A Florida congressman is looking to ensure that unions can’t offer financial incentives to recruit federal employees working for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Last week, U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., introduced the “VA Workplace Integrity Act” which, he insists, will help “combat the use of financial incentives to pressure federal employees into joining unions” and protects VA employees “from undue financial manipulation stemming from labor unions.”
Dunn noted representatives from the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) often try to enlist new VA employees with “$100 dollars cash to join the union on the spot" which makes “it difficult for these public servants to make informed decisions about union membership.”
At the end of last week, Dunn, who served in the Army and currently sits on the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee, weighed in on why he had brought out the bill.
“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 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,” Dunn added.
Dunn reeled in U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-SC, to cosponsor the proposal.
“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 Wilson.
While he has not signed on as a cosponsor, U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., who leads Republicans on the Veterans Affairs Committee, said he backed the proposal.
“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 Roe.
Last month, Dunn wrote U.S. VA Sec. Robert Wilkie on the matter, calling on him to look into AFGE’s efforts.
The bill was sent to the Veterans Affairs Committee last week. So far, there is no counterpart over in the U.S. Senate.