Ohio senator says VA workers doing union work should be filing veterans’ claims


U.S. Sens. Rob Portman and Tom Coburn say they want to know why the Department of Veterans Affairs pays employees to perform union duties instead of official government work.

Portman, R-Ohio, and Coburn, R-Okla., say they’re concerned about the backlog of claims, and say they want the VA to clarify policies for union employees of the VA. The VA between January 2012 and February 2013 has had 188 employees work on union work who could’ve been processing veterans’ benefit claims, they said.

In their letter, sent to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, they say that allowing veterans to do union work on taxpayer time does little to help eliminate the backlog. You can read the full letter here.

“Federal employees not serving veterans during official time could lead to the failure of VA’s top goals and the well-being of those who have sacrificed in the service our nation, could be compromised,” they wrote.

They sent Shinseki a series of questions, including statistics on how many employees did only union work, what those duties entail and how the agency evaluates such employees for its performance.


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