1 min read

Season 4, Episode 162

Six-year journey for a new contract ends as AFGE and VA agree to terms



Guest Name:

Colin Barrett

Guest Website:





Guest Social Media:


The National Representative for the American Federation of Government Employees National VA Council, Colin Barrett, appeared on the America’s Work Force Union Podcast and discussed the union’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the VA and the six-year journey to earn the contract.

Barrett has spent 14 years in the VA, all as a member of the AFGE. He joined the VA after college and worked his way up to the National VA Council as a National Representative. The job market was not ideal when Barrett came out of college, so he sought the security of a federal job. While the job is not easy, he said the mission of the VA makes the harder days worth the struggle.

In 2017, the master contract for the National VA Council was opened by the Trump administration. They wanted to negotiate the entirety of the 300-plus page contract. After negotiating for 66 percent of the next year, they had yet to make it halfway through the contract, said Anderson It was at this point in 2019 that the employer asked to stop negotiations and have the Federal Services Impasses Panel (FSIP) step in, which resulted in a 2020 decision to impose the VA’s anti-worker proposal. 

The AFGE refused to ratify the FSIP contract and entered into federal mediation until President Biden was elected. In 2021, Anderson explained a  global settlement reset the previous negotiations, and both parties returned to the negotiating table in March 2022. As the talks took place, the AFGE was twice forced to file NLRB charges for bad-faith negotiations, which Barrett outlines more in the interview. Finally, in recent weeks, the two sides agreed to a new CBA, and AFGE members have since ratified the new contract.

To learn more about the new contract for AFGE VA workers, press play.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Auto Workers, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.


Group 342

Group 341

Group 398

Group 343

Group 339

Group 397