Our Veterans Deserve Better

October 1, 2013

Dear AFSCME Members:

Governor Rick Snyder and the Michigan Legislature have decided that our veterans – those who put their lives on the line to protect our freedom – are not worth the price of decent care.   After replacing experienced, well trained, caring residential care aides at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans with privatized J2S Corporation poorly trained, inexperienced, poorly paid workers – those same veterans have once again been put in harm’s way, but this time the danger comes from the people we pay to take care of them as they try to deal with the wounds and illnesses we led them to as they protected our freedom.

Here are just a few of the examples:

  • A veteran was made sport of by J2S workers who repeatedly applied tape and ripped it off his face. The workers were not fired.
  • A veteran died from infection after being left unbathed and developing maggots, not once but twice in his diseased legs.
  • A veteran’s paralyzed legs were broken when his wheel chair was rammed into a door jamb.  He was then run over by the wheel chair and put to bed before the two bone fractures were discovered hours later.
  • A veteran died after falling from his bed after being left unattended at the bedside while a J2S employee (who trains other J2S employees) went for a lift to help transfer him to a wheel chair. He later died as a result of complications of a broken neck.
  • A veteran complained to a State LPN he had not seen his J2S caregiver all morning and was sitting in urine.  The LPN reported this about 10am.  During the second Med pass (12:30 p.m.), the State LPN went into the veteran’s room and the veteran was asleep still lying in urine.
  • A J2S caregiver was feeding the veteran lunch at the table in dining room and fell asleep with spoon in her hand while the veteran had his mouth open.
  • A veteran in his room. The J2S caregiver never checked on the veteran during shift. The veteran was found the following day with a black eye.
  • A veteran was left in the shower chair for over an hour by himself. Even the J2S supervisor was furious and was going to ensure the J2S worker would be fired.  Instead the J2S worker was assigned to train other J2S new workers and bragged that she was only reevaluated.  Training other staff is considered a promotion.
  • A veteran was punched in the stomach by a J2S caregiver. The matter is under investigation.  While Home’s Abuse Neglect Policy mandates Human Resources to investigate within 5 days, J2S workers are not State Employees, so the policy does not apply.

Many of the problems with J2S workers occurred as early as February during the transition from state workers to the J2S contract. The problems were brought to the attention of the Department and the Legislature but ignored. They continue and we continue to bring them to the attention of the Legislature and the Administration but are not corrected.

On Thursday, October 3, at 8 AM a Legislative subcommittee will hold a special meeting on the 4th Floor of the State Capitol. We hope the Veterans’ Affairs agency will tell us what is being done to protect our veterans. But we are skeptical as even a delegation of legislators was asked to leave when they visited the Home and all we have heard thus far are denials.

We should all be outraged by this mistreatment and the blind eye of the Administration. If you can attend Thursday morning’s meeting to express your outrage please join us. But if you can’t come to the committee meeting click below to contact YOUR state legislators and the Governor and tell them – OUR VETERANS DESERVE BETTER.



Michigan Council 25 AFSCME, AFL-CIO



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