BILOXI, Miss. (WXXV) — Members of the American Federation of Government Employees are rallying outside the gates of the Biloxi VA Medical Center to highlight what they say are “unsafe work conditions.”
Protesters gathered at both the Main Entrance and Hiller Park Entrance of the medical facility to demand that management do more to protect veterans and VA staff from COVID-19.
AFGE said in a press release that VA management can help prevent the spread of coronavirus by, “giving employees proper personal protective equipment (PPE), allowing telework for all those who can to minimize contact, giving weather and safety leave for those exposed, providing clear communication and training for all employees and more.”
AFGE says all rally participants will be at a social distance from one another to ensure safety.
This week, the American Federation of Government Employees National VA Council, which represents over 265,000 VA employees, released a national petition calling on the Department of Veteran Affairs to provide PPE, telework options, weather and safety leave, hazard pay, testing and better communication, training and planning.
The fourth mission of the Department of Veteran Affairs is to serve as a backup hospital system in the case of national emergency.
Already in New York, the Department of Veteran Affairs has announced they will open up hospital space to civilians, as hospitals overflow with coronavirus patients.