Issued September 12, 2019
Coming on the heels of a lawsuit they filed several weeks ago, today members of SEIU Local 200United who work at Veterans Health Administration hospitals in New York filed a motion to block new Trump administration rules that would rewrite labor laws and hurt their ability to improve care and advocate for the veterans who rely on them. The motions can be viewed here.
SEIU Local 200United President Scott Phillipson pointed out that these VA Hospital workers focus in bargaining on making sure they have a voice with management about how best to care for their patients in their facilities. “We focus on resolving issues and making the VA the best it can be for vets. Crippling the nurses, police, janitors, and so many others’ unions would only hurt the VA and its promise to those who served,” said Phillipson.
The motion to block these orders is based on a number of challenges, including that the Trump Administration is trying to issue new regulations without giving the public a chance to comment on them, as all new rules require, and that the orders actually direct federal agencies to violate the law, including the Federal Service Labor Management Relations Statute that was written to protect federal employees. Congress enacted this legislation to insulate federal employees from the political whims of any particular administration, so that government works by and for the American people not for the particular political party that happens to be in power.
SEIU Local 200United and SEIU are seeking to block the orders on behalf of federal employees in Buffalo, in Canandaigua, and across the country who would be affected. “This hits home with me,” said Advanced Medical Support Assistant Denise Wilson from the Buffalo VA Medical Center in New York. “We need to protect the rights of employees who help veterans who have sacrificed everything under the sun to protect the civil liberties and freedoms we enjoy every day.”