Workers from Wisconsin's Department of Veteran Affairs were joined by veterans, patients and concerned citizens for a rally outside the Zablocki VA Medical Center to call on Congress to “Keep its Promise to Veterans” and reject the Commission on Care. The Commission on Care proposes to privatize and close VA hospitals across the country over the next two decades.
Workers from three unions who represent VA workers such as doctors, social workers, housekeeping, nurses, physical therapists and more professionals are coming together to raise their voices for top quality care for all veterans who have served our country.
George Koernea, a Vietnam and Korean War veteran joined the rally because “every veteran, we deserve the best care and we are not going to stand by and let the VA become privatized, no way. The compassion and care that VA staff show us patients is unparalleled and we will fight any privatization efforts.”
Walter Growth, commander of the City of Wauwatosa Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1465 worked at the VA for 40 years. “What they are trying to do is not a fair thing for our veterans. This is one of the best VA’s in the country and privatization will absolutely lower the quality of care our veterans receive.
Congress' misguided VA Commission on Care has been rigged against veterans from the start. It is stacked with for-profit, pro-privatization hospital executives who have called for shutting down VA hospitals and selling out veterans’ health care and good jobs to the lowest bidder. Veterans overwhelming prefer the VA for their health care.
Greg West of Milwaukee, who served two tours of duty in Vietnam and has been a patient at the VA for 44 years stated, “this VA does not need outsourcing or privatization. What it needs is full funding and full staffing so the nurses and doctors and everyone from hall cleaners and food worker can do their job and continue to provide high level care. It is darn good care here. We’re ready to stop Ron Johnson and anyone else who wants to privatize the VA.”
Workers who work at the VA are represented by the American Federation of Government Employees Local 0003, the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals – AFT, and the Service Employees International Union and have dedicated their lives to providing quality health care and assistance to our veterans are standing together to urge lawmakers to keep the promise we’ve made to our veterans for their sacrifice.