Union rally held in Iron Mountain to push for more VA hiring

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IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) - The march was put together by the American Federation of Government Employees. The AFGE is the largest union that represents federal employees with just over 700,000 members.

The purpose was to bring awareness to what marchers view as neglect on the part of the veteran's administration. They say the V.A. is not hiring people to fill open job positions throughout the administration and it's effecting the level of care veterans are receiving.

There are 58 such positions in the Iron Mountain facility alone according to union members.

Adam Hays is a veteran who works at the medical center and says he sees the problem first hand.

"In my position as recreation therapy assistant I see my fellow workers, the nurses specifically, getting run down, getting burnt out, getting hurt because they are exhausted from working so much and covering other people's shifts."

Hays says that he want to see action taken to make the V.A. fill those vacancies and he want to see his local representatives take action.

"I think Jack Bergman would be the one that I'd like to hear from but more so I'd like to see results rather than just hearing from him."

Hays says he'll believe something is being down when he sees the jobs being posted.

As of this afternoon the V.A. has released the following statement in response.

"As of June 30, 2017, the Department of Veterans Affairs had just over 34,000 vacancies total. VA’s Veterans Health Administration is the largest integrated health care system in the nation, and VHA’s vacancy rate is about 9 percent, less than half the vacancy rate for private sector hospitals, which trend near 20 percent. But we’re always looking for qualified medical professionals to fill positions that meet patient needs."

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