VA Medical Center Employees Protest for Fairness in Workplace

Va Protest

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Julia Smith

Protestors met in a parking lot adjacent to the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center over the weekend ready to fight for justice.

VA employees said their main purpose was fighting for answers and fairness in the workplace.

Nurse Practitioner Juanita Jamison Morgan is an employee at the VA and said there have been multiple occasions where potential job opportunities were not presented to certain employees.

Morgan said in some cases qualified nurses were not offered promotions.

“No one cares that we are equally as qualified as our white counterparts, and we are not asking for special treatment. We just want equal treatment,” Morgan said.

Like Morgan, Registered Nurse Akeba Vester-Bell is a 28-year Army veteran who is still currently serving.

Vester-Bell said she feels she and other Black nurses are not given the same opportunities as their white co-workers.

“We are not offered the same job opportunities and growth that some of our counterparts have,” Vester-Bell said.

President and CEO of Southern Christian Leadership Conference Charles Steele Jr. led the peaceful protest in hopes of solving the problem that was originally brought to his attention months ago.

“The first of this year, I have been working to resolve this matter and I am not trying to motivate a march, I just want to solve the problem, ”Steele said.

WVUA 23 did receive a response from a representative of the VA Medical Center. It says:

“Tuscaloosa VAMC has asked SCLC multiple times for details regarding the issues it is alleging and outside of less than 10 routine personnel complaints- most of which have already been resolved or are unsubstantiated.– SCLC refuses to provide any specifics.

Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center stands ready to look into any of these issues right away but so far, SCLC cannot provide details that would allow us to do that.

The Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center is proud of its diverse and inclusive culture, and the facility does not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind in fact, two-thirds of its workforce is made up of minorities including the associate director”.

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