|The relaxed, but professional, atmosphere of the Winpisinger Center provides the ideal atmosphere for sharing ideas during the new Veterans Affairs Training Program.|
The Veterans Affairs (VA) Training Program is the newest class for federal workers offered at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center, and is designed to give NFFE-IAM representatives the resources, education and support they need to serve members employed by the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department.
“This pilot class for our VA local and national leaders was a much needed addition to the other federal sector classes conducted at the Winpisinger Center,” said NFFE-IAM Federal District 1 Secretary/Treasurer William D. Fenaughty. “We will continue to refine our educational offerings and we look forward to scheduling this program again in the near future.”
The program focuses on the unique challenges facing members and representatives in the federal sector, with an emphasis on issues faced by members providing VA health care and services.
“After 33 years of federal service and 12 years as President of Local 1, I thought I knew everything about the VA,” said Local 1 President Patricia La Sala, RNMS, of San Francisco, CA. “This class proved me wrong. The VA is a unique organization where laws, rules, and regulations drive our life. And it is our union that makes sure it is a safe ride.”
Among the issues addressed during the week-long program were dispute resolution, grievance handling, rights and responsibilities of union representatives, presenting effective proposals and proper local lodge administration.
“This empowering course was presented with graduate level information presented at layman’s level,” said Louisiana Local 1904 Steward Vickie Charles. “All union stewards would benefit from attending.”
“Federal workers in the VA provide some of the most important services in all of government,” said IAM Government Employees Director Frank Carelli. “The laws that govern their wages, work rules and representation rights are quite different from the rules covering workers in the private sector. It’s very appropriate that we develop educational programs that focus on their unique needs and circumstances.”