VA hospital workers from across Kansas, Missouri rally in KC to address discrimination

Problem Solvers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — FOX4 continues to follow developments and complaints surrounding the Kansas City VA Medical Center.

Union workers say the issues are not isolated to solely Kansas City.

“I have seen and heard a lot, but VA management doesn’t care about safety of employees, whether it’s mold or systemic racism,” AFGE Local 85 President for the Leavenworth VA Jennifer Gum said.

Gum stood beside fellow union workers from not only in Leavenworth but also St. Louis and Poplar Bluff, Missouri.

The group is demanding attention from the regional director at VA Heartland Network Leadership in downtown Kansas City who oversees conditions of sites in Missouri and Kansas. Rally-goers are demanding improved COVID-19 protocols, as well.

“The people who can fix all this are sitting right up here. None of us should be dealing with it, and it can be fixed with a snap of a finger or a flick of a pen,” Shaun Givens said. “We’re trying to fight for the employees, but if there’s no accountability for them, they are just going to keep doing whatever they want to do.”

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver joined members of these Missouri and Kansas VA unions protesting widespread racial discrimination and safety hazards at local and state facilities.

“I am really, really upset we can’t get the VA to respond at all, and they are not even responding to government,” Cleaver said. “They are all well aware the fact that there are serious problems here. Maybe that’s why I haven’t been contacted.”

Cleaver said he’s teaming up with two senators to address what’s going on before Congress.

“Hang in there. We have heard your cry, and we are going to respond your cry,” Cleaver said.

He’s also planning a meeting with President Joe Biden to discuss the various concerns.

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