The most fundamental promise given to any American fighting man is that after his/her tour of duty is up, they can return to their previous job.
They are supposed to be given all raises what would have happened in their absence and the seniority as if they had never left. The protections are even written in US Law.
What our soldiers are finding out is that these are empty and shallow words as more and more employers are finding out ways around the law. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act can't protect the returning soldier.
The US Labor Department has stated that the reports of violations are increasing to all time highs.
Jerry Chambers, of Oberlin, Kan. His job as a substance abuse prevention consultant was eliminated.
Ron Vander Wal, of Pollock, S.D. He was told his job as a customer service representative had been eliminated.
The statistics prove out what our soldiers are saying.
900 formal complaints a year before Sept. 11, 2001.
1,218 cases opened in 2002.
1,327 cases in 2003.
1,200 cases from Oct. 1, 2003 through July 31, 2004. And this is only half way through the fiscal year.
Some troops are bitter over their former employers firing them as they served their country. Most distressing are the complaints involved in the denial of benefits, promotions and raises. In addition, some of our Reserve and Guard troops that had been called to duty were required to use their time in a war zone as vacation days from their jobs.
One company, which I cannot name because of present litigation, told one of their managers, a reservist who has been summoned to active duty, that he had to make a decision between his job, and his reserve commitment. If the manager honored his call to active duty, he would be terminated for job abandonment. If the reservist failed to obey an order to active duty, he would have been tried for Desertion.
Has the moral fabric of the United States so disintegrated that in spite of the laws to protect our service men and women, the employer can do what they want?
The military complains about the declining enlistments in the armed services, but look at what the soldier faces when they return home.
Bush needs the military to do his dirty work, but he does nothing to say thank you and I will protect your rights when you return home. Bush likes to show his face to our troops and garner support for his latest military interjection – all smiles, all waves, and then nothing in return.
I will admit it this is better than returning home from Viet Nam – you got off the plane and you walked between two groups of civilians. One side of the line was civilians calling you cowards, traitors, and whimps. The other side calling you baby killers, butchers and murderers.
This is how we thank our service members here in America. Ain't it grand?