According to the Pentagon at least 10 percent of returning reservists and national guardsmen and women have reported problems with their jobs, lost pay, demotions, loss of employment altogether after deployment. This despite the fact that they are protected under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, which guarantees their jobs upon return. A 60 Minutes piece tonight detailed this growing problem citing employment lawsuits pending against Wal-Mart, UPS, and American Airlines, among others.
And with regular deployments for guard and reservist platoons now scheduled for every five years, 1.2 million guard and reservists, 45 percent of the military, are now in regular rotation. Military leaders are calling this a more appropriate use of military services, in other words, a bargain. Business owners in turn are asking why they should be heavily subsidizing the military. Really this is another way of outsourcing our military. This time it’s the businesses employing the reservists who are footing the bill for non-full time warriors who need to come home to benefits and open jobs deployment after deployment. Without a draft, and unless we’re going to turn over operations to Blackwater, such outsourcing is becoming the norm in our deficit- and war-ridden situation.
Still, if you are a national guard or reservist and you are having a problem with your employer, the assistant secretary of defense, Thomas Hall, pledged on 60 Minutes tonight that he’ll see to it that your case gets the proper attention. His number is 703-697-6631.