Atlanta VA Health Care System
Atlanta VA kicks off new Civility in the Workplace
Speaking in front of a large group at the Dec 9 Employee Town Hall meeting, Atlanta VA Medical Center Employee and Labor Relations Manager Kevin Jones encouraged the audience to embrace the facility’s new Civility in the Workplace policy. Jones’ presentation was the kickoff for a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of creating a culture of civility and respect among employees by focusing on the VA’s core values: Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence.
“ICARE should always focus our actions on our mission of caring for our Veterans and remind us of the standards of behavior expected of all VA employees,” said Jones.
The presidents of the medical center’s three unions expressed their support of the policy. While voicing his approval, Roosevelt Davis, President National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 2102, told the audience that the policy does not eliminate current labor/management processes and procedures.
“First and foremost, I want you all to understand that this policy does not override your rights as an employee and our ability to protect those rights,” Davis explained, who has served Veterans as a pharmacist at the medical center for 17 years.
JoAnne Iyamu, President American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2778, said the policy is a good example of senior management and union leaders working together to improve the Atlanta VA environment.
“Civility is important for workplace morale and productivity and it benefits our Veterans when we have a workplace that enforces and embraces civility,” Iyamu noted.
As President of the Atlanta chapter of National Nurses United, Cynthia Edwards believes that creating a culture of civility and respect among employees is critical for the Atlanta VA Medical Center’s long-term success.
“If we are truly to become a model of ICARE, all of our employees need to get to a point to have the courage that when we see an act of incivility, we go up quietly to the person who committed the act of misbehavior
and remind him or her that this is not the way we conduct ourselves at this medical center.”