SCLC supports local union members in grievances against the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center

Dr.Charles Steele protesting at VA Medical Center

Special to the Democrat by John Zippert,

Dr. Charles Steele, Jr. President of the national Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) from Atlanta and Tuscaloosa SCLC leaders joined with disgruntled employees of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Tuscaloosa to voice their grievances against the management of the facility.
SCLC President Steele is a former resident of Tuscaloosa, who served on the Tuscaloosa City Council and as a State Senator representing Tuscaloosa in the Alabama State Legislature.
Steele joined union leader, Dr. Juanetta Jemison-Morgan and others at a press conference on Sunday, October 11th in front of the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center to explain their complaints. The union employees have returned each Sunday afternoon to march and protest at the VA Medical Center.
Ms. Jemison-Morgan, head of the National Nurses United local, said, “We are hard working employees of the facility but we feel qualified Black employees have been denied proper promotions and advancement. We also feel new positions are not posted properly for current employees to apply for positions. Less qualified persons have been employed over persons who were working, because of race, and then asked to help train the newly hired staff members.”
“We face racism in this Federal VA employment system and we face a shortage of supplies and other complaints. The supervisors have referred to the em0loyees as ’slaves’ which is unacceptable at this time in history. We demand that John Merkle, Director of the Tuscaloosa VA facility and David Carden, Director of Nurses be removed and replaced for their discriminatory practices and actions,” said Jemison-Morgan.
Steele pointed out that employees have been assisted in filing individual complaints of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) but because of a “culture of racism in this Federal medical facility, SCLC has become involved and is raising these issues with the Regional Veteran Administration officials in Atlanta. We are trying to negotiate an equitable settlement.”
Ms. Jemison-Morgan said, “We will continue marching every Sunday until our grievances are settled and our demands are met.”

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