By Vickie Thomas

DETROIT (WWJ) – Dozens of union members at the Detroit Veterans Administration Medical Center protesting what they call unfair practices. Also among the grievances: Some probationary workers claim unwarranted firings happen out of the blue.

Richard Dickerson was part of the protest at the John Dingell VA Medical Center where members of the American Federation of Government Employees – Local 933  were protesting what they say are unfair labor practices.

“Well, I’m hoping with these signs and working with the AFG (American Federation of Government Employees) Union – things would be different here in the VA – and it’s not just my department – it’s other people’s’ departments too — co-workers as well,” said Dickerson. “I think this will help – it needs to be known.”

“It’s like a culture here at the VA, especially here at the VA, were they want to just misuse the employees — to their means, to see whatever results they want. It’s like disposable employees basically,” said Benjamin Mayhen, president of Local 933.

“I was also terminated during my probationary period,” said one protester. “Today would have been my one year anniversary. My last day was 30 days ago – 30 days before my termination I was at work. She called me into the office and said I have papers for termination and I feel like it’s retaliation because during the week she wrote the letter I was going to the union concerned about some issues in the department.”

A spokeswoman with the VA says that leadership continues to work with the union. She adds that the protests are a concern and they’d like to get to a place with the union where there is no need for protests.

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