Transportation Department Pledges '5-Star' Support to Guard, Reserves
American Forces Press Service
ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 17, 2005 Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta today pledged his department's support to employees who are also members of the National Guard and Reserve.
In a Washington, D.C., ceremony, Mineta signed a "5-Star" statement of support under a program sponsored by the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
"Today, supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation's National Guard and Reserve units. I am asking all of America's employers to review and amend their current human resources policies to ensure compliance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act Law," said Thomas F. Hall, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs. "This is a significant event not only for the Department of Transportation, but for all federal civil service employees. The federal government is one of the largest employers of National Guardsmen and Reservists in the country."
The "5-Star" statement of support confirms that the Department of Transportation:
- Publicly demonstrated its support for employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve,
- As a federal employer, promises to safeguard job positions, support continuation of medical and dental benefits for family members, grant leaves of absence for military service without penalty of lost vacation time to those employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve, to the extent allowed under applicable laws,
- Ensures men and women who serve in the Guard and Reserve will not be denied employment with the Department of Transportation nor will there be limited or reduced job and career opportunities due to service in the Guard or Reserve, and
- Is an advocate for employee service in the National Guard and Reserve.
"You not only have a friend here at the Department of Transportation, you have a friend in the Oval Office," Mineta said, directing his comments at Guarsmen and Reservists. "Just as frontline troops cannot do their job without thousands of others in supporting roles, you cannot serve your country in the National Guard or Reserves without the support of your families and office mates."
"By meeting the '5-Star' ... criteria, the management of the Department of Transportation stands proudly with their Guard and Reserve employees who, like the Minutemen before them, continue to answer their nation's call to defend our way of life," Hall said. "Their personal sacrifices are essential to the strength of our nation."
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve is a Department of Defense agency established in 1972 to gain and maintain active support from all public and private employers for the men and women of the National Guard and Reserve. ESGR volunteers provide free education, consultation and, if necessary, mediation for employers of Guard and Reserve employees.
As the 1.2 million members of the National Guard and Reserve continue to perform an increasing number of unique missions that require extraordinary actions on the part of everyday citizens, ESGR will continue to be the informational agency for the employers of America's new Minutemen, agency officials said.
(From an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves news release.)