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Legislative Updates

House passes VA Employee Fairness Act

Yesterday, in a 219-201 vote, the House passed the VA Employee Fairness Act (H.R. 1948). This bipartisan bill would give collective bargaining rights to Veterans Health Administration employees, who include nurses, physicians, dentists and physician assistants who care for veterans.

Currently, these employees are hired under Title 38 of the U.S. Code, which prohibits collective bargaining for these workers. H.R. 1948, introduced by House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-CA), would remove this ban that affects nearly 100,000 employees.

“For our country to ensure that veterans receive the highest quality treatment, we must treat VA frontline healthcare workers with the same level of dignity and respect as other federal healthcare workers,” RepTakano said. “Throughout the 117th Congress, this Committee prioritized providing veterans with the healthcare they earned, and we are reinforcing that by providing VA's frontline workers, who wholeheartedly provide critical care for veterans, with the workers' rights they deserve.”

“NALC is pleased to see this bill pass in the House,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “The expansion of collective bargaining rights in any craft is a win for all working people. These federal healthcare workers, who provide critical care for our nation’s veterans, deserve the right to bargain for a fairer and safer workplace.”

The bill must now be approved in the Senate. With limited time left in the 117th Congress, it is unlikely to receive a vote in the Senate. 

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