Milwaukee area VA workers and local veterans rallied in downtown Milwaukee today to raise awareness of potential VA hospital closings proposed by the controversial VA Commission on Care. They were joined by local union members standing in solidarity for a strong VA. The picket took take place outside of Sen. Ron Johnson’s office at the Federal Courthouse. Sen. Johnson, who is being challenged by Russ Feingold this November, has voted against properly funding the VA and has proposed the privatization of the Veterans Health Administration.
Joe Junemann, AFGE Local 0003 President, spoke to the rally, explaining that “shifting our care to a private system means fragmented care, gaps in treatment and missed opportunities to help our veterans. I interact with veterans daily, talking about the care they receive, no one knows veterans like the VA. It’s time to tell Congress, privatization means inadequate care. Not in my VA.”
All independent assessments agree that the VA’s health care is best for veterans on both cost and quality. Veterans themselves overwhelmingly want their health care to come from the federal government, not private hospitals. Every single Veterans Service Organization outside the Koch Brothers-backed sham group is opposed to privatizing the VA.
“Veterans and veteran groups stand in chorus to denounce the idea of privatization,” said Will Fischer, Marine Corps veteran and Executive Director of the AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council. “Privatization is just another way of politicians saying they are ready to let their billionaire buddies make a profit off caring for our veterans. There’s work to be done, improvements to be made, but we’re moving in the right direction.”
“Donald Trump denounces Gold Star families, dodged service, says that veterans with PTSD ‘aren’t strong’ and that he always wanted a Purple Heart. He is anti-veteran and anti-working class. Ron Johnson voted against funding for veteran education benefits, he voted against funding for veteran healthcare benefits, Ron Johnson voted against veteran job training benefits. Russ Feingold and Hillary Clinton have always stood with veterans, they have always had our backs and will continue to stand with veterans and have our backs when we elect them in November.”
Veterans have earned the right to receive first-rate healthcare, good job opportunities and quality education and training. Hillary Clinton and Russ Feingold have a plan to help veterans. Cast your vote for veterans and working class families on November 8, 2016.