TOGUS – Physicians and dentists at the Veterans Administration Medical Center are joining the local union.
“I never thought in all my years at the VA that I’d ever see physicians joining a union,” said nurse Helen Hanlon, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2610.
Doctors voted 27-3 earlier this month to join the union. About 10 have joined so far.
The Federal Labor Relations Board last week confirmed the Dec. 6 vote.
“The one burning issue for
me is that being part of the union will enable doctors to have a greater say in patient care,” said Dr. Neal Anderson, a psychiatrist and internist at Togus for 10 years.
About 300 Togus employees are dues-paying members. The bargaining decisions affect about 800 VA workers.
Jim Simpson, the medical center’s spokesman, said he expected the development to have positive results.
“I don’t think it was a real surprise to us. We have a real good working relationship with the union,” he said. “It’s another communication channel.”
The 40 physicians and dentists at Togus were able to join the union and pay dues before the vote.