89.1 WEMU

Ann Arbor VA Hospital Employees And Supporters Picket To Keep The Hospital Open

Jun 23, 2016

A veteran holds up a sign during the informational picket outside of the VA Hospital in Ann Arbor.
Credit Jorge Avellan

Close to 100 Ann Arbor VA hospital employees and their supporters held an informational picket outside the hospital.  They are trying to prevent VA hospitals from being closed.

 


The hospital in Ann Arbor would not be the exception if it's decided at the federal level to close all VA medical facilities.  Protesters lined-up along Fuller Road with signs that read "Do not shut down our VA."  They wanted to inform the public about the possibility of the hospital closing. 

Ozzie James is the president of AFGE Local 2092.

"Unemployment will go up drastically should it happen right here in Ann Arbor.  Ann Arbor, we have a base of employment of about 2,100 employees."

Robert Williams is a work leader for the hospital's food service department.

"I don't think that privatization would be able to deal with the veterans as efficiently as we could."

Army veteran Calvin Johnson agrees with Williams.

"These people are empathetic to us because they know about us, they know what we've been through and their care is totally different from an outside organization."

Privatization is being considered after outside health advisers recommended it as an option to improve veteran health services.  

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— Jorge Avellan is the Ann Arbor beat reporter and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News.  Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him javellan@emich.edu