Friday, May 30, 2014

VA Scandal Explained ... Public Sector Unions and Bureaucrats Run the VA Monopoly ... Veterans and Taxpayers Suffer the Consequences

Ever wonder why nonperforming VA personnel can't simply be fired for not doing their jobs?

Or why veterans can't go to other facilities of their free choice and be given vouchers to get prompt and adequate care when the VA is unable to provide it in a timely and patient centered manner?

Or why these common sense measures are frowned upon and openly opposed by the people who apparently run and work at the VA?

Or why compensation bonuses for VA leadership personnel are routinely awarded while employees lie about wait times and such?

Or why Democrats support the VA as it is and don't insist on employees being held accountable for gross negligence and shameful neglect of the needs of our veterans under their supposed care?

Well, wonder no longer, my fellow Americans. It's the government sanctioned public sector union officials who are in control of the politically motivated VA officials, and union leaders aren't primarily interested or focused on either (1) taking good care of patients, aka their veteran customers, or the bill payers, aka the citizen taxpayers.

Sadly for all of us, the government sponsored unions, with the active support of their Democratic party allies in Congress and at the White House, are obviously in this strictly for themselves and to hell with everybody else, including veterans and taxpayers alike.

Big Labor's VA Choke Hold is subtitled 'How Democrats put their allies before the well-being of veterans:'

"We know with certainty that there is at least one person the Department of Veterans Affairs is serving well. That would be the president of local lodge 1798 of the National Federation of Federal Employees.

The Federal Labor Relations Authority, the agency that mediates federal labor disputes, earlier this month ruled in favor of this union president, in a dispute over whether she need bother to show up at her workplace—the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, W.Va. According to FLRA documents, this particular VA employee is 100% "official time"—D.C. parlance for federal employees who work every hour of every work day for their union, at the taxpayer's expense.

In April 2012, this, ahem, VA "employee" broke her ankle and declared that she now wanted to do her nonwork for the VA entirely from the comfort of her home. Veterans Affairs attempted a compromise: Perhaps she could, pretty please, come in two days a week? She refused, and complained to the FLRA that the VA was interfering with her right to act as a union official. The VA failed to respond to the complaint in the required time (perhaps too busy caring for actual veterans) and so the union boss summarily won her case.

The VA battle is only just starting, but any real reform inevitably ends with a fight over organized labor. Think of it as the federal version of Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and other states where elected officials have attempted to rein in the public-sector unions that have hijacked government agencies for their own purpose. Fixing the VA requires first breaking labor's grip, and the unions are already girding for that fight.               

Federal labor unions are generally weak by comparison to state public-sector unions, though the VA might be an exception. The VA boasts one of the largest federal workforces and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki bragged in 2010 that two-thirds of it is unionized. That's a whopping 200,000 union members, represented by the likes of the American Federation of Government Employees and the Service Employees International Union. . . .

{T}he VA in 2012 paid 258 employees to be 100% "full-time," receiving full pay and benefits to do only union work. Seventeen had six-figure salaries, up to $132,000. According to the Office of Personnel Management, the VA paid for 988,000 hours of "official" time in fiscal 2011, a 23% increase from 2010.

Moreover, as Sens. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) and Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) noted in a 2013 letter to Mr. Shinseki, the vast majority of these "official" timers were nurses, instrument technicians pharmacists, dental assistants and therapists, who were being paid to do union work even as the VA tried to fill hundreds of jobs and paid overtime to other staff.

As for patient-case backlogs, the unions have helped in their creation. Contract-negotiated work rules over job classifications and duties and seniorities are central to the "bureaucracy" that fails veterans. More damaging has been the union hostility to any VA attempt to give veterans access to alternative sources of care—which the unions consider a direct job threat. The American Federation of Government Employees puts out regular press releases blasting any "outsourcing" of VA work to non-VA-union members.

The VA scandal is now putting an excruciating spotlight on the most politically sensitive agency in D.C., and the unions are worried about where this is headed. They watched in alarm as an overwhelming 390 House members—including 160 Democrats—voted on May 21 to give the VA more power to fire senior executives, a shot over the rank-and-file's bow. They watched in greater alarm as Mr. Shinseki said the VA would be letting more veterans seek care at private facilities in areas where the department's capacity is limited. . . . The union fear is that Democrats, in a tough election year, will be pressured toward reforms that break labor's VA stronghold."

Summing Up

The VA is a bloated and inefficient government run monopoly. No competition allowed.

And the public sector government supported unions are in control. Very much so. Because it's government funded, satisfying customers isn't even a small part of the equation.

Meanwhile, most of the Democrats in Washington are fully supportive of the situation as it exists. It's politics as usual.

So our so-called VA leaders have let the bonuses flow to undeserving and lying managers and have made sure that union officials have 100% of their compensated "on-the-job" and taxpayer funded time to do "union work" instead of doing the much needed patient centered work for veterans.

That simply means that deserving veterans and unsuspecting taxpayers have been a mere afterthought, if that, of the people who really run the VA.

Until now, that is. We the People are the ones really in charge, and now we're both informed and pissed.

That's my take.

Thanks. Bob.

No comments:

Post a Comment