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VA Union president admits to racially inflammatory Facebook post

Investigations

Bay Pines employees are shocked by a Facebook post by their union president.

The bold red and white post reads; “F—ING WHITE PRIVILEGE.” It sat on Tatishka Thomas’ personal Facebook page.

Ms. Thomas, also known as Tatishka Musgrove, is the president of Local 458 of the American Federation of Government Employees. She represents more than 1,200 employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs facility.

Ms. Thomas admitted to Target 8 that “F—ING WHITE PRIVILEGE” is a post on her Facebook page.

Now some wonder if Local 548 equally represents employees of all races. 

Target 8 asked her what sort of message a post like that sends to white members of Local 548.  

“I cannot answer that question because I represent all employees regardless of color or their personal opinion towards myself,” Ms. Thomas said in an email.

We tried bringing employees’ concerns to the union’s national office in Washington, D.C. Our emails and phone calls to spokesperson Cheston McGuire went unanswered. 

At a local union rally, Target 8 caught up with AFGE national representative Leo Mentio and showed him the Facebook post.

“Oh my goodness,” responded Mr. Mentio.  

Had he seen it before?

“No I haven’t, this is the first time,” said Mr. Mentio. “I wouldn’t know if that’s actually authentic or not.”

We shared with him that Ms. Thomas confirmed it was hers.

In an email, she explained what prompted the message was the juvenile criminal justice system. She says while in court, she witnessed a Caucasian female “who should have been charged with three felony assaults.”  

She added, “her charges were continually dropped down to simple assault misdemeanors while African-Americans that were in court continually were charged with felony charges for marijuana possession and sent to JDC (juvenile detention center.)”

Tampa union president Wanda White thinks the post is inappropriate.

“It’s unfortunate that it played out on Facebook the way it is, but not all AFGE locals are like that,” explained Ms. White.

“It’s something that I can’t comment on because I don’t know anything about it other than what you just showed me just now,” said Mr. Mentio. 

Bay Pines would not address this on camera. Spokesperson Jason Dangel said they could not confirm the authenticity of the post and said the issue is under review. 

Tatishka Thomas agreed to an on-camera interview, but has yet to do one.

If you have a problem that you think should be investigated, call our Target 8 Helpline at 1-800-338-0808. Contact Steve Andrews at sandrews@wfla.com 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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