Protesters asking for more protective equipment at Biloxi VA Medical Center
This morning protesters stood outside of the Biloxi VA Medical Center asking for changes for their employees.
The protesters are asking that the VA Medical Center provides their employees with personal protection gear. Some employees say they are assigned only one surgical mask per day and in some cases one mask per week.
Rally participants are also asking that the VA allow telework for anyone who is able to do so in order to minimize face to face contact, provide safety leave for those exposed to the virus, and provide clear communication and training for all employees. AFGE Local 1045 President John Mechanic said, “Not only do employees risk the chance of exposure, passing it on to other veterans, they are taking the same mask and going from one room to another. That cannot be good for our veterans.”
Navy Veteran Alvin Brown said, “One of the main reasons we are here is to bring awareness to personal protective equipment and having precisely and exactly what we need and more of it because it is really crucial and having just a little bit now and then. One mask, one PPE mask administer per week is just not good enough and it kind of gives a red flag to are you actually being safe when you don’t have enough of what you need.”
News 25 reached out to the Biloxi VA and this is their response to the protest: “The Biloxi VA is equipped with essential items and supplies and we are continually monitoring the status of those items to ensure a robust supply chain. The Biloxi VA is using PPE in accordance with CDC guidelines and all employees have the appropriate personal protective equipment, PPE, as per those guidelines. Biloxi VA staff are performing amazingly well during this challenging time. We thank and salute those on the front lines of this battle.’