The crowd of American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) delegates in town for their union’s 1,000-person legislative conference, joined in exuberant chants, and waved signs proclaiming “Hire – Don’t Fire!” “Privatize = Promise Dies” and “Proud Vets Serving Vets”. At least one-third of VA’s workers, if not an outright majority, are veterans themselves...click below to read more
The outsourcing plan pushed by the billionaire Koch brothers and other corporate interests is the first step, the unionists contend, to privatizing all veterans care, and degrading it in pursuit of profits.
Campaigning against the privatization plan, which the GOP calls “choice” in its budget for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, was a key cause of the legislative conference delegates as they hit Capitol Hill after the rally and march.
“Three hundred million Americans” are on the VA workers’ side, declared Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a former Senate Veterans Affairs Committee chair. “This is about providing care to veterans, the elderly, the poor and the sick.”
“The administration wants you to believe outsourcing means medical care is being done more efficiently and more economically. The only ones who will benefit are those with their hands out,” said AFGE VA Council President Alma Lee. “The federal government should never be turned into a private corporation.”
- Mark Gruenberg, PAI News; photos by Keith Mellnick