If President Barack Obama wants to cut federal expenditures, one vocal labor union of nurses says, he should start by “ending the costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq once and for all” instead of freezing the wages of front-line nurses in the Veterans Affairs system.
Nurses union decries Obama wage freeze
National Nurses United, whose 160,000 registered-nurse members include 7,000 Veterans Affairs RNs, blasted Obama's announcement of a two-year wage freeze for all nonmilitary federal workers. Freezing the wages of 2.1 million federal civil employees is projected to save about $5 billion over two years.
NNU co-president Jean Ross said in a news release that the cuts would make recruitment efforts of VA nurses even more difficult, adding “salt to the already festering wound” of the Obama administration's sustained opposition to expanding collective-bargaining rights for VA nurses.
The wage freeze is rankling Obama's political base. The United American Nurses and the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, forerunners of the NNU, endorsed Obama for president over Hillary Clinton in 2008.
Healthcare's largest union, the Service Employees International Union—which also endorsed Obama over Clinton in 2008—declined to comment on the pay freeze or on NNU's statement.
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