Cutting back on vets
Veterans Day might be a good time for budget-cutting lawmakers to note the significant presence of vets in the federal workforce.
A number of postal unions are running TV ads to tie in with Veterans Day.
The idea is to remind the public that cutting the postal workforce will affect a large number of veterans. Vets make up a high percentage of postal employees, they say—in many job categories, one in four employees is a vet.
When I saw the ad, I immediately recalled a guy in high school who had joined the Air Force with the express intent of becoming a letter carrier after he got out.
While there was certainly no guarantee that he would get that postal job, he did have the edge of being a vet, he did get the job, and everything played out exactly as he had anticipated. Life was good.
That plan—to serve a hitch in the enlisted ranks, and then get a government job—was not an uncommon strategy in that town among our peers. Many kids there had parents who had followed the same course, leveraging their status as vets to land civil service jobs at the local military base—although probably more out of convenience and accident than as part of any premeditated plan.
Even if one does not plan to become a career fed when entering military service, it’s likely that the possibility of federal employment is at least somewhat in the backs of the minds of many service members when they approach separation from the military.
And, of course, the Postal Service is not unique. A quick Internet search turns up an Office of Personnel Management report from a couple years back (2006) showing that 25.4 percent of executive branch employees that year were veterans.
The upshot is that any cuts to the federal workforce—whether at the Postal Service or elsewhere; whether through attrition or other means—will affect a large number of veterans.
The cuts will affect both those vets who are in the workforce now, and those new vets who are leaving military service and looking for work in the government—at jobs that will no longer be there.
It might be something for lawmakers to keep in mind.
Even if only on Veterans Day.
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