“If your voice held no power, they wouldn’t try to silence you.” The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) reports that critical voices like Dr. Michelle Washington’s or AFGE Local 2028 President Kathleen Dahl’s “were so powerful the status quo wanted to shut it down.” If VA employees had not spoken out, says AFGE, “more veterans would have died from a severe shortage of mental healthcare providers and the Legionnaires outbreak that VA employees exposed.” Their union, AFGE, stood behind them and fought for their right to do their jobs serving veterans. But that’s about to change if certain members of Congress get their way. The Official Time Reform Act of 2017 would severely restrict workplace rights for federal workers, and would financially penalize union reps who volunteer to help their coworkers. “This means whistleblowers and other frontline employees may not get the protection they need when they try to do their jobs, and the American people, including veterans, will suffer,” says AFGE. The bill passed in a House committee earlier this month, but it will have to pass both the full House and Senate to become law. Read more here.
DC LABORFest 2021