November 28, 2014

Scocos refutes union claims regarding veterans home

The head of the state’s veterans agency is refuting claims made by a state employee union, regarding the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King. The allegations are made by Marty Beil, executive director of the Wisconsin State Employees Union, AFSCME Council 24. “There currently is over 40 vacant positions of direct care staff, which is incredible, given the fact that the facility is full,” said Beil. “For the next 30 days there’s 970 shifts of overtime, without one sick call-in. Which means that people are working 16 hour days, at least every other day, most likely every day, without a day off.”

“AFSCME Council 24’s allegation of chronic staff shortages that threaten the quality of care at the King are a hundred percent false,” said Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary John Scocos. He said the union “should be ashamed of its repeated attempts to politicize veterans issue.”

“We believe King veterans home is at a crisis stage,” said Beil. The union will hold a listening session for King employees next week. “Our union up there has attempted to talk to them, to see if here’s some way that we can deal with this incredible issue of double-shifting people. There’s no discussions.”

Scocos characterized employee morale at King as “very good,” and said that, as of July 30th, there will be only 18 direct care positions, or fewer than four percent, open at King, out of a total of 494. He said less than one percent of King’s direct care staff have been forced to work three additional eight-hour shifts a week in the past three-month. “We fully understand that forced overtime has many negative impacts for the department,” he said.”When an organization alleges that we are purposely making decisions that would compromise that care, we do not take this likely. We have great people working for us, who are providing excellent care.”