Caring for Veterans for $500 a Week


Have you every worked 16 hours in a row? Have you done 16 hour shifts every other day or every 3rd day? Would you like to keep that up for 7 months straight? That is life as some care staff know it at King Veterans Home located about 30 miles Southeast of Stevens Point near Waupaca.

Twenty-five staff spoke-up about conditions at the King Veterans Home at a listening session for the public on July 26th at their union hall. This morning one of the staff members, Sara Goodhue, was put on a “disciplinary track” for speaking to WTDY recently about staffing and care conditions. AFSCME’s Marty Biel told me about the matter by phone this morning: “This was on her private time. … They are sending a message to the workers: we will discipline you for speaking”

“I wonder if they [other workers] are going to be singled out for speaking out on the conditions on their own time?”

These people should be paid like basketball players and treated like rock stars. In a world in which we truly value the service of veterans, in a world in which we truly value hard work, they would be.


4 thoughts on “Caring for Veterans for $500 a Week

  1. Gee, you mean the invisible hand has no place for those who served their country? Oh, that’s right, it’s too busy handing out tax breaks to the Koch brothers…

  2. Not surprising.
    My sister was a civilian nurse at the naval hospital in Charleston SC. She could not work overtime but the enlisted staff were forced to work overtime all the time. She tried to work overtime to help out but no go…No fairness for those in active service or retired!
    After Katrina, VA hospital employees got no slack at all to deal with things -and were assigned to other assignments immediately and had to go there or lost their jobs…
    One of our VA docs (who has a joint appt with LSU) took vacation time from the VA in Houston and drove to the temporary med school set up in Pennington Res Center in Baton Rouge every friday for his heme lectures for 1 month and then drove to NOLA to deal with his flooded house and family/kids in high school on the weekends and then back to Houston for Mondays. One of the good guys…

  3. For those in the lower wage brackets but get decent benefits, the actual cost of benefits can amount to 50% of the actual wages. So getting time and a half overtime is a break even deal.
    Of course, that is ignoring employee burnout, likelihood of medical errors and lack of skilled observation because the employees are run into the ground, cost of recruiting and replacing employees (with the national shortage of skilled nurses, including LPNs, the low wages will only attract those who want to work there for other reasons). If they go to more than time and a half, they loose money on overtime versus having more staff.
    Temps may sound good with no cost for benefits, but expect high turnover meaning the staff spends more time in training (if the temps don’t stay there for a years worth of employment ( 40 hrs x 50 weeks = 2000 hrs) then the cost of training them in the local proceedures and layout can easily be more than anything they might save. Short term solution only.
    But by giving the temps choice of shifts, they very likely have alienated the staff leading to poor morale and possibly shoddy work.
    Very short sighted indeed.
    I notice in the article that the VA sec for WI has sent a communique to Walker saying that everything is OK. Wonder if there is any bias there.

Comments are closed.