12:00 – 1:00 p.m. CT, Monday October 3, 2016
Milwaukee Veterans, VA Employees Hold Informational Picket Outside Sen. Ron Johnson’s Office
AFGE members and union employees picket Johnson’s support of privatizing key health services
Milwaukee VA employees and local veterans held an informational picket to raise awareness of potential VA hospital closings proposed by the controversial VA Commission on Care. The picket took place outside of Sen. Ron Johnson’s office at the Federal Courthouse. 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. Where: Federal Courthouse, 517 E Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Speakers: Will Fischer, AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council, and Dan Bukiewicz, Milwaukee Building & Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO, and local veterans.
A letter to Senator Ron Johnson outlining statements from various veterans groups, detailing his anti-veteran supporting voting record and public statements concerning his privatization agenda was signed by those present and delivered to Senator Johnson’s staff by Veterans Gregory West, who served 2 tours of duty in Vietnam and patient at the VA for 44 years; Joe Junemann, President of AFGE Local 0003, which serves veterans at the VA; and Michael Balistriere, USMC Veteran and AFLCIO Community Services Liaison here at the Milwaukee Area Labor Council.
Read a copy of the letter:
AFGE outlines where we are at now and why privatization is wrong:
- THE FIX WAS IN: With four high-level hospital executives and two board members closely-aligned with the Koch Brothers fake veterans group, it’s no wonder the Commission turned their report into a windfall for big hospital corporations.
- BETRAYAL OF VETERANS: Veterans didn’t sign up to go overseas and defend this country only to have their government betray them with substandard care at profit-hungry private hospitals.
- LOWER QUALITY CARE: Though the Commission admits that VA health care is better quality than the private sector in most areas, they nonetheless advocate sending millions of veterans into a private health care system where only 13% of mental health providers meet all readiness requirements to treat veterans/military. No one knows veterans like the VA.
- LESS INTEGRATED CARE: Today veterans can walk into any VA hospital and seamlessly access integrated primary/specialty care in addition to financial, education, housing, vocational, and other benefits. Shifting their care to fragmented private providers means more than just dangerous gaps in their treatment, but missed opportunities to get a job, earn a degree, or end cycles of addiction and homelessness.
- SECRETIVE BOARD: Turning over decision-making power to a secretive, out-of-touch, corporate-style board of directors will add an expensive and unnecessary layer between veterans and the health care they earned. The lack of accountability is an insult to every veteran in this country.
- Garry Augustine, Executive Director, Disabled American Veterans
- Sherman Gillums Jr., Executive Director, Paralyzed Veterans of America
- Bill Rausch, Executive Director, Got Your 6
- Dr. Tom Berger, Chair of the Veterans Health Council with Vietnam Veterans of America
- Jackie Maffucci, IAVA Research Director
- Ruth Browne, Veteran and VA Nurse Practitioner, Gainesville, Florida
- Joshua E. Ulibarri, Partner at Lake Research Partners
AFLCIO recommends Russ Reingold for U.S. Senate. Russ has been a friend of labor and has watched out for veterans for many, many years.
Learn what vets and workers think from the rally at the VA in June 2016: http://wisaflcio.typepad.com/…/2016/06/keep-the-va-open.html
Learn about Johnson’s terrible record on *supporting* #veterans from VoteVets.org :