The American Federation of Government Employees – the union representing Veterans Administration workers – used the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to call for the hiring of more employees.
“Our rank-and-file members have sounded the alarm on poor management practices and inadequate staffing time and time again,” an AFGE press statement read.
But a review of data published by the Office of Personnel Management may indict both management and the union.
In 2011 – the last year the office published such numbers – employees of the VA reported spending 998,483 “official” hours on union business. That is to say, they spent taxpayer-funded work time furthering their union’s objectives instead of serving veterans.
Remarkably, that was a 23.3 percent increase over 2010’s 809,740 hours.
The VA employees far-and-away spent the most official time on union business of any federal agency. The next closest was the Treasury Department, which includes IRS employees. Those employees racked up 625,704 hours that year.
Perhaps if the VA wants to get serious about “understaffing,” it can divert some of those taxpayer-funded union hours to actually helping veterans.