117. Businesses Abandon Veterans

Businesses forget their defenders

Dear Readers and Wanderingvets:

Sometimes, I find something so bizarre, ludicrous or just so sad I have to sit down and really think about its impact on all veterans, including homeless veterans.I was be-bopping around Seattle looking for additional work, as my current job is a little underpaying, at the moment. I went through some various stores with “Help Wanted – Apply Within” banners in their windows. After brief conversations with the store managers, I filled out the requisite applications. I was on my third application at a T.J. something store, when it hit me: none of the applications had the box that normally asked about Military Service or “Are You Presently in the National Guard or Reserves.” I am proud of my service, and have become accustomed to having to proudly fill out that I am an honorably discharged Army veteran, so I went and had a cup of coffee to think more of this. To say the least, my normally sunny disposition was beginning to sour.As I was sipping my 7-11 coffee while looking at a Starbuck’s sign (yes, Starbucks is still on the boycott list until they can clean up their actions toward the homeless), I began thinking of the importance of the missing box on the job applications. Taking my coffee with me, I decided to continue this new line of research.

I visited a few other shops, including a grocery store and sports retailer. Guess what? The same little box was missing. Now being level-headed at times, I decided to carefully evaluate the reasons for this:

1. I had to imagine, that in a sweeping wave of patriotism, all of the nation’s employers decided to legally protect themselves against everyone complaining about all of the veterans they were hiring. (Then I pressed ‘1’ for English and realized this was not so.)

2. Employers do not want to hire veterans when they get tax discounts for hiring those receiving welfare and other federal aid. (Hmmm…)

3. My next thought was, well maybe, if they leave this box off, and they hire someone in the Guard or Reserve, and it was sort of not disclosed due to the application, and the Reservist is deployed with their units, they (the employer) could hem and haw about ever re-hiring the Veteran (I think I was getting warmer).

4. Or, because a lot of the Veterans that are discharged from active duty are automatically discharged into the Inactive Reserve. So, asking about a discharge could alert them that this person could later join a reserve unit or be recalled individually; this then results in the re-hiring issue as in number 3 (warmer again).

5. Those employers nationally, by combining numbers 2, 3 and 4, are deciding to dance around Title 38 Chapter 43 of the United States Code, which covers the veteran’s right to re-employment as well as redress against employers. They are doing this by creating a “preemptive strike” to skirt the Veterans Re-Employment Act.

I will admit I was feeling a bit deflated at the end of my day. That now, of all things, in the year 2008, big business does not want to recognize if you are a Veteran. That now Veterans are a possible liability to Corporate America. I guess Veterans Day and Memorial Day should come off of most corporate calendars. Might as well keep the banks and schools open, too. Why not? Since one will no longer know if there are any vets in corporations anyway. I once thought that there was a reporting box on some diversity report somewhere to some federal agency.  One company I visited sent me away with their “Diversity Report;” I guess veterans do not count as a diverse enough group.
Anyhow…I feel that it is a sad condemnation that our veterans are being further lumped into the masses, and not given their honor and place in society that they have served to deserve. Veterans, through their service, have set themselves apart since the founding of this nation. Yet again, we find a way to stomp our veterans into a mud hole. Oh, we do pay them lip service during a time of popular and now unpopular war with yellow magnets on cars and hollow speeches; yet we allow our leaders and businesses to silently slide the blades of economic knives into their backs. We are creating a society where veterans have to hide their service, for fear of job discrimination. Isn’t this becoming a throwback to a different era?That our congressional leaders, Department of Labor (who is charged under Title 38 of the United States Code for looking out for our veterans), fraternal veteran’s organizations like the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, and DAV do not see this or yell louder is appalling to me. That the American Public silently says it is ok or does not see it is… I do not know, but admit to say the apathy is lost on me.That the businesses of this country, some of which lost millions on 9/11, and should have long memories of what these veterans are now standing for, are doing this to these veterans is more than unforgivable and dishonorable. It is an affront to all the men and women, past and present, who have worn the uniforms of this nation.

The Veterans of this nation deserve more from their “Grateful Nation.”



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