VA employees demand agency to fill thousands of vacancies

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A few dozen workers held a rally Tuesday outside the Fresno veteran's affairs hospital -- claiming care for veterans has suffered because there are not enough workers to cover the thousands of positions needed across the country.

"This has always been an issue. It's just taken till now to bring it to public light," said Fresno Union President Jacob Dunn.

The union that represents VA workers says there are about 49,000 vacant positions nationwide and the shortage can be found in a long list of job titles.

"We're talking janitors, custodians, social workers, nurses, doctors every single position. There's vacancies that shouldn't happen. How can any company operate when they're not fully staffed," said George McCubbin.

The VA hospital in Fresno employs about 1,400 people as of Tuesday there were 17 job postings on the agency's website.

VA Central California health care system disputes the union's nationwide number of vacancies but did release this statement: "We're always looking for qualified medical professionals to fill positions that meet patient needs."

"You take a location like here in Fresno. It means everything one or two more doctors a handful of nurses a couple more social workers--that just means they're able to take care of our veterans even better," said George McCubbin.

The union has organized similar rallies at several VA facilities across the country in recent weeks, with the hope of grabbing the attention from members of Congress.

"The struggle we normally see is getting folks in the door getting seen and sometimes getting reimbursed but across the country, we've been hearing stories about the VA. We have passed some legislative and more funding some more dollars towards them," said David Valadao.
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