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Detroit VA Hospital 'Like A Third World Country' Claim Protesting Workers

DETROIT (WWJ) - Outraged over what they say are unfair and poor working conditions, employees at Detroit's John Dingell VA Medical Center are rallying for change.

A group of about 100 workers and supporters protested outside the hospital on Wednesday.

"This is like a third world county here," said Benjamin Mayhan, president of American Federation of Government Employees, Local 933. "You have managers who are very hostile towards employees of the union. We have a situation where we went to management several times; it's not been abated."

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(credit: Vickie Thomas/WWJ)

Also among the grievances: Some probationary workers claim unwarranted firings happen out of the blue.

"What they'll do, they'll have employees work for most of their tenure, and then in the last hours — the final hours — they'll send them home, they're terminated for no reason...or they'll have a pretty flimsy reason for doing it," Mayhan said.

One of those fired employees, LPN Darlene Nolan, believes management retaliated against her as a whistle-blower.

"During my time here I was reporting patient abuse and neglect with other nurses and nursing assistants," she told WWJ City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas.

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(credit: Vickie Thomas/WWJ)

"The type of neglect would be they weren't changing the briefs, leaving them in dirty, soiled briefs, causing bed sores...not helping patients into their bed when needed because they're amputees, their legs," Nolan said. "They can't get into bed so we have to help them to get into bed."

A spokesperson for the medical center says leadership has always worked closely with the union and meets with union representatives often to discuss any concerns. She added that they are committed to providing excellent care for their veterans.

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