Due to storm damage, the Manhattan VA Medical Center will be closed for the rest of the year resulting in VA workers being forced to use heroic efforts to get to work.
George Jones, President of AFGE Local 2094, and Nicos Hadjiangelis, President of AFGE Local 2695, have said that with the closure of the Manhattan VA facility, many employees are working out of the Brooklyn VA and some are working at other local centers, including those in the Bronx and St. Albans.
This means that VA workers must make an extra effort to get to their newly assigned and farther out VA facilities, despite the fact that many are facing power outages and property losses at home. Jones said that increased travel time to get to and from work can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours for some employees.
Concerns of the membership include transportation issues like the increased cost and time needed to travel to other locations, conflicts related to accommodating for child care changes and family commitments and uncertainty as to how long they will be displaced from the Manhattan work site.
In terms of transportation, there is currently a shuttle running between the Manhattan and Brooklyn facilities to transport employees and veterans. Both Locals have been in meetings with the Manhattan VA director to discuss issues affecting the employees and the plans for re-opening the facility. There have been talks about establishing a shuttle between the Brooklyn train stop and the Brooklyn VA. Currently employees and patients have to walk about 15-20 mins to get to the facility if they take public transit. The shuttle between the Manhattan VA to the Brooklyn VA is expected to end this week.
These employees are facing serious personal hardships as they deal with issues getting to and from work, damage that may have been done to their homes and the loss of electricity.
Bureau of Prisons
UPDATE: Right now, normal operating procedures at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan and the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn are being disrupted due to staff difficulties getting to and from the facilities because of power loss at their homes and the loss of personal property, including vehicles, from flooding. Both facilities are getting ready and bracing for the next storm.