Owens, Bill

Contact: Sean Magers 202-225-4611

Owens’ bill aims to protect jobs for service members
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Washington, Dec 29 -

Legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last week would expand job protection for Armed Forces members.

The bill, introduced by North Country Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, and two of his colleagues would make the Transportation Security Administration comply with the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act. According to Owens, the Re-employment Rights Act guarantees that public- and private-sector employees called to active duty retain their jobs when they come home.

"A critical part of the obligation we have to support the troops includes ensuring a stable economic condition when they return from military service," Owens said in an emailed statement. "When Americans are deployed with the Armed Forces, they should not have to worry that they might be fired simply for being away on duty. This bipartisan legislation protects the jobs of American service members by ensuring that a call to serve doesn't amount to a pink slip for officers of the Transportation Security Administration."

The Veterans of Foreign Wars and Military Officers Association of America both support the legislation. MOAA President Norb Ryan said in a press release that the federal government must act as a "role model" when it comes to protecting employment for service members. Raymond Kelley, the VFW's legislative director, said changing the TSA policy will set a "new standard in the federal government's full support" of veterans.

Owens said the TSA has claimed that it complies with the Re-employment Rights Act, despite two instances in which TSA officers were unable to return to their former jobs.