A handful of employees of the Denver VA participated in a rally on Wednesday to call for the immediate filling of more than 49,000 Veterans Affairs job vacancies nationwide.

With so many vacancies, they say veterans are being deprived of the health care they've earned.

VA employees say current staffing levels are creating risks to patient safety and a hazardous work environment.

Wednesday's rally, held in from of the medical center, was meant to raise awareness of the vacancies and increase pressure to fill them.

"Employees, they're basically, they're overworked. And we need to fill these positions," said Bernard Humbles the president of AFGE Local 2241.

The rally was organized by the American Federation of Government Employees, the nation's largest federal employee union.

It represents 670,000 workers in the federal government, including 250,000 VA employees.