December 27, 2003

Pink slips greet returning soldiers
When U.S. Army Maj. Joe Cherry left his federal job at the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago because he was called up to fight the war in Iraq he received an unexpected going-away present. The major wouldn't have to worry whether his government job would be there when he returned - the federal government made that decision for him, firing him on the spot.

Cherry is not alone. In the last five years 5,690 veterans have lost their jobs in both the private and public sectors while activated to serve a tour of duty, according to a U.S. Department of Labor report presented to Congress this year. Those numbers are expected to increase because, of the 300,000 deployed reservists, as many as 25,000 veterans are expected to return home in 2005 to reintegrate themselves back into civilian life after a tour of duty in the global war against terrorism. Of those 300,000, about 20,000 work for the federal government.

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