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AFGE Local 3306 Joins OFFE 2008
Quest for Mandatory Funding

March 29, 2007

The members of the Canandaigua VA American Federation of Government Employees Local 3306 voted today to align themselves with OFFE 2008 and their demand for guaranteed "Mandatory Funding" for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The AFGE Local 3306 represents 200 of the Professional and Para-professional staff at the Canandaigua VA in Upstate New York.

Annual funding has been a problem for the VA since the 1990's  when VERA (Veterans Equitable Resource Allocation) was adopted by the VA to allocate funding for the department. Money was siphoned out of the northern states causing over a decade of cuts in services and programs.

Canandaigua is one of the VA's hardest hit by those cuts losing the majority of its inpatient services, both medical and psychiatric over the years. It has seen its Intensive Care Unit, Medical Unit, Emergency Room and most recently its Acute Psychiatry Unit fall victim to budget shortfalls.

Last month the union local joined forces with AFGE Local 400 from Fort Drum in Watertown, NY calling for a restoration of Acute Psychiatric Services in Canandaigua due to the return of our soldiers to Upstate NY from assignments in Afghanistan and Iraq. By DOD estimates up to 30% of those soldiers will need some type of mental health care upon their return. The loss of Canandaigua's services has and will cause a crisis for them and the community.

AFGE 3306 has called on its sister organizations to join them in a united call for Congress to stabilize funding through a Mandatory Funding Bill that will enable the Department of Veterans Affairs to guarantee that all veterans will be able to depend on Quality Healthcare that is easy to access nationwide.

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