Nurses Continue to Provide Care at Veterans Administration Medical Centers Despite Payroll Snafu
Call on Secretary to Provide Back Pay Immediately and Suspend Use of Flawed Payroll System Purchased from Private Contractors
Registered nurses and other care providers at ten Veterans Administration medical centers in New York, West Virginia, Illinois and Colorado were unpaid or underpaid during their last pay period ending October 25. The payroll errors occurred when the VA’s new payroll system, VATAS, went into effect in these states.
The nurses, represented by National Nurses United, filed a grievance with the Department of Veterans Affairs as soon as the errors were discovered. The grievance calls for the VA to “immediately suspend the use of VATAS” in the units represented by NNU, and to suspend plans to roll the system out in more VA hospitals until it “can be proven to consistently work as marketed.”
Since the grievance was filed the VA has agreed to revert to the old payroll system in New York, Denver and West Virginia facilities only. The VA stated that it would pay nurses who had not been paid anything at all during the last pay period “within 48 hours.” While some of these nurses have now been paid, others have not. The process for repayment to RNs who were underpaid remains unclear and the VA hasn’t committed to any timeline for repayment.
NNU is also calling on the VA to pay the RNs what they are owed immediately and to make available to RNs letters of responsibility that the nurses can use with creditors.
“I have a mortgage and utilities bills that are due and the shortfall in my paycheck is making things very difficult,” said Sam Aldi, an RN at the Manhattan VA. “Despite the serious problems not getting paid has caused us, my colleagues and I continue to come to work and provide quality care.”
"Since I began working for the VA several years ago, this is the first time that I have not gotten paid on time or received a proper leave and earnings statement. I support improving the hospital’s systems but in this case the VA did not plan sufficiently,” said Nikki McGann, an RN at Bronx VA Medical Center. “The new system had kinks that should have been investigated before it went live; especially since folks' finances are at stake,” McGann said.
RNs will leaflet today 8-9am and 12-1pm and throughout next week outside the VA Medical Center in Manhattan, NY at 423 E. 23 St. This afternoon, nurses in Martinsburg, WV will leaflet outside the medical center at 510 Butler Avenue. They will be distributing flyers that say “When will we get paid?” and asking people to call Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki and “tell him RNs and other caregivers who take care of our country’s veterans need to be paid now!”
The payroll problems are occurring in VA medical centers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Albany and Buffalo, NY, the Chicago VA medical centers, Edward Hines, Jessie Brown and Captain James A Lovell Federal Health Care Center, and centers in Denver, CO and Martinsburg, WV.
VATAS causing big problems (URGENT RN ACTION NEEDED)
Posted October 29, 2013