Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

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Cutting back on vets

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.

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Nov 10, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Reader comments

Fri, Feb 3, 2012

Not all vets are "double dipping". I joined up (not drafted)during 'Nam to make a career of the military, realized it wasn't for me and got out after my tour was up. I served a total of four years, hence no retirement, no "double dipping". I worked many jobs after returning to the world and didn't start working for the gov't till '81. By the way, I did get the 10 points because of service connected wounds received from my tour, But I sure didn't get wounded so that I could receive those 10 pts. MT has it right "it depends on the person and the situation".

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 Ascadeliah

The idea of veterans working for the government after their military tour was called "double dipping." Get your retirement or pension and benefits and go to work full time for the government. This "double dipping" is now disallowed due to monetary budget constraints. Your federal employment, if you are employed by the feds, is an offset of your military retirement/pension benefits. Now, let's look at a situation where you have a federal employee who is NOT a veteran and has been working for the federal government say 24 years. This non-vet has worked for DOD, SSA and the Department of Veterans Affairs. This person has always been in a permanent status and then takes a position with the government which helps the veteran in many ways. This position is not a permanent position but is listed as a TERM. This position ends before the non-vet can secure another permanent position or even another TERM position, whichever they can find first in order to still be gainfully employed and receive their benefits and retirement also. Now, this TERM position is ended and this person has to go home and has no other job lined up whatever that may be or wherever it may be. This person applies for hundreds of jobs with the government nationwide, spends time updating their resume, has all the necessary documents, paperwork needed to apply, etc. and is told by federal HR offices and OPM nationwide that veterans must by law be selected before they are because the veteran has either a 5 point or a 10 point veterans preference - even though that non-vet has worked 24 years for the federal government in support of the military and the government agencies - and - the government is willing and ready to hire any veteran with absolutely no experience to do the job that this non-veteran did for 24 years. Do you know what that does to the non-veteran who has worked and earned their grade level, etc. and put monies into their retirement? It puts them on the street and kicks them out of the federal workforce so HR and OPM offices don't have to pay their retirement annunities and pension - so that the veteran wanting a job can now get the monies and benefits this non-vet should be getting so they can have a full retirement. How do I know this? It has happened to me as of 9/30/10 - a GS-9 employee - now gets nothing; can't secure a federal job anywhere due to non-veteran status - so there's no insurance, no employment. Kind of discriminatory don't you think?

Mon, Nov 14, 2011 MT

Hmm. I'm a US Army veteran and the thought of enlisting in the hopes of securing a Federal gig never crossed my mind. It was a surprising perk. I guess it depends on the person and the situation.

Sat, Nov 12, 2011 Steve Wallgren Grand Rapids, MI

My plan when I enlisted back in 78 was not to gain a Postal job, it was to use what little remained of Federal Veteran's Benefits along with the Illinois Veteran's Scholarship program to fund my pursuit of a degree in Electrical Engineering. Unfortunately for me the Government of Illinois decided to kill the scholarship program in 1981, just 3 days before I got out of the service. Because my dreams of a collage degree had now been destroyed, I began to search for permanent employment. I ended up as a letter carrier for the Postal Service. I no longer work for the Postal Service, but I am still a Federal Employee. And just like the State of Illinois reneging on its commitment to its Veterans back in 81, the Federal Government is now trying to figure out how it can renege on as much of my pension as possible now that I'm getting close to collecting.

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