Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Overtime demand at VA draws criticism

Posted By on May 3, 2011, 6:59 PM

In the face of an increasing backlog of disability claims from veterans fresh from Iraq and Afghanistan, the secretary for Veterans Affairs, Eric K Shinseki, has mandated 20 hours overtime a month in Utah, leaving some VA employees unhappy.---

Nancy M Jones, president of AFGE Local 2199, wants to know why the order, apparently issued on April 7, was mandatory rather than voluntary. The overtime order is for five months and will, she says, create problems and hardship for employees who have to juggle responsibilities outside of the VA with their day-to-day work.

The order applies to the Veterans Benefits Administration and the Medical Center on Foothill Drive. "Overall our culture is composed of dedicated employees wanting to serve veterans, but they are struggling," under the new productivity demands, she says. 

While she applauds the desire of the VA to grapple with a backlog which will no doubt only continue to grow as more and more Americans return from the Middle East, it seems it's the lack of choice that she finds most frustrating. In particular, people who recently hired on for 40 hours a week, she continues, now face mandatory overtime, "and that bothers me."  

The Veterans Affairs' communications department in Washington D.C. did not respond for a request for comment.

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