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Union members to picket outside VA hospital

The president of a government employees union says promised changes to the Department of Veterans Affairs have not materialized.  American Federation of Government Employees Local 2031 president Charles Smith says members will demonstrate outside the VA Medical Center in Corryville Friday, calling for increased staffing and better working conditions.

In July of 2014, Congress approved a $16 billion increase to the VA’s budget, to answer criticisms that the department was not providing adequate care to veterans.  The reform package included $5 billion for hiring more VA doctors, nurses and other medical staff and $1.3 billion to open 27 new VA clinics across the country.  The legislation was also supposed to make it easier to dismiss hospital administrators and senior VA executives for negligence or poor performance.

But Smith says nothing has changed in Cincinnati, despite the local ties of the new VA Secretary, Robert McDonald.

“We have not seen the changes outlined in last year’s VA legislation take shape in Cincinnati,” Smith says.  “It is time for management at this facility to make good on its promise and fully support the services America’s veterans deserve.”

The demonstration will be from 11:30 to 1:30, at the corner of Vine and Nixon Streets.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.