Milwaukee area 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 and endorsed by Senator Ron Johnson.
Senator Ron Johnson, who has voted against properly funding the VA and has proposed the privatization of the Veterans Health Administration, is being challenged this November by Russ Feingold. Working families are supporting Feingold for a strong VA. Russ is ready to stop bad trade deals like the TPP, work to raise wages for working families, and support strong unions to rebuild our middle class and combat income inequality.
Iraq War veteran Gwen Sheppard spoke to the rally in support of a strong VA. “When I came back from serving my country, the VA was the place for me. Going to the private sector was not an option. They don’t know how best to treat and diagnose patients coming home from war with our unique concerns and issues. The patience, care and treatment we see at the VA does not happen in civilian hospitals.”
Ms. Sheppard continued, urging action to keep the promise to veterans by fully-funding and staffing the VA.
“We need everyone to write, call, email their Senators and Congresspeople and tell them it’s a bad idea to privatize the VA. To privatize is to make it about money, not about veterans. I served my country. Give me what I’m due.”
VA employees and members of AFGE Local 0003 rallied outside the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center on National Ave Friday night and were joined by AFGE District 7 National Vice President Dorothy James, AFGE Chief of Staff Brian DeWyngaert, Local 0003 President Joe Junemann, WI AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Stephanie Bloomingdale and Milwaukee Area AFLCIO Community Liaison and USMC Veteran Michael Balistriere.
Dorothy James, AFGE District 7 Vice President, fired up the rally. “We’re here and we’re ready to fight to the last drop to stop privatization. It’s simple – fully fund and staff the VA. It’s the Koch Brothers who are behind these privatization efforts. They are trying to line their pockets, get their money. The focus of our VA should be quality patient care, not profits.”
Around the country, AFGE members are showing they stand for veterans by rallying against privatization of the VA. [- Wisconsin AFLCIO]
For more information or to be part of future rallies, contact:
Mike Balistriere, USMC Veteran
United Steelworkers (USW), AFL-CIO Community Liaison MALC AFL-CIO
- 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
Facebook: Milwaukee Area Labor Council
Use the tag #SupportOurVeterans to see social media threads from previous rallies.