WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Neal Dunn (FL-02) introduced H.R. 4503, the VA Workplace Integrity Act, to combat the use of financial incentives to pressure federal employees into joining unions. The VA Workplace Integrity Act protects Veterans Affairs employees from undue financial manipulation stemming from labor unions.
Currently, new hires to the Department of Veterans Affairs are often approached immediately by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) union representatives and offered $100 dollars cash to join the union on the spot. This undue influence combined with the pressure to join an organization during the first few days of employment make it difficult for these public servants to make informed decisions about union membership. Dunn is joined by Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) who is an original cosponsor of the legislation.
“Manipulating new federal employees at the VA to join a union with a $100 bribe as they walk in the door is unethical. Federal employees should have the freedom to choose whether or not they join a union and participate in union activities on their own accord. The undue pressure and financial commitment associated with joining a union is something that should not be taken lightly,” said Dr. Dunn. “This legislation will prohibit the practice of using financial incentives to secure new memberships, allowing employees at the VA the time and space to make an independent decision on their individual union participation.”
“It is shocking to learn that AFGE offers VA employees $100 in cash during new employee orientation if they agree to join the union on the spot. Rather than trusting VA employees to make decisions for themselves on the basis of facts, AFGE uses financial manipulation to strong-arm them instead. That is ethically questionable at best and I applaud Dr. Dunn for introducing the VA Workplace Integrity Act today to put a stop to it,” said House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Ranking Member, Dr. Phil Roe.
“I am grateful to support Representative Neal Dunn, who has taken a leadership role on behalf of American workers, as an original cosponsor of the VA Workplace Integrity Act. Veterans Affairs employees should not be pressured by financial incentives to join labor unions, this inappropriate practice must end,” said Congressman Joe Wilson.
Earlier this month, Dr. Dunn wrote to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie urging the VA to investigate the practice and its legality. Along with the financial manipulation involved with these practices, under the Department’s current collective bargaining agreement with AFGE, employees are only permitted to opt out of paying Union dues once a year during a 10-calendar day period near their anniversary. This complicated process makes it difficult for employees to stop paying dues and does not take into account that employees’ personal circumstances may change and they may need to use their dues for more important things like the birth of a child, medical expenses, or other necessities.