It has recently been announced that the VA will no longer utilize the expedited firing process in regards to senior executives after constitutional questions were raised by the Justice Department. Congress has made attempts to apply this process to the full Veterans Affairs workforce, yet NFFE doesn’t represent SES members. This is a major achievement in the fight to protect VA Senior Executives rights. It also suggests that the DoJ is finally taking charge and stopping Congress from destroying federal employee due process protections.
The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act was quickly passed in 2014 following the Phoenix VA scandal. Concerns about how legislative language had expedited the firing process for Senior Executives. A 2015 hearing on the subject concluded that the process may hinder employees from properly defending themselves. At this time is was suggested that such measures were unconstitutional.
Regardless of the warning, Congress has continued to use the same expedited firing language to VA employees. Direct care workers providing services to veterans and rank-and-file medical professionals had nothing to do with the VA scandals. NFFE represents some of the most dedicated VA employees in the federal workforce, many are veterans. It makes no sense for rank-and-file VA employees to be subjected to expedited disciplinary actions.
Luckily the battle has been won through the efforts of NFFE-IAM members who were determined to make it happen. Recent legislation has been halted regarding the erosion of due process protections for VA workers.VA employees should work under the constant fear of losing their jobs.