Job Problems for Reservists?

At a hearing Thursday, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) released data from a year-old Pentagon survey in which some 11,000 reservists returning from the war on terror reported problems in getting their jobs back; 22,000 said they had lost seniority; and 20,000 cited pension cuts. Kennedy, who chairs the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee, said the data he pressed the Pentagon to release shows an “even more disturbing” reality: “Veterans who seek help face a Walter Reed-like nightmare … [in which] they have to negotiate a maze of bureaucracy.” Kennedy declared that “it’s no wonder that 77 percent of all veterans say they don’t even bother to seek help when they face reemployment problems.” Brenda Farrell of the Government Accountability Office, testified that the four agencies—Defense, Labor, Justice, and Office of Special Counsel—involved in working reserve reemployment issues “have generally been responsive to GAO’s recommendations.” However, she faulted the lack of single-agency accountability. GAO recommends designating one single agency to maintain “visibility over the entire complaint resolution process.”