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Happy Veterans Day

I would like to take a few moments to talk about Veterans.  Let me start by saying THANK YOU to all of the Veterans who are currently serving and those how have served in the past.  You service and dedication to our country is unmatched, and in my opinion under emphasized.  Veterans put their lives on the line to protect the USA and everything we hold dear.  For that we cannot say Thank You enough.

 Just yesterday the US Senate passed the “Vow to Hire Heros Act of 2011”.  This bill would give a tax credit to businesses who hire out of work Veterans.

(Source NPR) Some 240,000 veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are out of work. The Senate bill would provide tax breaks of up to $9,600 to private employers who hire them.
The tax credits are the first sliver of President Obama’s $447 billion jobs package to actually win bipartisan approval in the Senate. Obama says service members who fought for their country shouldn’t have to fight for jobs when they come home.

Since this is a Labor Blog, lets explore the relationship between Veterans and Unions.  The Labor Unions  in this country have always been a strong supporter of Veterans and encourage the hiring of Veterans.  Veterans are well know for their dedication and work ethic.  Two things that Labor Unions are also know for.  In a statement about Labor Day the Department of Veterans Affairs released this statement:

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) workforce of more than 300,000 – including more than 90,000 who are Veterans – knows one of its objectives as it observes Labor Day is to help young Veterans find jobs.
Union members are about two-thirds of VA’s workforce and Shinseki praises five national unions and their leadership for ongoing support of Veterans and VA’s Veteran employees. VA is one of very few federal agencies to have maintained a National Partnership Council (NPC) with its unions since 1994.

As you can see the VA knows how important the relationship between Unions and Veterans is.  There are many other programs that Labor Unions help create to help young Veterans returning from service get jobs.  One of these programs is the Trade Unions “Helmets to Hardhats” program.

(The Helmets to Hardhats program is)a partnership between the Building Trades, the signatory Construction Industry Employer Associations and the U.S. Military — military veterans are transitioning back to civilian life with quality career training and employment opportunities within the building and construction industry. Helmets to Hardhats is designed to ease the difficult passage into civilian life for military families, providing the best career opportunities, pay, and benefits to those who have earned the nation’s support through their years of service.
The program is proving to be a great fit, for both returning servicemen and women and the unionized construction trades. Veterans receive the best training in the trade of their choice and an opportunity for a well-paying union career while the construction industry receives quality, hard-working apprentices, ready for the challenges of the building trades. 

The building trades are not the only Labor Union who has been there to help our Veterans.  The United States Postal Service at one time was the largest employer in the U.S.  In 2007 the USPS employed over 680,000 people and of that 25% were Veterans. (Note 8% of total workforce were disabled Veterans).  While I applaud the Senate for passing the “Hire Hero’s Act”, what about the Veterans who currently work for the Postal Service? They are in jeopardy of loosing their jobs unless Congress takes action.

The Postal Service announced in August that it wants to reduce the workforce by 220,000, and is seeking authority to lay off as many as 120,000 workers.
If 120,000 postal workers were laid off, approximately 26,000 veterans would be affected. (source)

We need out members of Congress to take action to save the jobs of these hard working Veterans in the Postal Service.  Below is an ad from the American Postal Workers Union and National Postal Mailhandlers Union asking for your help to stop these drastic cuts to the Postal Service.  You can also find out more at Save Americas Postal Service ( http://saveamericaspostalservice.org/index.html).

Once again Thank You to all Veterans on this Veterans Day (and every day)!

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About Matt Murray

Matt Murray is the creator and an author on the NH Labor News. He is a union member and advocate for labor and progressive politics. He also works with other unions and members to help spread our message. Follow him on Twitter @NHLabor_News
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