filled with it. Union shit should not take precedent over health care. Illegals should not take priority over vets either but do. Right along with the cacophony of other bull crap we deal with. Both parties have had control and in the White House. Hmmm anything change??? Who is being censored mostly? Who is doing anything about it? What are all those commie colleges doing…needing safe spaces from truth and reality. Get real. Anyone still playing the right/left political party paradigm game while vets die, suffer, are terrorized, while our country is being invaded, perpetual wars, corrupt to the core, no real media, censored, thinking Hollyweird knows best… should wake up. The true priorities should be a simple task to list for Americans, vets, and concerned citizenry to do. Minus the brain-washing and social engineering.

    Hell, you hard lefties like the ones who control and encompass my town totally are fun to read. I am very accustomed to BS, propaganda, Marxism, Draconian ways, fascism, no media, etc.

      • Memories, memories. Yep, “1984,” Fahrenheit” book burning movie, Zappa 1970s. Meet PC-ness, fascism, censoring, corruption of today. Days of pondering in my boat at the river. Getting hit in the gourd/brain with words like – The final product of advanced civilization is corruption and death. Of course people thought I was nuts and total pessimist, or hater of humanity. lol Perhaps I was Zappa influenced, born pessimist and natural non-conformist. I would enjoy what he and others from back then would have to say about contemporary life in modern America.

  22. @T
    You had several misconceptions of my post, that I would like clarify:
    1. I don’t work for the VA
    2. I don’t consider myself a leftist or Marxist
    3. I am not a Hillary lover, the only reason I voted for her was because she was running against a moron (or as Rex Tillerson said ‘a fucking moron’).

    The reason I visit this site is that Ben is articulate and devoted to veteran causes and the visitors to this sight are in the same boat as me: a service connected disabled veteran. As such, I belief that the government owes me. They owe me not only my monthly check, but also quality health care and even more. This site offers veterans the opportunity to learn from Ben’s education and experience and from other veterans who have been through the system. The comments and contributions to this site by veterans such as “just passing through” are nuggets of knowledge that are important to all veterans when dealing with the VA. Just ranting about the va or name calling contributors because they have a differing perspective is counter productive to getting results.

    Have a good night🙂

    • #29
      Then direct some that to your buddy who is more tactful in his patronizing but should be more discerning about some of his pretentious long-winded dissertations. Also odd how some here keep using words like ‘rant, whine, or thinking we do nothing else but want some kind of victim status like the left uses. Vets don’t have the right to vent, release or rant??? Or don’t care to suffer those who quickly show zero respect but demand it all apparently? Side stepping some issues when asked or used when challenging…. those activist or union members? Who wants to totally control just who on forums and in real life? Don’t say we out here are the ones creating ‘chaos’ when others, or newbies bring it in or because we may not agree one hundred percent on things. But that is the right – left way of things isn’t it?

      I am not out here anonymously either like you and it. Some of us have been terrorized, still are, after leaving the scum sucking corrupt VA, and ruined for life because the VA circus maximus and both goddamn political parties. With their crap and retaliation being far reaching. More than you or JPT could even imagine. Then as usual try to tell others how to write, speak, feel, disallow rants, whatever? Give respect and freedoms get the same. Attack in any slick manner expect to get it back. He draws his unionized lines in the sand, and so can we, or me. As stated before, great chat board to mirror how it is in real life when dealing with people, union members, lefties, neocons, multi-flavored activist, militants, whatever.

      Glad you’re here and find some things useful. Keep posting.
      You have a good night too. I can’t.

      • @T
        Too cowardly to mention me by name, I presume your continued use of splattered diarrhetic gibberish aimed at me is meant to cause some reaction. You may see my direct reply to your linguistic circus feats located above, as I’ve nothing further to contribute to your brand of buffoonery at this time.

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

      That fucking moron as you call him is doing wonders for the economy isn’t he?, unemployment down to levels not seen in over 18 years. Ya fucking moron, he is working wonders in all aspects, and every day he makes the fake new look like the moron you think him to be, compared to the real fucking morons, Clinton, who really did grab her by the pussy, and Odumbo, who not only pushed the largest debt in the history of the world on our great grand kids, but also released prisoners back onto the battlefield to kill more of our men, and gave 150 billion to Iran, so they could continue to kill our soldiers as well.

      Thats right, the great Odumbo who illegally targeted the leader of a sovereign nation (Libya) in violation of NATO treaties. The same Odumbo, who has set the middle east on fire, way more then moron Buch ever could. Odumbo who has also set this country back into the stone age. Preceded by Bush the fake conservative.

      By the way, I am a cave man, so I know what the stone age looks like. Not to mention the how stupidly he acted when opening his mouth over the cop and professor incident, indirectly cause the assassinations of two Dallas police officers, and directly involved in the assassination of a border patrol agent ala fast and furious………….YOU FUCKING MORON.

    • Well @29, I guess we can see exactly WHO was the ….in your words… “a fucking moron” and it clearly wasnt Trump as he is sitting in the WH right now and Hillary is running around trying to give every damn reason she can think of (up to over 62 excuses now) as to who to blame and why she lost. The reason she lost is NOBODY LIKES HER! DAMN even the Democrats are telling her to go away and forget her way back! The Obamas refuse to even talk to her now and they went clear back to 2010 and DELETED ALL the emails and tweets and facebook messages from her or to her. Donna Brazille has turned on her and Democrat Chairman Perez wont even allow her on the property.

      But I cant even see why you or Rick or John would even TRY to slide politics into this. Its all about how the VA is treating Vets because of the way some of the Union members are acting. And before you say anything, I retired from a UAW shop and I didnt tolerate their BS in the slightest. Did that make me popular with the Union officials? NOPE and I didnt give a shit. In fact when they didnt do their jobs, because of my actions and complaints I filed with the international against them; well over 30 stewards and Committeemen LOST their positions and had to go back on the line. And that INCLUDED the Chairman and Vice Chairman of that Union shop.

      I am sorry, but I have very little patience for fools morons and jackasses. Lord knows I was one in the past and will most likely be considered one in the future; but I DO NOT try and make it my permanent address. SO please, if you will be so kind…DO try and stay on topic.

  23. Trump’s latest order puts new rules on VA clinicians’ union work
    By Susannah Luthi | June 1, 2018
    Modern Healthcare

    “http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20180601/NEWS/180609984”

    It is a long article and surely does contain some amazing information. Including the fact the House and the Senate are preparing to pass a new bill for President Trump’s John Hancock shortly. That will be much tougher than the current Executive Order regarding Official Time.

    Here are a few quotes from the article:

    “Veterans service organizations are staying quiet about the executive order, but some Senate aides are privately sounding notes of caution.

    One Senate staffer said it’s up to the VA to soften potential harm for VA clinicians during the order’s implementation. The policy could make it more difficult for providers in states where a single union member represents all the surrounding VA medical staff and may not be able to handle all the grievances filed. The order also bars staff from using office space within VA centers to do union work.

    The order isn’t a new idea. Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) sponsored a bill that would essentially codify into law a stronger version of the official time curbs included in Trump’s executive order so they hold past the current administration.

    Arrington’s bill, already passed out of the House VA committee, would block medical clinicians such as nurses, physicians and anyone making more than $100,000 per year from using official time at all unless they receive a waiver from the VA secretary. All other employees could only spend 25% of their time on union work, similar to Trump’s order. The VA would have to start tracking employees’ use of official time as well. The upper chamber’s companion bill by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) doesn’t allow for a waiver.”
    ______________

    “On a grand scale, the numbers can look diminutive. The VA health system has about 80,000 clinicians nationwide, about 60,000 of which are nurses. Official time accounts for about $32.5 million in salaries as of fiscal 2017, according to data from the Government Accountability Office. This was up from about $22 million in fiscal 2016.

    But in a few cases a single VA medical facility — Tampa, Fla. and Milwaukee, Wisc. — had more than 20 nurses at least working part-time on union business. The money diverted to official time was also significant for individual VA centers. Boston’s VA health system paid three nurses working 100% official time salaries ranging from $115,000 to $138,000.

    Nursing staff — registered nurses, practical nurses, staff nurses and nursing assistants — accounted for majority of the medical employees working on official time. Salaries of the registered nurses frequently range above $100,000 per year and were as high as $142,000 in 2017. The salary of one physician who reportedly spent 100% of her time on union work in fiscal 2014 and 2015 was more than $212,000.”

    _________________

    “The GAO data does not break down how many hours per day VA employees who didn’t work 100% official time spent on union business versus VA business.

    Although nurses make up the majority of medical staff working official time, the GAO data shows that physicians, psychologists and dentists, as well as pharmacists, addiction therapists, caregivers and technicians, have been working full-time on union business.

    In total, GOP House VA committee staff project Arrington’s bill would limit official time for almost 840 VA employees, more than 481 of which were working 100% on union business. The number of staff working on official time grew by nearly 90 from fiscal 2016 to 2017.”

    _____________

    “The union also opposed the recently passed VA Mission Act, which consolidated all the community care programs in the VA under VA Choice and expanded eligibility for veterans who want to seek care from private physicians or hospitals.

    “This will create many opportunities for VA to privatize care,” said Marilyn Park, AFGE’s lobbyist for VA issues.

    Park worries that the order, combined with the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act signed into law last year, will drive medical staff away and make the VA health centers less competitive with private providers as the expanded VA Choice program rolls out. Reporting requirements that make complaints against a clinician public can be career-destroying, she said.

    “This is the latest but not the first attack on licensed medical professionals,” Park said. “You can risk destroying their careers as they can be accused of things they get reported for. It has direct effect of access, safety and quality of care.””
    ______________

    Great article well worth reading.

    On a side note – Marilyn Park, AFGE’s lobbyist for VA issues that is quoted in the last quote from the article saying ” “You can risk destroying their careers as they can be accused of things they get reported for. It has direct effect of access, safety and quality of care.”

    Your right Marilyn, when clinicians do things they can get reported for it can destroy their careers and should destroy them. Also Marilyn is right about bad doctors being reported for bad doctoring will have a direct effect on safety and quality of care in a big way. It will improve safety and quality of Care for Veterans.

    But she is wrong about the access thing where she claims reporting bad doctors will have a big effect on Veterans access to VA care. Because the AFGE members will still be slow walking and losing the Veterans Choice paperwork and payments.

    • Great find Seymore. And here I thought those mentioned in the article was Po People to hear their gossip and not being able to afford to live very well.

      I also see why one civvy dentist told me they’d never work for the VA. It would mean them losing about 3/4 of income they have, or she made presently.

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