Members of the American Federation of Government Employees, veterans and others will rally Wednesday in Minneapolis as part of a nationwide effort to beef up staffing at Veterans Affairs facilities.
The rally will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20, at the VA Medical Center light rail station near Minnehaha Ave. and Veterans Dr. in south Minneapolis.
Currently, more than 49,000 positions are vacant at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country. The openings include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals and other essential caregivers. The Denver hospital, for example, has some 600 unfilled positions, leaving employees overworked and veterans with longer wait times to get treatment, according to AFGE.
In addition to Wednesday's action in Minnesota, rallies have taken place or are scheduled in dozens of communities across the United States.
“Veterans around the country are being forced to wait longer for care,” said AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. “Working people at the VA are struggling to do their jobs while staffing shortages are at near dangerous levels. And Congress is busy self-congratulating themselves for making it easier to fire civil servants at the VA – one-third of whom are veterans themselves.”
The administration and Congress’ slow response to filling the vacancies is also seen as an attempt to break the VA system to make way for more privatization.