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Strickland Sends Letter Defending VA Employee Rights

March 25, 2021

Olympia, WA— Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) sent a letter urging Department of Veteran Affairs Secretary Dennis McDonough to implement President Biden’s Executive Order on collective bargaining, which would allow VA employees the rights and abilities to organize.  This Executive Order repealed three Executive Orders from the previous Administration which limited collective bargaining, cut official time and prioritized employee firings and discipline.  President Biden’s Executive Order also directed agencies to revisit any actions they took to implement Trump’s 2018 EOs (Please find Strickland’s letter below and attached.)


March 18, 2021

The Honorable Denis McDonough 

Secretary of Veterans Affairs 

Department of Veterans Affairs 

810 Vermont Ave NW 

Washington, DC 20420 


Dear Secretary McDonough, 

Congratulations on your recent confirmation as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. I write to express concerns about the Department of Veterans Affairs continued delay in implementing President Biden’s Executive Order issued on January 22, 2021 on collective bargaining and called on agencies to “suspend, revise, and rescind” previous orders that restricted VA employees rights and abilities to organize. 

As President Biden noted in his order, “career civil servants are the backbone of the federal workforce, providing the expertise and experience necessary for the critical functioning of the federal government.” The executive order also noted that the federal government should serve as a model employer, one of the ways we can do that is by quickly issuing guidance that restores employees’ rights. 

I urge you to work with local VA units and labor to quickly implement the letter and spirit of President Biden’s Executive Order and ensure that our critical federal employees are treated fairly. 


Marilyn Strickland 

Member of Congress 

Cc: Kathleen McGettigan (Acting Director, Office of Personnel Management) 

Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland serves as a Member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. She is one of the first Korean-American women elected to Congress and the first African-American to represent the Pacific Northwest at the federal level.