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Attack on Due Process for Indian Health Services’ Workers Adds Insult to Injury

Washington, D.C. (July 8, 2016) – Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – made the following statement today on Senate Bill 2953 introduced by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and John Barrasso (R-WY):

The so-called IHS Accountability Act of 2016, unfairly targets the rights of Indian Health Service (IHS) employees, most of whom are enrolled tribal members who use IHS services for themselves and their families, by mandating new policy which arbitrarily rushes the due process procedure for employees. The proposal adds insult to injury by robbing employees of a fair hearing while failing to address chronic understaffing and mismanagement at the agency.

This misguided legislation sets an arbitrary deadline on the appeals process for both the worker, who will go without pay during this process, and the Merit Systems Protection Board, which would be forced to make a final decision regardless of whether their deliberation and consideration of evidence was complete.

LIUNA is proud to represent many thousands of IHS employees, who work with great dedication to care for the sick, and strongly urges the Senate to oppose this bill and instead work on real reforms at IHS to help both its employees and patients.