Walter Reed employees moved to Bethesda without adequate parking, transportation plan
The American Federation of Government Employees is voicing its concern over the lack of progress in securing parking for thousands of Walter Reed Army Medical Center employees who have been transferred to the new Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda.
More than 6,600 employees work at the new consolidated medical center, yet there are parking spots for less than 3,000 employees. Parking spots were assigned based on so-called priority status, meaning most of the spots went to doctors, military members and licensed practitioners. This has unfairly harmed the vast majority of support personnel who are essential to ensuring patients receive quality care.
“Everybody needs to be able to get to work. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they do,” said Dwight Bowman, AFGE National Vice President for the 14th District, which represents affected employees in the greater Washington region.
Many of those affected work in support positions such as housekeepers, ambulance drivers, lab technicians, food services, administrative and maintenance workers. Many must report to work long before bus or train service is available.
AFGE is exploring several options to provide additional off-site parking to employees who would then be shuttled to and from the new Bethesda site and has also reached out to congressional leaders for support.
The consolidation in Bethesda was mandated by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure plan. Several other BRAC relocations have resulted in similar transportation issues that have yet to be resolved.